The theme for 2014 is Gratitude. Reflecting on sutta and using other materials were several of the ways we explored this.
A small group of parents met a few times over the winter and there were dhamma contemplation or group discussions at Rainbows and the Family Camp, as well as many spontaneous conversations on the topics!
Starting with a standard definition of gratitude, we reflected on the following questions:
What is your personal sense of what gratitude is?
Is it different to what is talked about here?
Is being grateful the same as being thankful, giving thanks for what one gets or has
How do you understand gratitude as it is presented in these texts?
Gratitude in the Oxford English Dictionary
the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness: she expressed her gratitude to the committee for their support
Origin: late Middle English: from Old French, or from medieval Latin gratitudo, from Latin gratus 'pleasing, thankful'
The Pāli for grateful is Kataññutā (From the Pāli-English Dictionnary)
Kataññu (adj.) [cp. Sk. kṛtajña] lit. knowing, i. e. acknowledging what has been done (to one), i. e. grateful often in combn with katavedin grateful and mindful of benefits
Katavedin [kata + vedin, see kataññu] mindful, grateful
“The word kataññuta consists of two parts: kata, which means that which has been done, especially done to oneself and kataññuta, which means knowing, recognizing or acknowledging it, namely, knowing what has been done by others for one's benefit, prosperity, success and happiness.Hence, the connotation of the Pali word is rather different from its English equivalent. The connotation of the English gratitude is more emotional but the connotation of kataññuta is more intellectual. This suggests that gratitude involves an element of knowledge, knowledge of what has been done to us or for us. If we do not know that something has benefited us, we'll not feel grateful.”
From: Mahinda Wijesinghe – Gratitude in the Buddha’s teaching
Below you will find some of the texts that were used for exploring the theme with the adults and young people.
The lessons of Gratitude by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (accesstoinsight.org)
Ajahn Sumedho on gratitude to parents (amaravati.org)
Jataka Tale - Four on a log (buddhanet.net)
Who will feed the Mice? by Ajahn Amaro (amaravati.org)
Things we used during Puja
Brother David Steindl-Rast's words and video on a "Good Day" was watched many times! There are two versions available on YouTube