What day is it today?
Maybe it is Christmas Day to you? Or maybe it is the day to celebrate the birth of your country’s founder?
Maybe it is the day to be allowed by tradition to hold supervised fist-fights as a way to resolve conflicts? Or maybe it is the day to come together to commemorate the adoption of the current constitution of your state?
To me, it turned out to be the day to attend a monthly tea service within the premises of a Buddhist temple and collect another one of what I call “pieces of peace” for the last time this year. Just as any other month, I got dressed in traditional wear… but knowing that it is also Christmas Day, I chose this attire:
Red, green, gold, and white – Christmassy colours, wouldn’t you say?
(By the way, all the tiny spots that appear white-ish on the traditional wear are created by tie-dye method… each and every one of them, throughout the garment, by hand! It was handed down to me by my relative, but as there are very few professionals left who are willing AND able to do such detailed work, it has become quite rare to come across something of this quality and extent today. I am so privileged to have it in my possession!)
In addition, I thought it would be nice to prepare a few goodies to give as Christmas presents to the host and waiters of the tea service, to show my appreciation for all the welcome and hospitality I received from them this year:
Old and new tatting pieces made into dangles… I chose the designs that looked most ornamental, so they could be hung as Christmas decorations if so wished
As I arrived at the tea room, I was told by the receptionist that they too had gotten Christmas presents for the guests. (They were giving out portable heat pads because it was a very cold day today.) And after the tea service, all guests were handed this instead of the usual verse from a sacred chant praying for world peace:
The six characters say “Namo Amitabha Buddha,” a phrase repeated in Buddhist prayers in my homeland as expression of faith. I personally see a bit of similarity to Christian “Amen,” maybe because I had just attended a Christmas service last evening… but I may not be the only one seeing this link. Why else would there be Christmas bells added at the top right corner?
So, maybe we are individuals with different thoughts and feelings and values and beliefs.
Maybe we seek different meanings and significance in the same day.
But maybe we are not that different in how we spend the day.
We all look forward to spending the day with those who matter to us, and wish it will end up being a happy and fruitful one for all.
Put differently, maybe we are all the same – we can be respectful and thoughtful of others and learn to live together peacefully if we can feel we are treated with equal respect and thought.
The host of this tea service is always full of respect and thought for all her guests, whether they are one-timers or repeaters. I think this is why I, as well as my fellow guests, come away with smiles from ear to ear after attending her tea services.
Today was a happy and fruitful day for me. I hope it will be the same for you, even if your day means much different from mine.