Gratitude is the starting point for happiness and allows you to face your afflictions with confidence. How do you cultivate a sense of gratitude? Who should you be grateful to? What good does being grateful to others bring? Grandmaster JinBodhi answers these questions in this video. Open your heart of gratitude by listening his explanation.

【You will learn】

  • How to deal with afflictions by being grateful
  • The benefits of being grateful
  • Chanting with Grandmaster JinBodhi

【Featured aphorisms】

  • The more grateful you are, the happier you become. When you are happy, you can deal with all afflictions..
  • Those who have gratitude are happy and find ways to make others happy.


Many of you, especially newcomers, want to know: What are the benefits of meditation and Buddhadharma? The ultimate goal of Buddhism is leaving all sufferings and attaining bliss. Being happy is not easy. Being free of suffering is hard too, but achievable.

I try to observe my feelings. After meditating for a whole day, I feel so wonderful and peaceful; my body feels flexible, my skin feels smoother, and my appetite improves. Next morning, I receive a message, “Master, I just had a car accident. Why didn’t Master protect me?” Then I got upset again. I feel liberated for one day, then return to suffering. Have you ever felt that way? There are various reasons for this, and there’s only one solution: Be positive and kind during all good and bad times.

To do that, we must learn to be grateful first. You may ask, “If I hate the people around me, how can I be grateful?” Love or hate is purely personal. Being grateful is easy. Your parents never demand something in return after having sacrificed so much for you. You will realize how much they love you. Some parents sell blood to send their children to college. Or, they do the humblest jobs to send their children to school. They have never attended parent-teacher meetings. Why? Because they don’t want to embarrass their children. That is why they would rather not attend. What if they got dirty at work and needed to pick their kids up at school? They’d take a shower and change into new clothes. Parents would go that far to avoid embarrassing you. Words can’t describe how much your parents have sacrificed for you. Therefore, you have every reason to be grateful to them.

What happens at dinnertime in a poor family? “Eat more, son. Mommy’s not hungry. I don’t like to eat this.” I am sure a lot of mothers have said this. That is parental love. No one can love you like your parents do. Think about all they have done. Surely your eyes will tear up a little. That is how your parents love you. I was so moved by a father’s speech at his daughter’s wedding. From the day his daughter was born, this father has never stopped caring for her. He provides everything for his daughter without complaining. He gives whatever his girl wants, from clothes to jewelry. What have you given in return? As children, you’ve never thought of this. When you think about it, you’ll realize you can never repay them.

If you lack wisdom, you will find this hard to understand. It is OK. You will understand once you become parents. How you love children is exactly how your parents love you. What about your siblings? Are you aware of their love for you? I bet all of you know how much your siblings love you. What about your teachers, the people who have taught you? Can you think about how you’re indebted to them? Most take teachers for granted. They think teachers are paid so there’s no need to be grateful.

Raise your hand if you think you owe your teachers a lot. You don’t look sincere to me. That is because you take your teachers for granted. To those who raised your hand slowly, you didn’t learn much from your teachers. Why? Because you lack respect for your teachers. It’s hard to achieve full understanding when you learn without respect. When you really respect your teacher, you remember every word they utter. That is what people lack these days. At least half of your knowledge comes from your teachers. Still, some aren’t grateful because they take teachers for granted. All right, that’s about teachers. How about your schoolmates?

Are you all still friends? Did they ever treat you well? If your answer is “yes,” raise your hand. Now you’re raising your hand so quickly.

How to weigh gratitude depends on one’s level of wisdom. I call that ignorance. It is your ignorance that causes such misunderstanding. You owe way more to your teachers than what you owe to your friends. Those you should respect the most are your parents, not your friends. If you don’t get the order right, expect obstacles in your life. You’ll have lots of afflictions to deal with.

What about your ex-partners? Raise your hand if you think you are indebted to them, regardless of how your relationship ended. Who feels one should be thankful to their ex-partners? All right, hands down. Most of you have only bad memories of your exes. You are not human if you can only remember the bad things about your exes. You fail to appreciate their positive qualities.

I know a couple who broke up. Both of them spoke of how much they hated each other. The guy said he spent every penny he earned on the girl, the girl’s clothes, beauty products, even lingerie. Almost everything the girl owned was bought with the guy’s money. “So what! Anyone I date will buy these for me!”

I asked her to think of their shared bond and the things he had bought. She said, “It is a boyfriend’s job to please his girlfriend.” I asked, “Did your parents buy these things for you before you met your boyfriend?” “Yes, I am their daughter.” “So you think your boyfriend should buy all these things for you, right?” “I didn’t force him. He just bought them for me. Grateful? Please!” I said, “You are a heartless girl. You will have a hard time finding true love.”

I told the guy he deserved better. “What about the money I spent?” Well, think of it as an expensive lesson. What should the guy do in the future? Well, he will do what he is supposed to do. You can’t teach everything. When he later meets a woman he loves, he will decide whether he should spend money. I can only say: When you love, you sacrifice. I admire this guy.

Why was the girl lacking in gratitude? She was so pretty that many guys were chasing after her. It made her believe that she deserved all that adoration. This occurred more than 10 years ago. She is still single now. She can’t feel true love from others. She thinks she deserves to be loved. I call that ignorance. Ignorance makes her blind to love.

According to my study, when you are grateful, you will live happily. Besides, you will also make others happy. People around you just feel nice. Material conditions are important in the human world, but being loved is the most beautiful thing in the world; you feel others’ kindness, so you feel happiness. It takes gratitude to know you’re loved. Knowing you’re loved is happiness. Our afflictions come from ourselves. Some call it “heart.”

The broader your heart is, the happier you are. More happiness means fewer afflictions. With gratitude, you become broadminded. When you lack gratitude, the tiniest matter gets on your nerves. Think about the nagging from our elders. When the younger generation can’t stand it anymore, they just explode and retaliate.

With gratitude, you woul think twice before hurting your elders’ feelings and you’d listen to their nagging happily. It’s a win-win situation; The elder thinks you’re a good kid, and you can feel how much the elder loves you by their nagging. One day, when no one talks to you and loneliness kicks in, you’re going to miss that nagging. Instead of feeling liberated, you feel something’s missing. People always realize after they lose something.

Gratitude is like a cure-all. It even fixes a collapsing marriage. How many love-at-first-sights turn sour due to lack of gratitude? People can get married when they are so in love. Because they’re not grateful to each other, gradually they start hurting each other instead of caring about each other. They were selfless at first, but they are selfish now. You like to eat noodles, but I cook rice because I like it. Couples start calculating who spends more money. They look for reasons to get divorced. All of these are selfish acts. People become petty out of selfishness, not love. Some choose to stay because the cost of a divorce is too high. Remember, love is selflessness; it asks nothing in return. You provide for your loved ones willingly. Their happiness is your happiness. This is love. I hope you practice compassion and listen to the people around you.

I wrote something when I was young based on my observations. “Be afraid that the grass will feel pain before you step on it.” With a soft and compassionate heart, you’re able to hear Nature, and interact with Nature. You’ll realize all living things have feelings. To communicate with the world, you have to understand what it says. Is it possible to summon the rain or wind? It’s possible. Have you ever spent time listening to a rock? The more you scold your table for tripping you, the more you’ll crash into it. You’re going to hurt yourself more. Next time, after crashing into your table, thank the table for its service. Then you’ll refrain from crashing into it for at least 3 months. Treat everything and everyone with kindness and gratitude. Even nonliving things should be treated nicely. Your phone will last longer if you treat it well.

Remember, all things have feelings. With a broad mind, you will have fewer afflictions. Greed is the cause of your afflictions. You’re afflicted because of your desires and attachments. Greedy people lack gratitude and compassion. More gratitude and compassion will make us less greedy. That’s how one obtains happiness and wisdom. If you want to be happy, start being more grateful. Understand the importance of gratitude and compassion.

Right now, let’s chant with gratitude. When chanting, think about the people who have treated you well. Show your gratitude by chanting for them. Chanting like this will awaken your compassion. World peace can only be achieved if people become compassionate. You’ll be blessed with peace, longevity, health and auspiciousness too. Whatever you do, you can never repay your parents. Now chant to buddhas and bodhisattvas for your parents, so that they’re blessed with health, longevity and auspiciousness. If your parents have passed away, chant for them to liberate them from sufferings and hell. Wish them a good place in Paradise. If your sincerity touches the Divine beings, your parents will be in Paradise. The golden key is to have utmost sincerity. You may seek help from practitioners with great merits; your chanting will be more effective because of your deep bond with them.

Be sincere, not loud. Chant using your favorite posture. Don’t stand or you’ll fall down, because your eyes are closed. You may sit or kneel as long as you chant sincerely. After chanting for a while, you’ll feel at ease. You’ll notice that some ailments just heal on their own. We chant not only for ourselves but also for the people we love. Now we will start chanting. Thank you.