Death leaves a heartache that
No one can heal, love leaves
A memory no one can steal.
~Inscription on an Irish Headstone
By now you have received your raffle and dinner tickets for Guadalupe Buddhist Church’s (GBC) Obon. We have to wear a new hat of being a salesman. It is a difficult role to step into; however, it is our main source of income. This income helps to pay water, electric, telephone, trash pick up, taxes, BCA dues, and so much more. We are able to continue to hear the Dharma. But it is through your dedication that keeps our Nembutsu alive and our temple independent. GBC “stands on its own two feet” because the members understand the importance of their church and the Buddha Dharma.
Our members are not in the thousands or even one hundred, yet there is a strong bond to a place isolated from a big city. One wonders how this temple sustains itself. The answer lies within the hearts of those who see the importance of our presence and who wants it to continue and thrive.
Once in awhile we do get new members and they “fit” right in with the flow of things. We get so few new members that I tend to forget my manners. It is heartwarming to see our new members’ faces at each service that is held. We welcome Lee and his wife Frances Humphrey, their daughter Angel who plays the piano so beautifully and her son, Hadrian Roman, who is an excellent baker. Namu Amida Butsu to and for our new members.
Obon is a time to share and show our gratitude and thankfulness to our departed loved ones and our ancestors. We would not be able to exist without the help of everyone and this includes our departed loved ones. They looked to the future and wanted us to always have a place of security, warmth, and safety. We continue with the lessons and teachings of compassion and sharing of the Buddha and our departed loved ones. We hold an observance to those who have past during the year, who also renewed our entrusting for generations to come. We put our hands together in Gassho.
Obon is also a time to “let our hair down” and show how foolish we truly are. We should not have to worry about how we look or how we dance because everyone around us is as “foolish as we are.” It is also a time to look within and to begin to understand of our blind passions of greed, anger, and ignorance. We are full of ego and self-centeredness. We dance to release ourselves from the bondage of this ego and to honor the labors of our ancestors who worked day in and day out so that we can still hear the Dharma. It was through sacrifice, sweat, and tears that we still exist. Namu Amida Butsu in gratitude and thankfulness to those who shared so much with us.
It is at this time we put our hands together in Gassho to Esther. Through the magic of technology and meetings after our Shotsuki, she has been able to organize another Obon for us. She works full time, yet finds the time to work out all the details for another successful time. We do not thank her enough for her dedication and time. Thank you, Esther. We must also thank everyone for his or her help in GBC’s success.
I know, another Obon…, but we can be thankful for another year together. Let’s get out and have some fun, social time, and good eats. Namu Amida Butsu to our ancestors and to all who participate at GBC’s fun in the sun activity.
Gassho, Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano