SLO BUDDHIST TEMPLE
Rennyo Shonin (Goichidai Kikigaki)
As one knows, every day is not always rosy or calm. In fact, there are times when we just want to run away or pull out our hair by its roots. My first response is to rush to the temple. There I can sit in the dimly lit hondo while focusing on the onaijin (shrine). I find tranquility and peace there. There is no sound of cars, traffic or alarms beeping. There is only a true feeling of quiet, calm and warmth.
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The essential teaching of the Buddha Dharma is non-ego.
There should be no egoistic attachment to “I”.
But no one believes that he or she is attached to ego…
Rennyo thus urged us to entrust ourselves to Other
Power wherein no ego-self exists.
At the temple, it is Namu Amida Butsu that comes so easily to mind and helps me to|settle the thoughts and smooth the uncertainties. When I see the scroll with the six Japanese characters (myogo), it is a reminder of the teachings and also my gratitude and thankfulness that I can hear the words of the Buddha. It is rejuvenating to the heart and mind.
While quietly seated and looking at the scroll, my peripheral vision catches the bright color of gold. It radiates the rays of light that reminds me of the words of the Dharma. However, my troubles slip through this peace. I question myself not why, but how did I bring these troubles on myself. I ask myself if it was my greed, anger, ignorance, laziness, impatience or my ego that is causing so much indecision and pain.
As time passes and calm returns. my mind slips to the Contemplation Sutra from the book, The Three Pure Land Sutras. The complete title is “The Sutra of Visualization of the Buddha of Infinite Life”. It is a teaching of entrusting, awakening and realization. It is not a story or tale, but an awakening or realization of Other Power that is beyond our limited thinking. This Other Power is the Buddha and the teachings.
It is said there was a King Bimbisara and Queen Vaidehi who believed in a seer or sage who told them that their unborn son will try to kill them as the son matured and gained more power. Due to belief or superstition, the King and Queen dropped their child from the castle. It is said by some that Prince Ajasatru suffered only a scratch or a broken little finger.
Instigated by a wicked friend Devadatta, the Prince seized the King and imprisoned him within a room whose walls were seven deep. The Prince forbade any visitations from court officials and left his father without nourishment or drink. The devoted Queen would smear her body with ghee (a form of butter), honey and wheat flour and offer this nourishment to her husband. She filled her ornaments with grape juice and secretly fed her husband. Finishing this nourishment, the King would put his palms together in reverence worshipping the World-Honored One (Shakyamuni Buddha) from afar.
The King asked the Buddha to send the bodhisattva to teach him the eight precepts (eight abstinences). This disciple, along with another disciple who was known for preaching the Dharma, came on a daily basis. Each day, the Prince would ask the guard, “Is my father still alive?” The response was always the same. The guard replied that the Queen was supplying the King with nutrients and drink and the Buddha’s disciples came. It was impossible to stop them. Hearing this, Ajasatru flew into a rage of anger. He accused his mother of being an accomplice to the enemy; therefore she was also an enemy. Ajasatru drew his sword and intended to kill his mother. But a wise and intelligent minister and the King’s nephew stopped him. To Be Continued Next Month.
Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano
1. Inagaki, Hisao and Stewart, Harold. The Three Pure Land Sutras, Nagata Bunsho, Kyoto, Japan, 1995.
2. Precepts that a lay Buddhist should observe 1) not killing living beings, 2) not stealing, 3) not having sexual intercourse, 4) not telling lies, 5) not drinking intoxicants, 6) not wearing body decorations, perfumes, no singing or dancing and not going to dances or plays, 7) not sleeping in a raised bed, and 8) not eating after noon.
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