Let me start by wishing everyone a Happy New Year!
Hope you don't mind I'm a few days late. I'm still trying to get back to something like normal after the holidays.
I'll start off the new year with a few encouraging words about studying/practicing Buddhism from Gudo Nishijima. It's in reply to a question at one of his talks in Tokyo.
Q: I want to learn about Buddhism, but my family life and work takes up a lot of time. I also waste time watching TV and so on. The gap between what I want to do and what I do causes me some frustration. Have you any advice about the attitude we should have to learn Buddhism?
Nishijima: I usually think that to do my best is the best I can do. And all human beings can only do their best. It is impossible for us to do something more than our best. So even though you have some dissatisfaction in your daily life, including that dissatisfaction, you are doing your best. So I think you can be very optimistic in your daily life, because you are doing your best. So to do our best is the important matter. And even though our best is not so high, we should be satisfied with that low situation in day-to-day life. Because, even though it is low, the low situation is our best at that time. So, to live our daily lives sincerely is our best. And that is Buddhist life. It is not necessary for us to think about more ideal situations apart from our real life.