Namu Amida Butsu

Observing Eitaikyo Service

During the month of November, many Hongwanji temples in Hawaii observe their annual special memorial service called "Eitaikyo." This service is sometimes called Sangha Memorial Service. The meaning of "Eitai-Kyo" is translated as "Eternal Generation Sutra."

When you look at our temple’s altar, you will notice that there are four long scrolls on the wall by the Altar and see many Buddhist names written on it. Families contributed to the Eitaikyo Fund in memory of their loved ones and our temple uses this special fund for repairing temple altar, replacing temple ornaments, and so forth. So, this fund may only be used to spread the Buddha Dharma to the temple members as well as community Ohana for the Buddha's spiritual assessments in our daily lives.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we learned that many countries are working on finding a vaccine. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the leaders and scientists for their selfless efforts to making this special vaccine for all of us. I truly hope that these particular vaccines would be available to everyone soon.

Looking back at the last seven months, we have all learned many important things. What have we learned? We learned that we really care for each other. We learned and created different ways to reach out to others. We learned to use technology to communicate with each other.

When the temple stopped having Sunday Services, I had to learn how to create a Facebook and YouTube channel. It was one of the greatest challenges, but the most rewarding. I learned the importance of following instructions. Sometimes, it did not work like the instructions said and I had to do it over again. Even if I was successful in recording one service, as a foolish being, Shinkai Murakami forgot how to do it one week later, so I had to open the YouTube site and check "How to record, download, and upload the file step by step" again. During one recording, someone called me, and I had to stop. I had to do it all over again from the beginning. However, with our temple members support (Danny Topp and Donavan Ikeuchi), I was able to learn how to create the program, avoiding phone calls during recording, and being able to share our Sunday morning services on Facebook and YouTube channel for the past three months.

Our temple members were able to learn the technology, too! In May, I received a phone call from one of our temple members who said, "Sensei, I heard that I can see your Sunday morning services through the computer so, I spoke to my grandchildren about this matter. One of my grandchildren brought his computer to my house and showed me one of the Sunday morning services. Wow, you are on television and I saw you chanting sutra, singing gatha and sharing your Dharma message! It was just like regular Sunday morning services. I am so grateful. Thank you, Sensei for your wonderful services."

Another member, who is over 80 years old, but very active in our temple, had her cell phone and wanted to learn how to view our Sunday morning services through YouTube. She had a difficult time learning how to operate her cell phone, but she learned how to log on to YouTube from another member, but could not remember how to do it again. So, she was like me, struggling many times, but she eventually learned how to log on. Now, she is able to operate her cell phone smoothly and is able to view our temple's Sunday Morning services through Facebook and YouTube. Through COVID-19, many people learned new technology and discovered new things in their lives.

We have five senses. We have two eyes which we can see things; a nose that we can receive fragrance; two ears that can hear many wonderful things; a mouth that we can talk and taste things; a body including our hands, fingers, and feet that we can feel and create something; and our heart that can think and express our sincere minds. These five senses are always making our precious lives so meaningful.

Homages said, "Hard it is to be born into human life, now we are living in it. Difficult it is to hear the Teachings of the Blessed One, now we hear them." Through our ears, we are able to hear the Buddha's spiritual guidance which is always giving us infinite wisdom and compassionate heart in our daily lives and showing us the path of the truth.

One Japanese word our great Nembutsu pioneers always used, was the wonderful and appreciable word "Okage sama de." The direct translation is "because I stay under the shade, I am so comfortable." This particular word expressed people's sincere mind of gratitude and appreciation. So, even if we encounter difficult situations, we take this as a positive way in our lives.

The Nembutsu, Namo Amida Butsu is always shining upon us and guiding us towards the path of the truth. Observing Eitaikyo service is a great opportunity for all of us to meet the Buddha's great guidance through the teaching of the Nembutsu and it is a wonderful opportunity for us to share this spiritual assessment to our children and grandchildren. Yes, the Nembutsu teaching is opening our eyes; the eyes of our inner heart and to be able to express our sincere gratitude to the people who made this gift to us which we are meeting Buddha's great guidance.

We are still struggling with COVID-19. I don't know when this difficult situation will end, but we live with the Buddha's truth and great guidance of the Nembutsu. We may be able to discover more positive things in our lives and be able to live our lives with strength and serenity.

Through the great opportunity of the Eitaikyo services, we are able to share many important values which we all inherited from our loved ones and the Nembutsu followers and live our precious lives with positive thinking and courage in our lives. Jodo Shinshu is not believed to have any magic or prayer. Instead we live our lives with a true mind of gratitude to Amida Buddha's infinite wisdom and compassion.

Namu Amida Butsu