Minister’s Message – September 2021

“…Rejoicing in the Compassion of the Buddha,

Respecting and aiding all sentient beings,

I will work towards the welfare of society

And the world.

~Excerpt of Shin Buddhist Life Principle

Life is going by so quickly and in a couple of weeks, it will be autumn. It has been quite a while since seeing many at service. Due to the pandemic, many of our members have not returned to services. We are trying to keep in touch with them and that is one of the reasons for the food delivery. It is not out of charity, but our way to keep in touch with our cherished members. We get to see faces and it is a relief to see that all are still in good health.

We are all concerned about the pandemic and now we have a new strain of the virus. Along with our families, the church is also concerned for your welfare.  We have only recently been able to come out and socialize, but now Santa Barbara County has again issued an official order. We are back to wearing masks indoors and outdoors, social distancing and taking those extra precautions. We keep wondering when it will come to an end. Who knows? We continue with Namu Amida Butsu/Nembutsu to give us the patience and strength to endure.

I find it difficult to cook for one person and when I do cook, I have the same food for 3-4 days and sometimes for a week. It is difficult for me to eat the same foods day after day. I like variety, so that would mean cooking something new everyday. I can only eat so many leftovers and I end up changing its taste, which is also cooking. Sharing and delivery of lunches is merely our intention for the welfare of our members. We miss seeing familiar faces at the services and bento deliver is our way to keep communications open.

Many of you have known each other for such a very long time and there is a concern for each other. By accepting the food delivery, we get to see your smiles and talk with you from a distance. It may be foods we are not accustomed to, however it is prepared with love and compassion (sometimes its good to eat something different). It takes “thinking outside the box” to experience new tastes. However it is out of my selfishness. I am selfish because I like to share the pastries I make, but also I can keep some for myself, without the guilt.

I do not want anyone to feel that food delivery is charity. I want everyone to enjoy an otoki without having to meet in person. We continue to be careful and take precautions, yet we also want to share Namu Amida Butsu in any way possible. We wait patiently in our Nembutsu, until we can feel safe to venture out. It is always Namu Amida Butsu and our concern for the welfare of our members.

Take care, be safe and stay healthy and it is always Namu Amida Butsu.

Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano

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