By Rev. Koen Kikuchi
What is appreciation? What is the meaning of gratitude? How do we show our thanks?
In English, we usually say “thank you” and “I appreciate you” to show our gratitude to someone. On the other hand in Japanese, we say “arigato.” But there are other ways of saying “thank you,” for example, “gomen nasai” (literally “I’m sorry”) and “sumimasen” (literally, “excuse me”).
If I want to make my way through a crowd of people, I say “excuse me.” If I drop something and somebody picks it up for me, I say “thank you.” If I water plants and flowers, and I accidentally spray water on somebody, I say “I’m sorry.” However, in Japanese the word “sumimasen” applies to all these situations. “Sumimasen” express both appreciation and apology. Also, the word implies an attitude of humbleness—putting aside one’s ego and showing respect to others.
Continue reading “Humble Appreciation”
By Rev. Paul Imahara
I have been told many times that people don’t understand the meaning of Nenbutsu (reciting the words “Namu Amida Butsu”). Do I truly understand it myself? Not really, so I keep searching for Nenbutsu’s ultimate meaning.
Continue reading “Nenbutsu and Comfort”
By Rev. Patti Nakai
In the face of the suffering of others, whether in large groups of people or as individuals, how do we as Shin Buddhists respond?
Describing relief efforts in eastern Japan devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Otani University president Prof. Yasushi Kigoshi gave two poignant presentations related to his personal involvement. The discussion took place at a March 10, 2018 seminar for Dharma Seeds (lay leaders from the North America district temples) held at the Los Angeles Higashi Honganji Betsuin temple.
Continue reading “Shin Buddhist Responses to Suffering”
By Rev. Ken Yamada
Buddhism often is viewed as a solitary path focused on one’s own spiritual enlightenment, rather than as a means for social change. That’s wrong.
Buddhism always has encouraged people to help others, starting with the Buddha, who famously helped the sick and offered food to the hungry. Jodo Shinshu has a unique history in its relationship with people suffering from leprosy, a debilitating skin disease that results in the loss of limbs and body parts.
So-called lepers suffered not only physically, but also socially, as they were confined against their will, isolated and discriminated against. The modern term for this skin condition is Hansen’s disease.
Continue reading “Buddhism and Social Discrimination”
By Rinban Noriaki Ito
Her life was vibrant, bright, sassy, and devoted to helping others. What people didn’t see was the unspeakable horror of war that shaped her life.
Los Angeles Higashi Honganji temple member Florence Shioko Yamada passed away last December, a week before her 88th birthday. Four months earlier, her son and only child Ken passed away.
Florence was born and raised in Los Angeles until age 11, when she and her younger brother were sent to Japan for schooling in Hiroshima, where she lived with her maternal grandparents. World War II began and suddenly Japan and the United States were at war. At the war’s end, on August 6, 1945, Florence’s life changed forever.
Continue reading “Suffering to Compassion”
Nobuko Miyoshi has lived in the United States for 14 years. After serving as a minister at Los Angeles Higashi Honganji Betsuin temple, she became the resident minister of West Covina Higashi Honganji temple, which is about 45 kilometers east of Los Angeles.
The West Covina temple does not have its own building, rather it operates out of a community center, called East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center. It’s an active temple where a small number of people from diverse backgrounds come together to hear the Jodo Shinshu teachings.
Continue reading “Power of Sangha”