Namu Amida Butsu

DANA IS A WELL-KNOWN BUDDHIST WORD AND is an important part of our practice. The meaning of Dana is selfless giving without worrying about getting something in return. Without knowing it, all of us are offering or sharing many types of "Dana" in our daily lives.

What do we do? We offer kind words, kind actions, sincere care, sharing with others, and so on. Why? Because our lives are interdependent and through Dana, we are making our precious lives more meaningful. Even if we feel, "I am sharing and offering a lot to others," this concept is not true all of the time. Many times we are receiving more than what we are giving.

When we learn about the Buddha Dharma, we are able to change our point of view and understanding; we are able to see things equally, make fair judgments and gain the wisdom and compassion in our lives without using any favoritism.

I would like to share with you an interesting story. There were two young men climbing a tall mountain. Both were provided with enough water to fill their thermos. While climbing the mountain, both drank all of their water. When they reached the summit, they were so thirsty. Both of them tried inhaling fresh air to keep themselves from thinking about their thirst. But, it was difficult.

Then, both of them saw an old man sitting on a rock, looking so poor and dirty, drinking from a jug of water. So, the young men immediately approached the old man and politely asked him to share some of his water with them. The old man kindly accepted their request and picked up two old cups from the ground and filled the two cups half-full.

One young man enjoyed the water by saying "Thank you very much sir, this really saved me. I am so appreciative of this water. The water is so tasty! Thank you!" However, the other young man said firmly, "Why only half a cup, you have more water. This is not enough, I am so thirsty. And look, my cup is so dirty! I see lots of rubbish in the water!" "Butsu, butsu, butsu." He kept complaining and didn’t show any gratitude and appreciation to the old man.

These two young men were provided with the same conditions, yet, one enjoyed the water while the other could not be satisfied with what he received. One man was full of gratitude and one man was preoccupied with complaints. I believe you can see the results.

Let us put ourselves in a similar situation. Which one will you be? If you always feel deficient in your life and engage yourselves in satisfying these desires, it may create the feelings of dissatisfaction, anger, and grievances. The important thing is for us to have a feeling of satisfaction and gratitude in whatever we have or whatever we receive.

Life is unique to every individual. Some people are famous and rich, while others are not. Some have high social status; while others may never reach that status, even though an extra effort was made. However, it is not necessary to compare yourself with others. You will be far better off rejoicing in what you have than grieving over what you do not have.

Life with gratitude and appreciation makes living joyful and satisfied. Many people naturally gather around a person with a happy smile that arises from their sense of gratitude.

Our temple and our organization must be the place that provides everyone who is seeking spiritual joy and the teaching of the Buddha Dharma, a place of peace and serenity. It should be a place where their hopes and joys are met by interacting with others. In fact, it should be the entire temple membership, along with its resident minister, who provides a welcoming spirit.

As you may know, we have a wonderful and large number of friends who attend our temple services; let us share our happiness with others and enjoy our precious lives with the true mind of "Gratitude and Okagesamade."

Amida Buddha is always sending us his infinite wisdom and compassion into our heart and mind so our evil mind will vanish and we will be able to offer and share our sincere hearts and minds with our Ohana.

Amida Buddha is always watching over each of us and rejoicing in our happiness. When the great words of "Namo Amida Butsu" flows out from our mouth that means, Amida Buddha is already together with each one of us and we all are living in the great wisdom and compassion of Amida Buddha. Having the true mind of gratitude is teaching every one of us that makes our precious lives happy and meaningful.

Namo Amida Butsu