Ministers Message – January 2019

Agemashite Omodeto Gozaimasu

I am writing this article in a place where the air is crisp and there is a chill in the air. A slight breeze is starting but with a warm pair of gloves and scarf, it is tolerable. I have not spent winter in Colorado for at least 14 years. I have forgotten how cold it is here. However no matter whether in California or Colorado, it is Namu Amida Butsu for the chance to be among friends, the Sangha, and family.

It is amazing how time is flying by. 2019 is here and I have not even attempted making any resolutions. Last year I made many and did not even get past the first day. So I quit making resolutions, then I do not have to worry about fulfilling my intentions. I am making the promise to increase my study and to continue finding the truth of my true self.

As a minister I have counseled many families in the passing of a loved one and it is a difficult time for everyone. However when it is family, it is more difficult to maintain one’s composure and feelings. I have been thinking about this matter because it was a close call for my brother. He is not “out of the woods” yet and recovery is 50/50 chance. He is in good spirits and as he said he reached at least one goal and that was to make it to the holiday.

The truth is that it is very difficult to see a sibling who was in good health, robust, and loved food and now he has slowed down, gets fatigued quickly, and only forces himself to eat. As a minister, I talk about the impermanence of all things, however when it involves a personal matter, one feels it is a cruel punishment. I forget the Dharma and return to my selfish self. I am filled with greed, anger, and ignorance. I question why and do not stop to think and hear the teachings. No matter what I try to do, nothing will change the condition. It is my Namu Amida Butsu that helps me to stop and just be with my brother. It is a difficult time. Yet it is Namu Amida Butsu for support and encouragement to face whatever comes my way.

On a happier note, the Dharma continues to teach me and it is my Nembutsu that will maintain my optimism and joy of being surrounded by Buddha.  We have another year together with family and friends. Here is wishing you a safe, prosperous, and healthy New Year. We continue to work together in our awakening and deepening our entrusting in Namu Amida Butsu.

Gassho, Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano

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