Thursday, April 25, 2013

A special birthday

Recently my beloved Grandmother celebrated her 100th birthday. My husband and I planned a visit to join in the festivities, and were very happy we were there to witness such an occasion. Although it takes a lot of effort for her to speak, we could tell how happy and excited she was by the sparkle in her eyes and the smile on her face. Amazingly, my Grandmother now joins rank with several of her ancestors, who also lived to be centenarians.  

This special milestone got me thinking. Although knowing someone over 100 might temporarily trick us out of the reality that we live finite human lives, there is a real and greater lesson to be learned. With all the disease and dangers there still are in the world, we know that statistically, relatively few of us reach that grand old age. But we also know that it is possible to live to 100 and beyond, though we are never certain if we will until we have achieved it.  

That is why it is important to live a life that is governed by virtue, wisdom, and compassion. The longer we live, the more life experiences we have to look back on. And regardless of the inevitable challenges along the way, when we look back, we all want to have a sense of peace and contentment. Ever kind and helpful to others, my Grandmother lived that type of life, and despite the many hardships and sorrows of old age, this is its gift to her.

In turn, the stellar example she and people like her have set is a priceless lesson for the rest of us.

*****
Do you have someone close to you who lived a long life, a virtuous life, or both? What lessons have they taught you?        

"Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time." Life's Little Instruction Book, by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. (not His Holiness the Dalai Lama :)

*****
May all beings be happy! 

6 comments:

  1. First of all, I must say I like your blog.Thank you for sharing your Buddhist practices with your readership.

    My grandmother celebrated her 90th birthday last year. I view such birthdays as extremely special. These are no ordinary happenings.

    In accordance with the Theravada Buddhist traditions, one fifth of phenomenon(niyama) is a result of past action(karma). There is a sutta in the Theravada tradition, in which the Buddha explains:

    "...The way that leads to long life...to have abandoned the killing of living beings, to abstain from killing living beings, to lay aside the rod and lay aside the knife, to be considerate and merciful, and to dwell compassionate for the welfare of all living beings..." - MN 135 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.135.nymo.html

    It seems that apart from genetic/ancestry tendencies(Biija Niyama- the laws of heredity, and other niyamas/laws) compassion towards all living things increases life expectancy.

    Once again, thank you for sharing with your experiences and wisdom.

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    1. Thanks Animadversor, for your wisdom, and for sharing this great sutta and the Laws of Heredity with me. How true they seem!

      Thanks also for your kind words about my blog here at BCB- I am glad that you enjoy it.

      Many blessings to your Grandmother as well!

      With Metta,

      Renata

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  2. Living a long, contented and peaceful life is a great way of living.
    It is as you say.

    However, the longer we live, it is not the more life experiences we have to look back on but more experience we can contemplate on. :)

    Every experience in life that we have gone through is a blessing. It is even better that we are being mindful or aware of it when we are going through it. Being mindful when we are going through a certain situation or event will probably yield or have a better and more peaceful result.

    Nevertheless, congratulation on your grandmother's 100th anniversary.

    Peace be with you and your grandmother.

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    1. Sorry, not anniversary but birthday. :)

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    2. Thank you so much for your wisdom and blessings. I also think that you are very right in your idea that when any situation is handled with mindfulness, the outcome is usually better (at least the results of what we can control!).

      What a great reminder!

      With Metta,

      Renata

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