Today I choose to live with gratitude
For the love that fills my heart, the peace
That rest within my spirit and the voice
Of hope that says all things are possible.
It is with disappointment that Guadalupe Buddhist Church’s Obon is cancelled this year. We are taking precautionary measures for the safety of our members as well as the community. Although our festival hours are for a short amount of time, it does not take long to “come into contact with an illness.” If you are “craving” our delicious teriyaki chicken dinner, we are brainstorming to see if we can sell the dinners at a different day and time.
The virus has brought about many disappointments and inconveniences. We must take precautions when going to the store or wherever. We have to always wash our hands, wear masks and follow social distancing. Family members deliver groceries and we can only catch a glimpse of their smiles. Yet, these inconveniences have enhanced our way we talk with people. We are using other forms of communications and share more appreciation of compassion and wisdom for others.
I have always denied being a senior, however I see advantages to this age. When cinemas were open, I got to use senior discount. I also paid senior prices at restaurants. During this time, I am able to shop during senior hours. It is the first time that checking out is fast and easy.
We are fortunate to have friends who are willing to help us when we are in need. Yes, our lives have changed in many ways. Yet, it is our Namu Amida Butsu that remains untouched. It is shining even brighter during this time.
It has been difficult to live in “isolation.” However living on church grounds, I live in isolation all the time. There are so many things to do that help time “fly by.” We may have finally read that book we have been putting off or we have cleaned out the old stuff we have been intending to do. How about writing a family history and our experiences? I have been perfecting my skills at baking biscotti and other goodies.
We can still take walks, using precautions. Nature and life is still out there. I see deer in the yard, periodically see skunks, raccoons, and possums and hear the coyotes partying in the fields. We only have to open our eyes to see, ears to hear, and our minds in making appropriate decisions. If we feel “unsafe,” we stay indoors and look out the window.
We have to think, not of only ourselves, but about family and other people. This virus affects us all, no matter whether young, old, male or female. We share our Namu Amida Butsu in gratitude for having those who care and thankful that there is still compassion in this world. Life as we have lived is being changed and it will take time to adjust to these changes. We look to our Namu Amida Butsu to give comfort and for guidance and direction.
Nembutsu can never be taken away from us. We rely on Nembutsu and the words of the Buddha to share its wisdom and to give us comfort and a bit of peace. It is Namu Amida Butsu that will help us to gain peace through this time.
The church still stands, quiet but it is still there. When the okay is given, we will open our doors for services. We will still be using precautions, but at least, we can gather and be together. We will be able to hear our friend’s voices and see their faces and find joy knowing everyone is doing well. It will be our Nembutsu when we are together once again. Until then we call each other or maybe even write letters. We find ways to communicate and continue to have Nembutsu. Be safe and stay healthy. Until we see each other, it is Namu Amida Butsu.
Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano