How rare and wondrous it is to have been born into human life
And now I live it. How rare and wondrous it is to be able to listen
To the Buddha-Dharma, and now I am able to hear it…
I rely on the Buddha…
I rely on the Dharma…
I rely on the Sangha…
~Excerpts of The Three Treasures
Please accept my apology for the lateness of June’s article. Time seems to just fly by so quickly. There is so much to do and seems so little time to accomplish my obligations to both temples. Namu Amida Butsu.
The first of the Four Noble Truths state that life is suffering and at times it seems that it is. Although when we are young, we get to venture out and experience life. Yet there is still suffering, for we have to now look towards our future. We eventually mature, “settle down” and take on more responsibilities and obligations; maybe having a family.
Many people who are ready to retire say that they are looking forward to their retirement. They look forward to doing nothing or doing what they want to do. They look forward to that time. Then reality sets in. They realize retirement is not really retirement, for there are other types of responsibilities and obligations that were put “on the back burner” when they were in their careers. Now that they are retired, they seem to have even more things to do, but without the pay.
Many retired people have dreams of traveling, sleeping in late, or just having fun. However they may have grown up children and sometimes, children are in need of help. Just because the parents have retired does not mean they are relieved of their responsibility to family. Family grows and their children have children and with this come grandparent’s duties.
Well, there goes retirement. Yet, there is a beauty and happiness for their children and family. There is now time to go to the grandchildren’s sports events, watch them grow from infancy to adulthood and develop personalities of their own. Retirement can be a good time. These people can now do things they have always wanted to try.
I was talking to a person who was celebrating his youngest daughter’s marriage. He was a happy camper for now all his children have found their happiness. He said, “Now I can die.” I laughed at this statement and told this person, “No, you cannot die yet, for you will now start a new career, as a babysitter!” This person realized the truth in this statement and smiled. In his statement and without effort, it was Namu Amida Butsu.
In fact, during retirement we may take on new careers. It may be a career we have always wanted to try. Whatever it is, we can do it with new eyes with gusto and use our experiences. If we tire of the job, we can always go back into retirement. Whatever is decided, it is always Namu Amida Butsu. It is out of thankfulness, gratitude and appreciation for still having the energy and gumption to try something new and keep on trying.
Retirement can be a good time. We continue being a teacher to our young one, still have the ability to think, love and share our wisdom. We can now do it on our own pace and still have Nembutsu with us. During our mature days, our Nembutsu become more important and carries a deeper entrusting in the Buddha and the teachings. Nembutsu is ageless and become more precious to us.
When we think of our past and see the generations, we can only share Namu Amida Butsu. Life continues with as much stress as before, but it is at our pace we start to enjoy and truly see how good life is and what may lie ahead.
Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano