Though we commit evil throughout our lives
If we say the nembutsu always,
With our hearts turned wholly to Amida,
Our obstructions fall away by the spontaneous working.
Hymns of the Pure Land Master, Tao-ch’o
Happy New Year! With the ozone or toshi koshi soba eaten, we can begin 2018 with a truer and deeper heart. We still have the same old problems, aging or illness, yet there is still a light that shines through the dark clouds. We start the New Year with a new vitality of hearing and learning the Buddha’s teaching. I hope it is a good start of the New Year.
Unfortunately we have had to face tribulations in order to learn and to have a deeper understanding. Without these experiences we would never know how to face these sufferings. If and when we ever encounter any type of sufferings, we are now wiser and have the “expertise” to face them and to help others in their time of need.
Jodo Shinshu Buddhism is sharing. It is a sharing of guidance and wisdom. We hear the teachings of the Buddha and we lend our limited wisdom to those who ask. Like Shinran Shonin who taught those who wanted to hear the teachings, we now continue in his footsteps. Shinran did not discriminate or care if one was rich, poor, male, female, old or young. He shared his knowledge and his entrusting in the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha. We are and can be the teacher who shares in selfless giving and with compassion.
Holidays can be a very difficult time for many of us. However putting our palms together in Gassho can be beneficial and supportive. It gives us an assurance that we are capable of seeking answers and using them to the best of our ability. Another year has come and gone and we are grateful for the many adventures it has shared with us. We share our Namu Amida Butsu in gratitude and thankfulness for surviving another year and for the many friendships that continue to exist as a Sangha.
We are not perfect beings and at times we become angry with friends or relatives. However we must take the time to think and hear. In all of this bitterness, we tend to blame others without focusing on our part in the situation. Oh how human we are!
In the New Year, we take the time to really think of our imperfect self. We can “evaluate” who we truly are, was the misunderstanding on my part or forgiving what was said in distress. However it is the individual who must make these choices and we are given 84,000 choices.
The New Year is to clean the slate, but it is only the individual who can do this. Do we try or just hold on to grudges and miss out on friends’ or relative’s compassion and company? Yet the New Year is a continuum of time to share our gratitude and share our thankfulness for what we have and hopefully what we will become. We continue to search within our hearing and learning to realize the Truth.
May 2018 bring you health, deeper entrusting in the teachings and a true awakening of heart and mind. Have a safe and sane New Year and toll in the New Year with new vitality and compassion.
Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano