One moment can change a day,
One day can change a life and
One life can change the world.
~Words of the Buddha
Amidst all the chaos in the world, nature continues to flourish. We are in what some people call “super
bloom”. It seems everything is blossoming all at once because of the much needed rain we got. We sniffle,
sneeze or deal with the itchy eyes, yet what a beautiful time it is. The flowers are blooming and the trees are
full with new leaves.
Yet, there are so many unnecessary killings and wars that it is difficult to keep track of the events of the day.
Unfortunately there are people in society who do not think before taking responsibility for their actions or some
may have a mental disorder, who only think they have no alternative. Whatever the reason, it is a disheartening
action of others.
However the worst of all these happenings are shootings by elementary school children. We can only guess
where they get these ideas and how they get the weapons to commit such heinous crimes. They are so young;
it is supposed to be a time of playing with friends, learning a team sport, riding bikes or just being a kid. Are
they learning this behavior from watching too much violence on television or playing those violent video games
without adult supervision?
I wonder if the children are listening to adult conversations and without really understanding what is being
said, they go into “action mode”. They truly do not understand what it means about consequences, until it
happens. It is so sad because even then they do not understand what consequences mean.
I ask, what are we doing to teach our children, grandchildren and maybe even great grandchildren to
understand what is proper or improper actions? Are we so involved with our own issues that we stop paying
attention to our children’s safety and teaching? Perhaps we can start to teach the Buddha dharma in words
they can understand.
A simple lesson or teaching is The Golden Chain or even a simple explanation of the Six Paramita. This
could be a time we can spend with the young ones. We can start talking with our young ones, letting them
question and helping to guide them. We can start by asking them questions about Nembutsu/Namu Amida
Butsu. We do not have to give them an academic explanation, but simple and the best explanation we can.
As adults, we tend to be “afraid” to answer our children’s question of Buddhism. But we have to start
somewhere and the beginning comes from our own understanding, even if we have a difficult time. We can
simply start with thankfulness, gratitude and appreciation for all that is shared and given. It is compassion and
wisdom at all times, even when we make mistakes. Nembutsu can be a breath of fresh air that clears our
thoughts, so that we can begin to understand our actions. Our Namu Amida Butsu is silence that calms our
racing minds. It is many things, but always with thankfulness, gratitude and appreciation.
We should never be afraid to explain Namu Amida Butsu, for there are no misunderstandings in our
We want to see children grow into responsible adults and that begins with us. We are parents,
grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings and teachers, who our children look to for understanding and guidance.
We, as teachers, learn from the Buddha’s teaching. We continue to hear the teaching for guidance and
direction, so that we can share our learning with our children and with others.
Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano