Monday, June 20, 2011

Fathers Day, A Day of Reflection and the Celebration of Children

Fathers Day for me has always been a day of reflection. Am I doing all I can for my children? Do they have all they need? Are they learning well? Are they happy? Then I hear the laughter echoing throughout the house, what a beautiful sound. The years are passing by and soon they will be on their own. Will they be ok? Is there something that I'm not doing? Then I hear a little arguement break out and in a couple minutes they are all playing again like nothing ever happened. We could all learn something from them.

Being a dad has always been difficult, I can only imagine what my dad went through raising me, but in today's world it is even more so. How do I protect them from this world and still allow them to a part of it? What will their world be like? Will they be ok after I am gone? The questions never seem to end. If only there where a book that would give us all the answers. Well there are many teaching that has helped me to understand my roll as a dad.

In the Bible in Luke 18: 16-17 "But Jesus called them unto him, saying, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for to such belongeth the kingdom of God. 17. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not reveive the kingdom of God as a litttle child, he shall in no wise enter therein.

To me this is saying,don't forbid them to go but also don't force anything on your children whether it be Jesus, Buddha or anything. The kingdom already belongs to them. If they are allowed they will find what is theirs, when they do, forbid them not to go and if we pay attention we ourselves will find the Heaven we lost so long ago. We raise our children, in return they teach us.

Many people, when they think of the Buddha they think of a man who abandoned his family on the day of his only child's birth—what kind of father would do such a thing? How can so many people follow the teaching of such a man? The Buddha renounced fatherhood but this represented his profound conviction that a lasting, unconditioned happiness could be found—and in leaving behind his family, the fetters on his emotional and spiritual life, he could ultimately give back to them the possibility of the same deathless happiness he would find for himself.

"When Rahula (his son) was seven years old, he became his father's disciple and began his training as a monk. In a discourse that has come to be known as the "Rahula Sutta" (Majjhima Nikaya 61), the Buddha instructed his young son with the seeds of some of his most important teachings. He started out by stressing the magnitude of being truthful—implying that if Rahula wanted to find the truth, he would first have to be truthful to himself. He then talked about using one's actions as a mirror. Before you do anything, he told Rahula, ask yourself: Is what I intend to do here skillful or unskillful? Will it lead to well-being or harm?If it looks harmful, don't do it. If it looks okay, go ahead and give it a try. While doing it, though, ask the same questions. If it turns out that it's causing harm, stop. If not, continue with it. Then after you've done it, ask the same questions—Did it bring about well-being or harm? If you see that what originally looked okay actually ended up being harmful, talk it over with someone else on the path and resolve never to make that mistake again. But if, as the Buddha put it, "on reflection [of a bodily, verbal, or mental action], you know that it did not lead to was a skillful action with pleasant consequences, pleasant results, then you should stay mentally refreshed and joyful, training day and night in skillful mental qualities." (form an article by: Mary Talbot)

What I have learned from Buddhism and the teachings of Jesus is not to look at these children as mine, they are not my possessions but rather they are the children that live in the same house as I. They have been put in my care for a very short time. In that time it is my responsibility to give them what they need to go into the world, find happiness and peace. I can only give them the tools I can't force it upon them, I can only help them along their "own path" and their path will not be exactly the same as my path because I'm teaching them to think for themselves. My daughter studies the teaching of Buddha and meditates with me, she also loves going to Church and the teachings of Jesus. My oldest son studies only Buddhism but is also coming to a deeper understanding of the true teachings of Jesus as he hears me talking with my daughter. My youngest son has found a profound truth in catching bugs, watching them and turning them lose. And I forbid them not to go.

Trying to prepare our children for a world that we know nothing about is an impossible task. I often think of this quote by Osho."You have to be grateful to existence that it has chosen you to be a passage for a few beautiful children. But you are not to interfere in their growth, in their potential. You are not to impose yourself upon them. They are not going to live in the same times, they are not going to face the same problems. They will be part of another world. Don´t prepare them for this world, this society, this time, because then you will be creating troubles for them. They will find themselves unfit, unqualified."

I am grateful to existence for the opportunity to share my life with these three beautiful children and I am grateful to be a part of so many other children's lives because of my work. To me the celebration of Fathers Day is a celebration of children. Its easy to cling to our children. It's hard to let go. For them to find their own path we must let go, as with everything we must let go. For their peac and for our own.

May all children find true happiness and peace in this life time. May they become teachers of unity and unconditional love to a world torn apart by the delusions of division. May they be the candles that light the way for many. May we each find the courage to let them go and the strength to always be here when they need us.

Happy Fathers Day

Jizo Hodo

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