We are in the fourth year of our five-year theme: “Building Healthy Sanghas” with our slogan for 2023 being “Sharing Joy Together.
2020: Building Healthy Sanghas: Embracing Generosity and Openness
2021: Building Healthy Sanghas: Nurturing Empathy and Respect
2022: Building Healthy Sanghas: Connecting with Others
2023: Building Healthy Sanghas: Sharing Joy Together
2024: Building Healthy Sanghas: Sharing Nembutsu Moments
According to the Dhammapada, “To live a single day and hear a good teaching is better than to live a hundred years without knowing such a teaching.” strikes a deep chord when I read His Eminence Kojun Ohtani’s Gratitude for the Jodo Shinshu Teaching,
“Namo Amida Butsu.
‘Entrust yourself to me. I will liberate you just as you are.’
This is the calling voice of Amida.
My blind passions are embraced in the Buddha’s awakening,
So the Buddha calls to me ‘I will liberate you just as you are.’
Gratefully responding to the Buddha’s call, I find that I am already on the path that leads to the Pure Land.
And the Nembutsu flows freely from my thankful heart.
Living with the Dharma as my guide
Softens my rigid heart and mind.
Gratitude for the gift of life I have received
Frees me from becoming lost in greed and anger,
And allows me to share a warm smile and speak gentle words.
Sharing in the joy and sadness of others, I shall strive to live each day to its fullest”.
The deep joy that I experience of being accepted as I am and forever embraced by Amida Buddha’s all-inclusive Wisdom and all-embracing Compassion sustains me through thick and thin and, naturally, there arises the wish that others too, can come to know and experience this joy and happiness. I nod in acknowledgment of the saying “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
More than ever, let us continue to live the Nembutsu by responding in gratitude to Amida Buddha by “Sharing (the) Joy (of Namo Amida Butsu) Together” by talking about Amida Buddha to others and reciting Namo Amida Butsu making manifest the saying “As the light of a small candle will spread from one to another in succession, so the light of Buddha’s compassion will pass on from one mind to another endlessly.”
Buddhist Study Center Interim Director
Office of Buddhist Education and the HHMH Commission on Buddhist Education