The World Owes Me Nothing

Something I found recently in a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist pamphlet called “報恩, Gratitude: Its Source and Power”, by Reverend Taitetsu Unno published in the 1990’s:

During my youth, when I was growing up, I felt that the world owed me something. For a long time, I used to think that I should be getting more recognition for my work, perhaps more praise and, in some cases, a little more money. Always there was a lingering sense that I was entitled to more of the world. But in recent years, having gone through several serious illnesses, I now realize that the world doesn’t owe me anything and, in fact, I am the one who owes something to the world. The reason is that when I leave, I cannot take anything with me. In between birth and death everything I have is a gift—my body, the clothes I wear, the knowledge I have, family and friends, hobbies I enjoy, the house I live in and so on. They are all “mine,” but only as things temporarily entrusted to me during my sojourn on earth. (Pg. 7)

It’s a good reminder I think: the world doesn’t owe you anything.


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

3 thoughts on “The World Owes Me Nothing”

  1. I’ve read this before, but don’t have the pamphlet. It is on my Amazon wishlist. It is a good reminder. Thank you for posting it. Mind if I share it with my Facebook group, Practicing Gratitude?
    Are you familiar with Naikan? Greg Krech has an excellent book on this.



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