A Japanese Proverb for the New Year

Many of you have sent me kind greetings for the holidays. I wanted to reciprocate with an idea around the theme of a new year.
The Japanese have a proverb:
“rainen no koto o ieba, oni ga warau”
“when we say next year, the devil laughs.”
It’s an exhortation to have one’s priorities straight—to not put off things that are really important.
One way to measure the importance of something is how deep, how powerful, and how universally applicable that thing is. By this metric, our mindfulness practice deserves more priority than it often gets.
The New Year is an opportunity for renewed practice. That’s the highest blessing that I can wish.

Oni Zazen – Shunsō Shōju (1751-1839; Hakuin’s student)