By Rev. Patti Nakai
… my Japanese college buddy Jun…took me to a Pure Land Buddhist temple in Chicago. …I asked the head monk at one point how I should understand the Pure Land pursuit of heavenly paradise and Amitabha (the deification of Buddha) when the original teachings of the Buddha seemed so different.
… Then he offered in a soft voice, “Well, my friend, how does the butterfly understand its movement from one flower to the next?” This was followed by a long silence, and I nodded my head slowly, taking in the morsel of enigmatic deep wisdom. Then my friend Jun rolled his eyes and demanded of the monk, “What the hell does that mean?”
:: p. 168 The Gods Drink Whiskey by Stephen T. Asma (San Francisco: Harper, 2005)
Continue reading “Yes, Pure Land is Buddhism”
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. Kenjun Kawawata
Traditionally, many people on February 15 observe Nirvana Day, the day when Shakyamuni Buddha passed away.
When we hear about the Buddha, we often think he was not like us, but rather someone more like a super human being. We should not forget he really was the same as you and me. He was born as a human being and he died as a human being.
Continue reading “Light to a World of Awakening”
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”