Hamamatsuri 2023: Of Puppies and Parental Stress

Hello readers and happy Hanamatsuri to those who celebrate the birthday of the Buddha, Shakyamuni (a.k.a. Siddhartha Gautama).

This past week has been crazy, mainly because we have a new addition to the family:

Her name is Cherry, and she is a 12-week old pug/beagle mix that we adopted. She was abandoned by her original owner in a garbage bag, and later rescued. Since she was staying with a foster family in our area, the adoption process was very quick. Overnight (literally), we had a new puppy in our life and have been scrambling to adjust since.

She is not the first dog we have adopted, but by far the youngest, and we’ve been in for a shock. She hasn’t been house-broken yet, and still has many of the classic puppy habits: biting, lots of energy, teething. and a small bladder.

She is a very sweet dog, but the past week has been very disruptive. We have little time to sit and relax, and she may suddenly decide to start biting our toes or hands when she’s bored or wanting to play rough. Also, our carpet is a mess as we are still training her to toilet outside, and don’t always get it right.

Needless to say, it has been both a fun and miserable experience. When she is taking another nap on my lap, it is very pleasant, when she is destroying the house, not so much.

Which brings us back to Hanamatsuri.

The Buddha taught the importance of self-reflection over and over again. It’s easy to be at peace and a good Buddhist when life is going your way. But, when life is difficult, you are tried, or stressed, then your true nature will emerge, and it is often ugly to look at.

I see it in myself. Apparently this is known as the “Puppy Blues”, too. There are times I wish someone would just take her off our hands. There are also times when I am frustrated, and just don’t want to deal with her. In this respect, Cherry is a mirror to myself. Through her, just as through raising kids, I see my true nature.

But it’s good to be aware of these things. Not just intellectually, but to experience and see it firsthand. It’s unpleasant to confront, but it’s important to recognize those feelings exist too. I love little Cherry and don’t want her to suffer anymore, so I have no desire to send her back. Further, I know it will get easier with time, just as it was with little kids, and just like little kids, it gets more rewarding over time.

However, it does require constant vigilance toward my own mind. One should not kid oneself and get complacent. Just as training a puppy takes considerable patience and persistence, so does training one’s own mind.

Easier said than done, but there is no alternative if one does not wish to break through to a state of peace, and also benefit those around you.

Happy Hanamatsuri!!

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammu-sam-buddhasa

P.S. this is apparently 500th post. 🥳

Published by Doug

🎵Toss a coin to your Buddhist-Philhellenic-D&D-playing-Japanese-studying-dad-joke-telling-Trekker, O Valley of Plentyyy!🎵He/him

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: