Namu Amida Butsu
Shakyamuni Buddha has provided guidance to countlessnumbers of people in India about 2,550 years ago. Hisgreat spiritual assessments, his light of wisdom, and hiscompassion spreads throughout the entire world, regardlessof the language, ethnicity, and country. The Buddha’s greatguidance provides us with peace and serenity in our preciouslives.
As you may know, the Buddha Shakyamuni was theprince of the Shakya clan in India. But why did princeSiddhartha (Buddha’s prince-hood name) enter priesthood?What were the reasons that made him leave hisfamily and became a truth seeker? I guess no one knowsthe fact but I assume that there were several reasons whyhe left the Castle. The following are my observations;
- He saw that the weaker ones were always becomingvictims of the stronger one.
- He lost his mother after he was born and someone toldhim about his true birth story.
- His life in the Castle was so comfortable that when hewent outside of the Castle, he discovered different typesof lives such as old age, sickness, death, destitute, andmuch more.
I believe these are facts, and most of all, they were moreof a concern to him. I am sure he thought it over before heleft the Castle, and realized that as long as he stayed in thecastle, he was not going to be able to find the right answers.
For that reason, he left the castle and became a trueseeker when he was 29 years of age. He went to see thehermit and voiced his concerns, but was not able to getthe right answers. He also did really severe practices butstill was not able to get the right answer. Through the 6years of severe and heavy practices, he became physicallyweak—only skin and bone. He realized that these difficultpractices did help him find the truth. So, he sat underthe Bodhi tree and went into a deep meditation for 7 daysand nights.
Early on morning of the eighth day, which was December8th, the truth illuminated his exalted minds and he becamea Buddha, the fully Enlightened One. Then Buddhawent to see the five monks who used to practice togetherwith him and shared his first Dharma with them. The fivemonks who heard the Buddha’s dharma were so impressedand discovered the truth in Buddha’s Dharma and becameBuddha’s disciples.
What was his first dharma? It was the "Middle way, fourNoble Truth, and Eightfold Path." Buddha describes the"Middle way" as path of moderation between the extremes ofsensual indulgence and self-mortification which is the path ofwisdom.
Shinran Shonin expresses his deepest gratitude to theShakyamuni Buddha for his great guidance in the "Hymns ofthe Pure Land" and it is said;
"Bodhisattvas of the Buddha lands in the nine othersquarters, Likewise go pay homage to Amida; ShakyamuniTathagata has taught in verse, The praise of the Buddha’simmeasurable virtues."
For us too, once we heard the Buddha Dharma as ourtrue guide, we are all able to realize how our lives are soprecious and wonderful. Even if we become sick, angry, cry,or laugh, it will be precious experiences and we are able toaccept things as it is. Once we become sick, we are able tounderstand how difficult of a condition the person is having.Like this example, all of our life’s experiences are great lessonsfor all of us to understand and share our thoughts andminds with others without own self calculations.
We are probably not able to become the enlightenedone in this present life, but through the Buddha’s great guidance,at least we are able to practice Buddha’s wonderfulteachings in our lives and live our precious lives with AmidaBuddha’s great compassion and wisdom with his pricelessgift of the Nembutsu.
May we all follow the path of the Buddha’s great teachingsand welcome the year of 2016 with joy of happinesswhile reciting of the Amida’s Holy name, Namo Amida Bustuwith the true mind of joy and happiness.