31st December – Thanksgiving Day
Jen Chen Buddhism advocates all Buddhists to develop a grateful mindset and repay the benevolence bestowed upon us by the Four Graces. For this reason, the last day of the year, 31st December, is designated as Thanksgiving Day.
In the course of the year, we have experienced the Four Graces – the Grace of our parents, the Grace of the society and sentient beings, the Grace of the teachings of the Buddha, Bodhisattvas, Sangha and other teachers, and the Grace of the country and its protection. This is why we reflect and express our gratitude to those who have positively impacted us on Thanksgiving Day.
（1）The Grace of our parents
Our parents gave us life, educated us and worked tirelessly to care and provide for us. They sheltered us from harm and showered us with love and tender care. The Grace of our parents is hard to repay for it is as deep as the ocean and as high as the mountains.
（2）The Grace of the society and sentient beings
The society we live in is an aggregation of various conditions. It would be extremely difficult for an individual to survive on his or her own. The Grace of the society and sentient beings enables our survival. Consider in detail everything we have in our lives. How many of these are not the result of the hard work of our fellow sentient beings? Thus, in this highly inter-dependent society that we live in, the Grace bestowed upon us by other sentient beings is immeasurable.
（3）The Grace of the teachings of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and other teachers
We have had various teachers who educated and imparted their knowledge to us, providing us with the necessary skills to make a living. Without their contributions, how could we have gained a foothold in society?
Besides them, there is also another group of teachers who inspire our wisdom and brightness. They are the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Sangha who spread and promote the Dharma. The truth in their teachings nourishes our impoverished hearts and minds, liberating us from suffering and leading us to bliss. As human beings, we should not only work hard to ensure our survival. More importantly, we should sustain and cultivate greater wisdom. For this, we need the guidance and teachings of cultivated mentors – ‘Sakyamuni Buddha’ and all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
（4）The Grace of the country and its protection
The Grace of the country and its protection safeguard our livelihood and wealth.
The government maintains law and order, sustains the economy, provides education, recreation, and infrastructures so as to serve its citizens. As citizens, we should be grateful towards the Grace of our country.
Jen Chen Buddhism advocates the importance of showing gratitude to the Graces bestowed upon us. Thus, 31st December is designated Thanksgiving Day. On this day, we will take part in thanksgiving activities and pray for world peace and the well-being of all sentient beings.
Be with Buddha.
（Extracted from Publications by Venerable Master Shen-Kai）