Entrusting in the Vow of the Buddha,
Calling out the Buddha’s Name,
I will pass through the journey
Of life with strength and joy.
Rejoicing in the Compassion of the Buddha,
Respecting and aiding all sentient being,
I will work towards the welfare of
Society and the world.
~Verse 1 and 4 of “The Shin Buddhist Life Principles”
It seems as though the trees and flowers know what is happening. Sitting out on the front porch, nature seems to know that changes are occurring before we do. I see the leaves changing colors. It is taking the sun longer to warm the day. The days are getting shorter. The morning and evening air is crisp. This is great sleeping weather. It definitely feels as though autumn is quickly approaching.
We experience our deep connection to the rhythms and cycles of the seasons. This change can affect us in various ways. Being warm bloodied mammals, we tend to “store” up for the winter. We even resort to eating differently. We prepare heartier foods and wear more warm clothes. We are aware of the season, yet we tend to forget the path of the Buddha Dharma.
Like the layers of clothes we put on for coverage, we tend to hide our true self under this thing we call ego. It is when this ego overcomes our sensibilities and it begins to speak for us and we tend to forget who we really are. We begin to live in a false world. During the fall weather and the season to come, we focus on the principles that can awaken us to live a more joyful and peaceful life.
These principles (Six Paramitas) include generosity (dana), guidance (sila), tolerance (ksanti), perseverance (virya), meditation (dhyana), and insight (prajna). Our generosity comes in many forms, such as being helpful to others or giving of our self without asking for anything in return. Our guidance comes in sharing directions or relying on the Buddhist precepts. Tolerance is seeing other’s mistakes with kindness, for we are not perfect beings and we, too, may make mistakes. Perseverance is doing our best in all our actions. Meditation is to think, a deep thinking on our life and how the Buddha’s teachings can give guidance and direction to finding our true self. Then there is our insight. This insight is our understanding of our meaning of Namu Amida Butsu.
When all else fails there is the Golden Chain and our Namu Amida Butsu. We place our trust in this recitation to give us time to “stop think and hear.” We listen to our hearts and minds and we take the time to “meditate” on our true self. As the season flows into one another, we must also learn to flow with the teachings. We only have to listen, hear, and think.
Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano