At the Edge of Sorrow

Reiko Ikehara Nelson first encountered the Shinshu teachings when her father passed away more than two decades ago, but it wasn’t until much later that they made any sense.

At his funeral, she heard a reading of “White Ashes,” a letter written 600 years ago by Honganji abbot Rennyo Shonin that is traditionally read at funeral services. Rennyo wrote about impermanence, how a person may have a healthy face in the morning, but suddenly may die and become “white ashes” (cremated) in the evening. The service was held at the Los Angeles Higashi Honganji Betsuin temple.

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