Immanuel and Gratitude 2.0

One of the great good fortunes of this life has been my friendship with Immanuel.

How many people do I know who can talk about Arthur Schopenhauer and Shinran Shonen with equal  clarity and enthusiasm ? Immanuel was born to teach, taught high school , and will teach again. He also has the heart of an elephant.

A few days ago, Immanuel and I were discussing gratitude. I had just shared that while practicing in former times, I had difficulty with gratitude.

I saw the web of interdependence easily enough, and marveled at its beauty, its surprises, its pervasiveness.

But I didn’t feel gratitude.

Gratitude just didn’t seem to arise.

Things were matter of fact.

Immanuel opened this up, pointing out that when he wrote of gratitude, he didn’t mean  the personal gratitude of the little “me”  regarding  it’s likes and wants.

He envisioned a more impersonal gratitude: gratitude for being able to cognize. Gratitude arises for cognition itself as the continuing miracle of consciousness.

Gratitude neither refers to the “me” nor is based in any relative aspect of experience.

Is-ness is the elicitor of the gratitude; the object is all that appears.

Immanuel always impressed me as one of the most alive people I had ever met.

At times, it sounded like he had hit on just the right blend of herbs and spices – some secret herbal concoction – to live more joyfully than almost anyone I knew.

Immanuel sees cognition itself a cause for gratitude to all that is.

The Buddha once told Ananda that the whole of the spiritual life was in the friends one chose.

Immanuel’s observations  have brought the Buddha’s advice to mind many times through the years; and at those times, the feelings of gratitude did not elude, after all.


Thanks to this site for the photo :

About dominic724

A former seeker starts blogging.
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