Namu Amida Butsu

Wow, it is the end of 2019. Time passes by so quickly. (Actually, time travels at the same speed but when we become old, we feel that time flies by so quickly).

Since I read a lot, I must have my reading glasses with me. Otherwise, I cannot read the newspapers, books, or my mail. I can tell that my vision is getting weaker, and I need to update my glasses. When I went to the optometrist for my yearly exam, I could not read the small letters; I was able to read them last year. So the doctor said, "Well, reverend, your vision is a bit weaker this year so you will need to update your glasses." So today, I have eight reading glasses. Two in my office, one in the car, one in the bedroom, one at the temple, one at the Japanese School classroom, and two are at my computer desk in the house. Two were prescribed by the doctor and are bifocals and other 6 are reading glasses.

When I was growing up, I never thought that I would need glasses for reading. I always felt that "If you are using glasses for reading, you must be old!" Now that I am using them, I am truly an old person.

Buddha said that "Everything is changing and everything is impermanent." However, we (maybe only me) may not pay attention to this very important fact.

According to legend or history, when Prince Siddhartha became the Enlightened One on December 8, his first Dharma message was the Four Noble Truths to the people who practiced with him. They were:

1. Truth of Suffering — the reality is that life is full of suffering. 2. Cause of Suffering — the reality is that the cause of suffering is evil passion. 3. Extinction of Suffering — the reality is that Nirvana is the state where all sufferings are extinguished. 4. Truth Regarding the Path of Nirvana — the reality is that the eightfold holy path leads to Nirvana.

Maybe his followers understood what the Buddha said to them on the first and second Noble Truths or maybe the first three Noble Truths were true. However, some of them may not consider the fourth Noble Truth because even if they practice the other truths, they had never thought about the solution. They relied on their own practices to reach or achieve their final stage of being an Enlightened One.

I was like his followers when I was young. I never thought that I would need glasses to read a book, newspaper, or other documents. I was truly relying on myself. I can do it! I can see everything. However, without glasses, I cannot read well; I cannot do heavy work like I did when I was young.

So, I realize that things are changing—I am not as strong; I am less capable--impermanent. If we are able to understand that our lives are constantly changing and interdependent not only as human beings but all other creatures and things which surrounds us are making our lives more meaningful and wonderful.

The month of December is truly a busy time for all of us; however, if we can take a moment to reflect and think about our daily lives the past 11 months, we might be able to realize that many things that we encountered are truly making our lives a wonderful one.

By reflecting on the past, we will be more proficient in moving forward to a new day. Whenever we recall the happy experiences, we will smile and feel very good and appreciate what we have. On the other hand, when we recall sad and bitter experiences, we might have tears and sad feelings through those memories. Even though it may be difficult to erase these negative happenings in our lives, we will be able to overcome them in time through kindness which we receive from others.

If we are able to realize Amida Buddha’s boundless wisdom and compassion which reaches our hearts and shows us the path of the truth, we might be able to overcome difficult situations and be able to accept things as it is and live our lives in a more positive way. Why? Through Amida Buddha’s infinite wisdom and compassion, we are all able to realize that we are embraced by him and are able to see the path of the truth.

Even though December is a very busy month, we should take the time to listen to the Buddha Dharma; you will be able to see different ways of accepting things in our lives.

Through the listening of the Buddha Dharma it is truly the perfect eyeglasses for all of us to be able to see the truth in our precious lives and maybe the words we say like "Busy, busy" become "Arigatai, Arigatai" which is "I truly appreciate what I have."

Wailuku Hongwanji Mission will hold its Bodhi Day service at the Kepaniwai Park on December 8, at 8:30 a.m. Remember that other Sunday morning services are at 8:00 a.m. We will observe our annual New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day service on December 31, at 11:15 p.m. See you at the temple and listen to the Buddha Dharma together as our true guide.

Namu Amida Butsu