“…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 Heart of the Buddha-Dharma”
By Rev.. Kenryu T. Tsuji
Everyday is a good day that we can live the Buddha’s teaching. It is a day filled with finding who and
what we truly are. We live a life of gratitude and thankfulness of knowing that we are surrounded by the light of Buddha’s compassion and wisdom. We come to appreciate Nembutsu/Namu Amida Butsu that helps us get through the day. Oh, we have our aches and pains and sometimes we feel “out of sorts”, but that is a natural procession of maturity. But to be able to live the teachings is another day of breathing the dharma.
We are so fortunate to be able to choose how we live our lives. We have so many choices that we
“think” will change our lives. Yet if we can come to terms with our understanding, the dharma can share ways that may change our lives also. Yet do we have the ears and eyes to hear and seek the Truth?
We find other things to do instead of attending services. Yet by coming to church, there can be a
change of attitude that we can attain. Sitting among the sangha, we form a unity, find friendship and gain
support and strength from each other as well from the dharma. We are on a path of searching, hearing and learning. Without sangha, there is no dharma and no dharma, no there is no Buddha.
I like to sit in the Hondo before everyone arrives. It gives me serenity and helps to clear the mind. I
guess one could call this “right mindfulness” or “right meditation”. I gather my thoughts and the atmosphere is soothing and peaceful. I love the quiet and I stare at the onaijin (shrine). I see the hardship of those who have come before us and their unselfish act of sharing and giving. I see the generation that brought the shrine, piece by piece, from Japan or San Francisco. I visualize horses and buggies traveling over unpaved roads and the journey these people had to struggle through. It is so automatic to put my palms together in Gassho in thankfulness, gratitude and appreciation for what they shared for the future generations.
When alone in the Hondo, I am my true self. I do not have to lead in chanting or share the dharma, I am
in my natural state. Sitting alone gives me the time to think, hear the sounds of the echoing of Nembutsu of generations past, present and future. I feel and hear my breathing of inhaling and exhaling. My heart becomes filled with compassion and my mind drifts to the dharma. I begin to think of the Golden Chain, Six Paramitas and the Eightfold Path. I am not alone for I know that Buddha and Shinran are there to share guidance and direction. It is Namu Amida Butsu.
It can be a wonderful day to sit in the church, to breathe freely and to be our true self. No one to see us,
no niceties, no one to bother us, just Nembutsu. We calmly gather our thoughts, prepare our ears to hear, look and appreciate the onaijin, smell the incense burning, feel the atmosphere of our past and we are ready to think. It is a good day to begin understanding Namu Amida Butsu! One day before service starts, come sit quietly alone and be your true self.
Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano