Realizing and Gratitude
Written by Rev. Shinkai Murakami
Namu Amida Butsu
Hi Wailuku Hongwanji Ohana! I hope all of you are doing well, despite the Covid-19 pandemic and receiving the infinite blessings, wisdom, and compassion of Amida Buddha’s Great Vow of the Nembutsu. The year of 2020 has only one month left, but because of Covid-19, we had a very interesting year where we learned many important things.
The month of December will be very busy for everyone. Many of you may have the opportunity to gather and I sincerely hope you and your family will keep safe all the time. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, we all started to use masks. However, using masks for people in Hawaii was not the norm and some people found it hard to breathe, but masks are a great source of protection against the Corona virus and other illnesses.
Do you know how much virus particles come out of your mouth when you have a cough or a sneeze? According to Dr. Eishu Hai, the medical doctor at Kanazawa University, Japan, we expel over 100,000 virus particles from our mouths when we don’t cover our coughs. When we don’t cover our sneezes, we can spray over 2,000,000 virus particles towards those around us. Moreover, the virus-laden spray from our coughs and sneezes can travel about 7 feet from our body into the air. So, when a person coughs or sneeze within 7 feet of us, we are receiving a shower of virus directly into our body, which can affect us. For those with a compromised immune system, the shower of virus can have a more serious effect on their body.
With these facts in mind, I am so grateful and appreciate the many volunteers and wonderful organization and subconsciously we put our hands together in Gassho to express our sincere gratitude to the gift of knowledge we have received.
In the Sonen (meditation) it is said, “Amida Buddha surrounds all men and all forms of life with Infinite Love and Compassion. Particularly does he send forth loving thoughts to those in suffering and sorrow, to those in doubt and ignorance, to those whose feet are standing close at the great change men call death, Amida Buddha sends forth oceans of Wisdom and Compassion.” Yes, the Nembutsu guidance and Amida Buddha’s great wisdom and compassionate heart are always reaching into our hearts, encouraging our precious lives with strength and serenity.
Unfortunately, many of us only look to Buddha and his spiritual guidance when we are faced with difficult times. However, Buddha’s infinite guidance and his light of wisdom and compassion are always reaching into our hearts. That infinite light is always showing us the path of the truth. We should always be looking to Buddha for his spiritual guidance, even during our simple times. In fact, Shinran Shonin expressed in his Hymns of the Pure Land Masters:
“The ocean of birth and death, of painful existence, has no bound; Only by the ship of Amida’s universal Vow Can we, who have long been drawing, Unfailingly be brought across it.”
May we all welcome the year of 2021 with A sincere mind of gratitude through Amida Buddha’s dynamic teaching of the Nembutsu.
Namu Amida Butsu