Fish, to taste right, must swim 3’Xs…
First in water, then butter and finally in wine.
It is funny how our senses can affect dreams. These dreams can be filled with imagery, color, ideas, and emotions. Our dreams can be pleasant or scary. I generally do not remember my dreams, but this night was different. This dream was just an indifferent one, at first.
Maybe because I made fish that night, the smell gave way to a dream of fish. I was giving away fresh cooked salmon to Sangha people. I have no idea where the fish came from or why I was sharing it, but there I was in a room with fish. I dealt the fish out like cards at a poker game.
The room was plain, no real description. I tried to figure out where it was, and then the dream took a weird turn. It shifted to the social hall and we were at an otoki. Like always the otoki was supposed to be small but it grew and grew into a full-blown dinner. We had so much food and desserts.
It reminded me of all the otoki we have at Guadalupe BC. It supposedly starts out simple but through the generosity of so many members, we have a feast. The joy the otoki brings to my heart to see everyone enjoying each other’s company and socializing. There is laughter and smiles and at the end, everyone helps to clean up and wash the dishes.
This is the Jodo Shinshu way; we are always welcoming strangers into our church. We greet them with warm welcomes smiles and firm handshakes. We do not push our thoughts on them and we enjoy their company. The comments after the affair are always with gratitude and thankfulness that they found their way. We may not see them again but the memories are taken with them.
We share our Nembutsu with Buddha and thank those who come to visit. We do not ask them to join the church and we give them the freedom to decide if they want to return. That is how we are at the Guadalupe BC, warm, gentle, thoughtful and in gratitude. We put our palms together in Gassho for the many years in operation, so that we can greet those who want to hear the Dharma.
Guadalupe BC has a large mature Sangha, but it still functions as One. We continue to live individual lifestyles, but when we come together, it is as family. Is this not what a Sangha is? We not only share food but we share our Nembutsu.
We put our palms together in Gassho and recite Namu Amida Butsu in gratitude and thankfulness. Amazing enough, even in my dream I said “Itadakimasu, Gochisosama, and Namu Amida Butsu.” Now that was a dream that ended pleasantly and filling. My thanks and gratitude to a church and its Sangha that continue to practice generosity, thoughtfulness, and spreading Shin Buddhism, the way they know how.
Gassho, Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano