Things happen by small degrees. We set out to do some improvements in the big barn. To do that we had to empty the space. To empty the space we had to build a shed in which to put things - two sheds, in fact. To build sheds is quite a big job, but before you can get started on it you need to lay a base of paving. Before you can lay the paving you have to clear the ground - also quite heavy work. In the meantime the grass is growing, paths in the forest need to be kept open, and a rash of other jobs call for attention. After a year or two one is getting somewhere near to doing the job that one had in mind in the first place.

These realities teach one patience. Today, I read an article that says that scientific research suggests that bad tempered, grumpy people tend to live longer and get better paid. I certainly don't get highly paid, but I do harvest many invaluable benefits such as wonderful company and amazing sunsets. Also each of my little achievements on the way to getting the original job done bring their own satisfactions. My father was an irascible man and I myself used to be more fiery than I am these days. Perhaps I should practise losing my temper more often. On the other hand, there will probably be another scientific report next week saying the opposite. I think I'll just stick with my Buddhist practice and say the nembutsu as I go about my little jobs.

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