しあわせになる英語 English for Happiness


「グローバル時代の幸福と社会的責任: その1 ”感謝”」 “Happiness and Virtue : No.1_ Gratitude”


This book is originally written in English, beyond West and East, in order to search for the way to allow happiness to be realized in a globally and socially responsible manner. At first, about “Gratitude”――more to come both in English and in Japanese.



This feeling of gratitude is captured in the Japanese word on, which strictly speaking, should be translated as “that for which we should feel indebted to somebody” or “that which we owe to others.” On and giri (the responsibility we are required by society to bear) are very important concepts for those trying to understand the Japanese mind, since they underpin much social behavior. For instance, Japanese people often call their teacher on-shi, meaning “the teacher to whom we feel indebted,” and graduating students hold a “Gratitude Party” to express their thanks to their teachers. Even the “thank-you bargain sales” during which department stores sell goods at special prices as New Year approaches are not entirely commercial in spirit



The Hokkukyo, or Words of Truth Sutra, is a Buddhist scripture whose 182nd lesson teaches, “It is difficult to be born a human being. And if you are born a human being, you have to die soon. It is by a fluke that you are in this world at present.” It may be significant here that one derivation of the Japanese word arigato, meaning thank you, is from arigatashi or fluke. In the thinking of Japanese people long ago, saying thank you may have been closely connected with the belief that the miracle of life was a blessing from Buddha or the gods for which we must always be grateful. Certainly, Buddha taught that it is only by a miracle that we are here, and it is on this fundamental conviction that gratitude is based.



It is perhaps easiest to appreciate the small acts of kindness done by individuals around us and to thank them. But we find it harder to remember how much we owe to larger entities like the community or the state. Yet we should also thank the social systems that are indispensable to human life. What they provide us are mid-sized kindnesses. And there are few people who appreciate the really larger kindnesses we all experience.



The larger kindnesses are those which make human life possible, like the gifts we receive from the earth, from various other forms of life, and from the laws of nature. If it were not for the people ordering of the universe and the solar system, we could not survive. Being thankful for kindnesses on this scale enables us to live truly worthwhile lives.



Feeling gratitude towards others also encourages a spirit of modesty. The truth that we do not live on our own is a simple one, but grasping it will inspire a feeling of humility in us, Then we will find it easier to refrain from activities solely for our own advantage and pleasure to the neglect of everything else. We will be better able to control ourselves and share what we have with others. Gratitude, linked so closely with kindness, respect, modesty, and self-control as it is, can thus enrich our human relationships and promote the welfare of individuals and society.



When learning a foreign language, the first expressions we memorize are usually “How do you do?” and “Thank you.” Greeting and thanksgiving are universal customs, and expressions of gratitude have traditionally been imbued with deep meaning, as we have seen. However, in today’s world, dominated by materialism as it is, such expressions have become superficial, their meaning reduced to a shell, especially in countries with advanced economies.



As a result, people tend to lack sincerity and are unable to depend on one another. True friendship becomes much harder to find, and people are less able to work well together, for they are always pursuing their own happiness to the exclusion of all else. A sense of gratitude can help cure these social diseases. Making greater efforts to thank others will render our society more livable and help to solve our environmental problems.



Why is it that we cannot also express appreciation for the fact that we are alive in this world right now and mean it? Can we imagine sacrificing ourselves out of a feeling of gratitude amounting love? Looking back over our past, what kindnesses have we received from others that we have already forgotten?




My THIRD anthology has been published.

Please  order it from Amazon if you are interested in.















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