Minister’s Message – June 2024

Reverend’s Message

My eyes being hindered by blind passions,
I cannot perceive the light that grasps me’
Yet the great compassion, without tiring,

Illumines me always.
~Shinran Shonin’s Jodo Wasan, Verse 95

Gary Larson is a cartoonist and some of his drawings need no
explanation or comment. I was sent such a humorous, but poignant
cartoon. The scene shows a very dark, silent ocean and a ship was
heading toward a rocky shoreline. The keeper is running to the lighthouse,
hat flying off his head and he is rushing with light bulbs tucked under his
arms… because the guiding lights were burnt out.

When we look at this cartoon, we chuckle. However there is a
message that we can learn from this picture. Everyone needs light to see,
even those who are sightless. However, those sightless people can use
their other senses to “see”. Without light, we are limited in our views. If we
visualize a ship traveling in the dark with no warning lights to alert them of
other ships or dangerous shores, there will be a very bad crash. It is
Buddha’s light in the form of teaching that helps light our way of seeing the
reality of truth and is leading us to seek and see our true self. It is a difficult
task looking at our blind passions of greed, anger and ignorance and who
wants to be reminded of blind passions? However it is this light that shows
us blind passions we have. The good news is that Buddha’s light can also
help us to change.

This light may come in the form of answers to questions, solutions to
problems or decisions that may be troubling us. This light is also in our
Nembutsu/Namu Amida Butsu. It is Buddha’s light that burns within our
hearts and minds. When it seems dark and lonely, we always have
Buddha’s light and Nembutsu to ease our pain and suffering.

There will be times when this light may seem dim or close to being
extinguished, however Buddha’s infinite light is always shining, patiently
waiting and guiding until we see and realize. This light is sometimes buried
deep, yet Buddha’s light continues to burn within our hearts and minds.
This light is always leading and guiding. This infinite light is always with us
to brighten our path, leading us to a better understanding of self as well as
others and it will never abandon us.

In this cartoon, we are this ship lost in darkness and Buddha “puts in a
new light bulb” to guide us in the right direction. Do we have the courage
to let Buddha’s light share its brilliance and show us a path of

No matter how mature I am, there are times when I am still afraid of the
dark. There are “wild things” that lurk in the dark and it is those things we
cannot see that frighten us. It is seeing the truth that can frighten us.
However when a light is “turned on” and we can see around us, our fears
are relaxed, even though the “wild things” still exist, Light brings us the
ability to see more clearly and see what surrounds us. It is Namu Amida
Butsu that “stills my heart and mind”. I still get frightened of the dark, but
knowing there is light eases my stress and tension.

Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano

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