I am a link in Amida’s golden chain of love that stretches around the world.
I will keep my link bright and strong,
May I be kind and gentle to all living things and protect all who are weaker than myself.
May I think pure ad beautiful thoughts, say pure and beautiful words, and do pure and beautiful deeds…
Excerpt from The Golden Chain
There were two birds that slept on a ledge on the front porch of the temple’s house. When the sun begins to set, these birds would fly to their perch and huddle up for the night. They tried to sleep in the Wisteria tree; however, there was such a ruckus when one of them tried to nestle there. It was because there is a nest and they were considered an “intruder.” It is quite sad and disheartening to hear such sorrow, but Amida Buddha continues to protect those who are weaker than ourselves. I have no idea where the other bird is, but we can share our Namu Amida Butsu and wish it well. It is a true sign of the workings and teachings of the Buddha.
We sit tentatively in service, listening to the Dharma but do we really hear or want to hear? I look around and some of the Sangha members are looking around or using their cell phones. We listen to the Golden Chain, to an extent. Yes, Amida’s golden link can connect us with the littlest things in life, as well as give us something to think about. Sometimes our words and thoughts are not so pure and kindness sometimes slips away from our hearts and mind. Yet, it is still deep in our hearts.
Our ego and sometimes pride begin to take over our common sense and it starts to overtake the teachings we have heard and continue to practice. If we contemplate on the words of the Buddha, but how much of it stays with us? We can be assured of being accepted, “just as we are.”
The Buddha does not care how little we are or what our status is in this world. The true compassion and light and life of the Buddha are always with us. We can be assured that the Buddha will never abandon nor judge; the Buddha’s light and life surrounds us in our joy, happiness, sorrow, and sadness. It is this light that embraces us to look beyond our selfish self. We like to think of ourselves as beings that care; however, it can evade our thoughts at times.
This bird knows suffering in its little life. It has a mind to survive; its only desire is to be what it is, just a bird. It does not pretend to be an eagle or a hawk. This bird works hard and strives to survive. The main purpose of the bird is to fly around find food and comfort. It is free of any attachments, except its little perch at night. This little bird can teach us so much. We only have to give thought to its purpose and share our Namu Amida Butsu with compassion.
Put yourself in this little bird’s body. Imagine what it has to do just to survive one more day, but that takes an effort on our part. We think our problems are enormous but it is this bird who struggles. They try to communicate to us but we do not “speak bird.” However, we can share our Nembutsu with compassion and wisdom in thanking this little bird for its guidance and direction.
Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano