When the thought of wanting to say the Nembutsu,
Emerges from deep within, at that very moment, we are
Grasped never to be abandoned receiving the
Shinran Shonin, Tannisho
We all want an easy path on the road and in life. However, there are times when difficulties can obstruct our goals. For instance, freeways were built for progress. Our destinations have become faster, quicker, and easier. They were built to show progress. It seems there are more and more automobiles on the road. We take the freeway and others have the same idea. We become a part of a traffic jam. There are speeders and accidents that delay our arrival at our destination. It is too late when we realize, that just maybe the frontage roads or old roads would be less congested and can get us to our destination just as quickly.
In Jodo Shinshu, we have and are given the choice of paths and it can be in the teaching of Nembutsu. Within our recitation of Namu Amida Butsu, the teachings are in these seven syllables. Our entrusting or our true awakening to the teachings can provide us with a clear path of peace and harmony. As human beings, we struggle, but surviving these struggles we learn to build resilience to what may lie ahead.
No one said that life was easy. It is full of ups and downs that we know as samsara. Yet we can learn from these detours. Reflecting on the history of so many who have survived hardship and struggles. It was not easy to surrender all property and possessions as they entered the concentration camps. Even those who opted to move to another state faced much devastation. Yet, the internment did end and they returned with a stronger conviction and faced it with Nembutsu somewhere deep in their hearts and minds. Those who survived continued to ensure a better life for their children and these children passed it on to their children.
Eventually the war ended, yet there were many changes that had taken place. Everything is subject to change and nothing will remain the same. The Buddha Dharma (teachings) gave us the strength to endure. Amida Buddha was and continues to surround us with the compassion to survive and to be compassionate. It is the wisdom of the Buddha that continues to guide and point to the direction we could take.
Amida Buddha works 24 hours, 7 days a week. The Buddha never takes a day off, even when we may take detours. The Buddha is always with us, everywhere every place and anytime. We are shared the compassion and wisdom and share our gratitude and thankfulness in Namu Amida Butsu.
Unfortunately many of the younger generations have taken a detour. However, the Buddha has not abandoned them. Patiently and deeply the Buddha surrounds this generation; waiting until they have experienced their journey and found their true self. We continue to share our entrusting or awakening and listen with understanding through our speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and deep concentration. We continue to take the roads that we are familiar with and it will eventually get us to our destination.
Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano