Minister’s February 2017 Message
Services every third Sunday of the month at 10:00 am
Study class every third Wednesday of the month at 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm in the Social Hall
This page is updated the first of every month. Be sure to read all the previous posts on our blog.
A good life is when you assume
Nothing, do more, need less,
Smile often. Dream big. Laugh
A lot, and realize how blessed
A tradition of February is sharing our affections to the ones we love. We shower them with flowers, share romantic dinners, give sentimental cards, and sometimes boxes of candy. I have known several couples that have celebrated 75 or so years of marriage. They raised a family and had many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Still when they looked at each other, there was still a “spark” between them. It was a beautiful sight. They seemed so happy and comfortable with each other.
Yet, I have been able to witness other forms of affection and it comes in the form of community and the interrelationship of each other and for me. I attend a luncheon with some people who live in Santa Maria and Guadalupe. They have either been born in the area or have migrated many, many years ago from other parts. They meet once a month at the same time and at the same restaurant. They get to eat seafood, have dessert, and drink their favorite floats. It is a treat for them and a treat to be with them.
I am considered a “youngster” and hearing their stories puts my life in perspective. They talk about the days in camp and the struggles and sufferings they survived. When I think my life is in turmoil, I reflect on the lives of these people and my turmoil is nothing in comparison. If we hear and understand their history, it can make us stronger and there is an appreciation for what was sacrificed. It is truly a time of gratitude and honor to be able to share time with them.
They are of different faiths, but it is their friendship and ties to each other that truly matter. This get-together is just old friends having a good time, sharing stories and being with and for each other. Some children also come with their parents, so that the parents can socialize with longtime friends. It is truly a time and place of joy and happiness.
During this time, there is only laughter, smiles, and hugs all around. There is compassion and support, the lending of strength, and listening ears. The interrelationship is the connection of “being there for each other” and the sharing of deep friendship. They share a fondness, gentleness, and thoughtfulness to what is happening in each others’ lives. This is compassion. I recite Namu Amida Butsu when I see compassion in action and the care for others.
Although there are many beliefs at this luncheon, I see our Buddhism in action. Each person listens and lends help in so many ways. February may be a month of “love,” but it is also a month of sharing a different kind of affection. This “community” comes together in honoring each other, protecting and hearing each other. There are so many teachings that we can learn from this “community gathering” and from our “mature” friends.” We have to have the patience to hear.
At the beginning of the meal, each individual gives thanks in their own way. One can hear “Itadakimasu” and Namu Amida Butsu, quietly but it is said with gratitude. We do not gather to talk “religion” but to be with each other. There is no discrimination, prejudice, or judgment. The Buddha Dharma is quietly at work silently and through the actions of all who attend. We leave this luncheon with a full tummy and full hearts of community and affection. It is Namu Amida Butsu for being asked to come and for hearing the teachings of the mature.
Wishing everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day with gratitude for what you share in teaching with me and for his or her actions of compassion.
Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano