Minister’s February 2018 Message

Sometimes we are so attached 

To our way of life that we turn down

Wonderful opportunities simply 

Because we do not know what to

Do with it.

Paolo Coehlo

February is recognized as the month of “love.” It is a time of romance, courtship, and a way to transmit our love to someone. There are many words we can use to express this love, yet it is a most difficult word to firmly define. We use words like fondness, charity, adoration, kindness, tenderness, sympathy, devotion, or compassion. We demonstrate it through our actions, thoughts, and limited words. However, if one was asked to define love, it is a definition filled with adjectives.  Is love limited to adjectives?

According to Merriman-Webster dictionary, the definition of love is an intense feeling of deep affection. It is a deep attachment to someone or something or a great interest and pleasure in something. In Sanskrit, the word for love is lubhyati, translated as desires. While in Buddhism, desire can be construed as a blind passion.  Desires can mean a longing, craving or wish that does not cease once we acquire it.  We tend to only want more, where it becomes an obsession. The question becomes challenging because how much is too much?

Within this desire, we must investigate its impact on us. The Buddha’s teaching focuses on our origin of desire. In each desire, there is pleasure, displeasure, or neutrality feeling.  We can find pleasure in the desire and decide to keep its memory or it can create displeasure and make us angry or impatient. Then we come to the neutrality of this feeling. We can throw it out of our memory bank and move on. However, with each of these three feelings, there is always lurking an attachment to this desire or detachment from it. Within these two, there lies a past, present, and future. Love or desire is such an easy thing to achieve, but so complicated to understand and define.

Whatever love or desire brings our way; we learn to deal with the dual aspects of it all. We do not have all the answers and it is in our Namu Amida Butsu that will give us the moments to examine what we are. It is not a solution when confronted with this love or desire, but it can help with clearing our minds and allowing us to settle into thinking.

I still “love” February and what it brings to my heart.  My emotions are giddy and my heart is aflutter but it knows that Buddha’s compassion and wisdom is always shared, without calculation or desire. This February I look forward to chocolate hearts, flowers, and beautiful cards, even if they are from my sister and brother. Yet, it is my Namu Amida Butsu that is recited out of gratitude and thankfulness for having the teachings to guide me in deciding on my desires.

Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano

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