Namu Amida Butsu
During the month of November, we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States. This is a wonderful time for us to gather with our family members and friends and express our sincere gratitude and appreciation, not only for the food but we reflect on our precious lives and everything we received today as we transmit our values to the next generation.
Being a minister, especially during holiday seasons, I am asked to bless the food at family gatherings. Sometimes, I go to three houses on Thanksgiving Day. It is really nice to meet many family members and friends at these gatherings and share my thanksgiving with true gratitude. I don’t make long invocations but I make sure I express my true feeling of gratitude for the condition, values, and joy which we have through these gatherings.
In Hawaii, most Jodo Shinshu temples observe the annual Eitaikyo Service. We sometime call this Eitaikyo Service as "Sangha Memorial Service" that pays respect to our temple members and family who have passed on before us.
However, the true meaning of holding the Eitaikyo Service is for us to inherit the Dharma, the teaching of Buddha in our daily lives and live our lives with the great guidance of the Buddha Dharma and pass it on from generation to generation.
I always appreciate the wonderful relationship that is held between the minister and each member. I personally feel that the minister is always nurtured by the temple members’ great wisdom and compassion.
As far as I am concerned, the Wailuku Hongwanji temple is one of busiest temples in the State of Hawaii. This temple sponsors many activities, meetings, and special occasions. The members are always calling me to check up on me if I was coughing at the services, share the fresh vegetables and fruits harvested from their garden, asking me to help with naming their grandchildren’s Japanese names and Kanji characters, having blessings for their new born babies, going to high school games, and so on.
Through these wonderful relationships, we are able to create the feeling of trust and support and create a wonderful friendship. I firmly feel that these kinds of friendship are truly treasured and is a great value in my life. These values, we are not able to see through our eyes but if one received these kindnesses, sincere words, great friendship and support, people will never forget it. It will remain in our hearts and minds.
Several years ago our Hongwanji’s slogan said "Nurture today, Hongwanji’s Tomorrow." I think this is a great slogan and we are all able to share our values, gratitude, and sincere heart to next generations through the experiences and the great guidance of the life of Nembutsu.
Anrakushu — The passage on the Land of Happiness states as followes; "Those who have been born first guide those who come later, and those who are born later join those who were born before." I interpret this as followes; "Those who have been born first guide those who come later, and those who are born later follow the great guidance, joy, and happiness."
When we participate in this Eitaikyo service and listen to the Buddha Dharma, we may not realize it, but the Nembutsu flows out from our mouth. Yes, observing the Eitaikyo service and listening to the Buddha Dharma reminds each one of us that through this special service, we are all able to feel the warm feeling of gratitude in our hearts. I firmly believe that we are realizing Buddha’s infinite wisdom and compassion as we embrace all Nembutsu followers in our daily lives.
Namo Amida Butsu, Namo Amida Butsu, Namo Namo Amida Butsu, Namo Amida Butsu, Namo
Namo Amida Butsu, Namo Amida Butsu, Namo Amida Butsu