Heart of Appreciation

I am a Buddhist minister who conducts Buddhist services.

I think some people feel suspicious when they hear the word “faith.” However, faith is not something that is negative. In fact, faith is important to live a happy life. Faith is a heart of appreciation. Faith is a feeling of respect. This is faith. Faith is not difficult.

Let me give you an example. Everyone’s heart is beating right now. If I were to say, “Please stop your heart from beating.” You cannot do it, because the heart is controlled by an involuntary muscle and a set of independent nerves. We cannot control the beating of our hearts by our own will. Of course a medical doctor can give us medication to temporarily stop the heart and then to get it beating again. But we cannot control our heart by our own will. Why do you think human beings are made like this? Who would think to create a beating heart that is controlled by an involuntary muscle and not by a person’s free will?

Although modern people may think that we are alive because of our own power and intelligence. In truth, human intelligence or human knowledge cannot make even one leaf of a dandelion.

We are not alive because of our own human intelligence. We cannot even control the beating of our hearts. I believe we are alive by some other power.

Some people call this other power of God, or some people may use the term universe or higher self. We Nichiren Buddhists call this higher power the Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni. This is the entity that we worship, the entity that gives us life.

I want to recommend to you that we should pray with heart of appreciation and acknowledge the Buddha’s power for keeping us alive. Every morning we should begin our day with a thankful heart, and say, “Today, I can breathe. Thank you.” This is the kind of prayer we should have. Anyone can do it. This kind of prayer where we express our appreciation to the Buddha will allow us to live happily.