Namu Amida Butsu
LET US WELCOME THE NEW YEAR WITH A MIND OF joy and gratitude. May we all express and recite the Nembutsu, Namo Amida Butsu, with a sincere feeling of warmth, joy, and happiness. And, may we live our lives with Amida’s infinite wisdom and compassion.
The year 2019 has passed. However, we do have many memories of the year. Life is great and very precious.
At the beginning of the year, I always remember this one Nembutsu follower whom I have received sincere and warm feelings of wisdom and compassion.
I met this one Nembutsu follower at Pearl City Hongwanji in 1998, and she taught me to think how wonderful our life is.
This lady really loves attending temple services. At the temple, she was always smiling and expressed her warmth joy and happiness to others. She always said the following: "My joy of happiness is attending temple services on Sunday with my daughter-in-law." She always sat in the front row and it seemed to me that she truly enjoyed the Sunday morning services. I would always see her singing the gatha, chanting the sutra, listening to the dharma, and always reciting the Nembutsu. However, her daughter-in-law told me that her hearing was less than 20 percent compared to the average person. She doesn’t like to use her hearing aids, so she was not able to hear most of the conversations. However, what I discovered from her is her warm feeling of joy that came from her entire body. She told me, "Sensei, I cannot hear well but I love to come to church services because even if I am not able to hear well, I always feel that my pores, my nose, my mouth, and entire body are receiving the Dharma from our temple and through your messages." Her smile was contagious and I could feel the joy and happiness that she felt from attending the temple services and receiving Amida Buddha’s great wisdom and compassion.
One day, her daughter-in-law came up to me and said, "Sensei, since she started having difficulty hearing, she wanted to come to temple services more often. It seemed to me she really enjoyed being here at the temple with other members. The only thing that I don’t like is that she wakes me up early in the morning on Sunday. But, because of her, I am able to attend temple services almost every Sunday. So, I am not a “shadow” member anymore. I am also enjoying your dharma messages and services and our temple activities. Some BWA members were asking me to join BWA, too." Both of them expressed their sincere joy with their warm smiles.
Shinran Shonin expressed his true and joyful feelings in the book called, "Notes on Once-Calling and Many-Calling", located in the Collected Works of Shinran on page 47.
He wrote, "Hear the Name is to hear the Name that embodies the Primal Vow. Hear means to hear the Primal Vow and be free of doubt. Further, it indicates shinjin. Realize even one thought-moment of shinjin and joy; shinjin is hearing the Vow of the Tathagata and being free of doubt." (Shinjin means entrusting faith)
The temple is a place where we will receive the feeling of peace and serenity. The temple is a place where we will start the week with the great mind of joy and happiness. The temple is a place where we will receive Amida Buddha’s infinite wisdom and compassion.
In the year 2020, may we all attend our temple services and rejoice in the great happiness and joy through Amida Buddha’s infinite light, life, wisdom and compassion.
May we all be embraced by the Namo Amida Butsu. Again, Happy New Year