Friday, January 1, 2016
A Japanese Zen Buddhist New Year's Prayer and a Drink of Sake
In Japan, it is customary for family and friends to get-together on New Year's morning and have sake and a toast along with some words - a sort of prayer - for the New Year.
This year, I sat and had a cup of sake and the words of the speaker - a priest who survived World War II - really shook me in their solemnness, stark realism and simplicity. He said,
"This next year may see the world full of war and no one knows what is going to happen to the economy. We may be seeing the start of the next great war and the next great depression.
No one knows if they will even be alive tomorrow."
He took a breath of exasperation - as if to suggest, "I've seen this all before" - and then he added,
The best one can do is to always try their best and to protect their health and survive it."
We all held our glasses high in the air and said, "Kanpai!" (cheers) and drank our sake.
I knew I was hearing the words of a very wise and experienced man.
Do your best and also protect your health in 2016. Happy New Year! Be well.