Written by Rev. Shinkai Murakami
Namu Amida Butsu
Dear Wailuku Hongwanji members, I sincerely hope that all of you and your family are doing well and receiving Amida Buddha’s infinite wisdom and compassion in your daily lives.
The main purpose of the teaching of the Buddha is to “[get] rid of pain or suffering and [give] us a peaceful mind.” So, Buddha preaches to us with some examples associated with our daily lives, enabling us to understand the principal of the teaching itself. Unfortunately, we are not often aware of this association and find ourselves asking Buddha for help when something happens, and we feel helpless. However, Buddha’s infinite guidance and his light of wisdom and compassion are always reaching into our hearts. We have all experienced hard and difficult things in our lives, but the teachings of the Buddha guide us to be aware of these difficulties and to realize and accept these difficulties as part of life, without doubt and without blaming others. We should always be looking to Buddha for his spiritual guidance, just like Kisagotami did so long ago…
Once there was a young woman named Kisagotami, the wife of a wealthy man, who lost her mind because of the death of her child. She took the child in her arms and went from house to house begging people to heal her child. Of course, they could do nothing for her, but finally one of followers of Buddha advised her to see the Buddha who was then staying at the temple of Jitavana. Kisagotami felt that Buddha could do something for her dead child, so she carried her dead child and ran to the Buddha’s place. When she reached the Buddha’s place, he realized that she lost her child. Buddha gazed at Kisagotami, full of sympathy, and said to her: “To heal the child I need some poppy seeds; go and beg for four or five poppy seeds from some home where death has never entered.” So, the poor, demented woman went out and sought seeds where death had never entered the house, but all her efforts were in vain and at last she was obligated to return to Buddha. In his quiet presence her mind cleared, and she understood the meaning of Buddha’s words. She took the baby’s body away and buried it and then returned to Buddha and became one of his followers.
We chant the Sutra at our temple services. Sutras are the Buddha’s spiritual guidance. When we chant the sutras and we hear the Sutras, we are reminding ourselves that Buddha’s spiritual guidance is reaching into our hearts and showing us the path of the truth. So, the guidance of the Buddha is “[like] entering a dark room with a light in the hand: the darkness will all be cleared away and the room will be filled with light.” Similar to Kisagotami who understood the meaning of the Buddha’s guidance, the Buddha’s teaching was able to clear away the darkness of suffering and sorrow.
We empathize with Amida Buddha’s wisdom and compassion as Infinite Light and Life that always reaches into our hearts, showing us the path of the truth. By listening to the Buddha Dharma his wisdom will open our eyes, the eyes of our inner heart, and be able to see the truth in our lives. The most important thing to remember is that we must accept things the way they are, and that Amida’s teachings will save everyone from the ocean of suffering.
Listening to the Buddha Dharma, we may cry, laugh, think, and doubt, but Buddha Dharma is the spiritual light for all of us to see the truth and realize that Amida Buddha is truly guiding us to the path of the truth in our precious life. Once we understand Amida’s infinite light in our heart, we are firmly able to walk the path of the truth with the great guidance of the Nembutsu. As Shinran Shonin clearly stated about Amida’s great light in the Hymns of the Pure Land “Countless Amida Buddhas reside, in the light of the Buddha of unhindered light, each one of these transformed Buddhas protect, the person of true and real Shinjin.”
Namu Amida Butsu