From the standpoint of endowed trust, one should listen to the teachings
As if for the first time, even though it has been heard before. People want
To hear new and interesting things all the time, but no matter how often
One listens to the teachings, one should hear it as if it were a rare, first occasion.
~Rennyo Shonin, 8th Abbot of Nishi Hongwanji
GBC’s Obon is over and we all know what that means. For some, summer vacation is nearly over and a new school year is beginning. We as grown ups also wonder where the time has gone. It seems as thought we were just in the planning stages of Obon and poof, before our eyes it is upon us and now finis.
Recently I went to a large store and I always look in the art supply area. I mistakenly walked down the school supply aisle. There were so many cute supplies that I would have liked to have bought. I thought that if they had those cute items when I went to school, I might have like school more.
I noticed that some of the mothers were pulling their children to walk down this aisle. One child just simply refused. He stopped at one end and held onto the shelf. His mother tried enticing him with rulers of his favorite comic character or new innovative carrying cases. This child was not impressed, for he knew of the impending doom. He knew and understood what this meant.
There was another child who was not interested in school supplies. His mother was showing enthusiasm about the supplies. The child was may be going into the first grade and he too was not impressed. She showed him new pencil boxes, colored pencils, rulers and whatever. He said he wanted to go to the toy department. I felt the real frustration of these parents.
At the beginning of a new school tern, there is always something new for children. There are new kinds of school supplies. There are crayons with new colors and scents, rulers with our favorite characters or pencils with scenery. But children instinctively know that it means the end of summer vacation. They have to get back to a routine of going to bed early and no more playtime. It is back to studying and learning. Yet as children and adult, we are constantly learning and hearing. For parents it is a relief but another kind of routine is to begin.
We as grownups do not realize we too are constantly learning. Our hearing the teachings can always be with renewed ears. However, there are times we feel like these school children. We have someone or something that drags us to attend temple. We do not want to go or we have “other things to do” and we feel that the dharma will always be there, so why come.
Yes it may be the same teachings however to hear the dharma relayed with a different explanation is a renewal of our way of thinking. The teachings are a constant in our lives that we hear and practice. We are all changing and we begin to understand in different ways. Yet with different words it may transform our way of thinking and our selves.
As children return to school, we return to the Dharma. We return to our youth in hearing and learning. Who said that we cannot learn new tricks? We become a different kind of student with experiences that we can teach others and to learn from each other. We have our Namu Amida Butsu to guide and direct us. We share our Nembutsu with thankfulness and gratitude for the ability to actively learn, understand and hear..
Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano