May all creatures, both the weak and the strong,
find and abide in peace!
~ Excerpt from Metta Sutra
From the book, Buddha’s Words of Wisdom, Allen, G.F., 1959
Phew! Another year, another Obon and it is now over. We can start to think of the other things that we have put aside. For some children, it is the beginning of a new school year and vacations are coming to a close. We are constantly on the move, with this or that. Yet, when do we stop to take a sigh of relief and show our gratitude and thankfulness for another successful time? When do we stop and share Namu Amida Butsu?
Summers are a time of relaxation, fun in the sun, and family reunions. We travel, gather, and socialize; however, it is also a time to reflect on the many things we can be grateful for. We have our mental and physical health, family, and supportive friends. We live each day with gratitude and thankfulness for another day of sunshine and bliss. We see each day as another day of entrusting in the teachings of the Buddha.
There are days when our aches and pains hinder our path, but we can still hear, listen, think, and learn. Everyone has lived a life filled with minor and sometimes major “bumps in the road,” yet we have always found solutions and life continued on. We are fortunate to be able to have Namu Amida Butsu to guide us.
As the summer comes to a close maybe we can stop and reflect on what has been. We do not think of what could have, should have, or would have, but examine the present. We reflect on our activities we have been able to share with others, our accomplishments of the year and we put our palms together in gratitude. It does not matter how good or bad accomplishments were but that we did our best so that we could live.
When I was younger, I would listen to the “mature” adults talk about their woes and make fun of them. I would think that I’ll never be like that. Now I am at that age, when I get together with friends, we end up talking about all our “ifs and buts.” We cannot change time or our maturity, but Nembutsu never changes. We can share our thankfulness and gratitude for still having times with others and what we can do to change ourselves.
Along with aches and pains, we also have to listen to the number of times that we “monku” each day. This word “monku” means to complain. We whine about everything, but is this not life? In fact, we love to “monku.” We all “monku” about something or another and guess what, things remain the same. As long as we can breathe and think, we can find solutions.
Even though we have the convenience of technology to make life easier, we tend to forget the times and teachings of Buddha, Shinran Shonin and our ancestors. They lived a life that was so much more difficult than ours. Yet, it was always for family and the generations to come. They probably “monku”ed but they knew it would not do any good and they just did what had to be done.
These are lessons we have forgotten. We want the convenience to make our lives simpler. How simple can Namu Amida Butsu be? We must refresh our thinking each and every day of Nembutsu. This is such an easy task, but one that is so difficult to live and understand. As the year goes on, let us be more aware of what we truly are, watch our ego, and share our gratitude and thankfulness in Namu Amida Butsu.
Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano