On Sunday, November 13, 2022, after meditation, we listened to the talk “Gratitude as a Dharma Gate“ by Dharma teacher Domyo Burk.
In her talk, Domyo explained how gratitude could be used as a practice to shift our attention from self-centered problems to an awareness of the miracle of simply being alive. She walked us through her exploration of the subject in traditional Buddhist text before offering us different ways to practice gratitude.
For a deliberate and formal practice, she suggested that we call to mind what we have to be grateful for once a day — write them down or say them out loud. Another way to incorporate the practice into our daily life is to change our language. Instead of “I have to go grocery shopping,” change it to “I get to go grocery shopping.” Doing this would help direct our minds toward the favorable conditions that make grocery shopping possible.
Domyo encouraged us to practice in a less dualistic manner. Try to access gratitude by becoming more present in the body in the here and now — “we’re breathing, we’re alive” — to allow the practice to become a wordless connection with aliveness itself. In that sense, everything is something to be grateful for, and there is no need to categorize or to judge our experiences.
The teacher also shared how the practice had helped her even while she felt “blocked” from feeling grateful. And at the end of the talk, she reminded us that practicing gratitude should help us lessen our attachments to transience phenomena, not encourage them.
The recordings we shared during our session is posted below. A full transcript of this talk with sources of citations can be found on Domyo Burk’s podcast website at https://zenstudiespodcast.com/gratitude-dharma-gate/.
From the Teachers: Gratitude as a Dharma Gate
SOURCE & TRANSCRIPT: https://zenstudiespodcast.com/gratitude-dharma-gate/
* Rev. Domyo Burk is founder and guiding teacher at Bright Way Zen in Portland, OR. She was ordained as a novice Zen monk in 2001, and spent five years (2001-2006) living in a residential Zen community (Dharma Rain Zen Center) doing full-time formal Zen practice. She received Dharma Transmission from Rev. Gyokuko Carlson in 2010, and currently devotes full time to Bright Way Zen, which she founded in 2011, as well as sharing the Dharma in other formats, such as through the Zen Studies Podcast that she launched in 2017.