Minister’s Message – July 2022

“The Dharma speaks to us through the sounds of the world

forcefully and eloquently and beautifully.

It speaks of the unending change around us,

the immutable truth of interdependence,

and the peace in nature.

Do we have the ears to hear and listen…?”

~Excerpt from the poem, “Listen” from the book,

The Heart of the Buddha-Dharma

By Rev. Kenryu T. Tsuji

With the help of a SLO member, I do a YouTube recording every week. It sometimes takes 45 minutes to an hour to record. After the recordings, the member then edits out some of the boo-boos that I make. After all editing is done, he watches the recording again. It is not an easy job, but  he diligently and patiently finishes the job.

Of course, it does take a real person to record these tapings. But it also includes a camera, microphone, and computer to do these tapings. What we see and hear is through the diligence of one person, who is also learning various methods. It can be a difficult task for it involves many steps, understanding, and learning, as well as “know how.”

After editing and such, the member goes through the message. He then clicks the button for closed captioning to check what is being heard and written. If closed captioning does not “hear” the word being said, the computer will “guess” and write what it “thought” was said. This is all high tech and beyond my scope of understanding, so that is my simple explanation of how all these electronic machines work together.

At the end of the Dharma message, it is always, “Please join your palms together in Gassho.” However one of the recordings, the computer heard and printed this statement as, ‘Please gather your problems together for God’s sake.” Just last week, the computer heard and wrote Nembutsu as, “Normal army dogs, non-warm dogs, not my dogs.” It was hilarious! The computer is very much like humans or are humans like computers?

The computer has a difficult task of interpreting the dharma and we also have a difficult task of understanding. We listen to the Dharma, however do we just hear “blah, blah, blah?”  Jodo Shinshu allows us to question, to ask questions and to search for answers. We will never understand if we do not ask and question. One teaching says that there are 84,000 paths to our understanding and 84,000 questions that may follow. We merely have to ask.

  Yet we have Namu Amida Butsu/Nembutsu  that shares direction and guidance. It is our Nembutsu that helps us to open our eyes to see, to awaken us to hear and to expand our mind in understanding the dharma. The computer hears and interprets what the dharma sounds like and humans have the ability to try to understand, if we are willing.

Have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July.

Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano

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