Do not seek to know Buddha by his form and attributes
For neither the form nor attributes are the real Buddha.
The true Buddha is Enlightenment itself.
Warning to parents: do not allow your children to read this article or to read it out loud to them. This article contains material that may destroy their idea of what and who Santa Claus is!!
Commercialism has turned a “jolly ol’ man in a red suit” into a mega-billion dollar enterprise. However, there can be positive aspects of this “jolly ol’ man”. He is called by many names: a couple are Saint Nick and Santa Claus. He brings smiles, laughter and joy to our children. This person can bring truce between sibling rivalry or create an improvement on their behavior. This “jolly ol’ man in the red suit” provides hope: a hope to children that they will receive all the presents asked for. This “jolly ol’ man in red” can be used as a teach-ing tool (at least for a little while).
I grew up in a household that believed in the spirit of the season. My siblings and I were born and raised in America to a Catholic father and a Buddhist mother. Yes, we always had a decorated tree and our tradition was comprised of two views of philosophy. We observed the holiday with the idea of Santa Claus, presents and the traditions of the season. Yet, my father was more Buddhist around this time. He would remain open late to feed those less fortunate and without a family. His compassion was year round, however, it was deep-ened during the holidays. He believed that no one should be alone during the holidays. He was wise and com-passionate for those who lived in a different mind frame or lifestyle and did not judge nor discriminate their choices.
It seems we Buddhists have conflicting issues with this holiday. It is supposedly a religious holiday for other religions, however, for many this holiday has lost its magic of guidance and direction. We have been raised in a culture of quick remedies of buying to solve the issues of compassion. As a Buddhist, we wish all people joy and peace. We hope for harmony in lands of war and turmoil and some still believe in the “jolly ol’ man in the red suit”. However, it is our awakening and realization in Buddha to make this holiday bright, warm and alive. It is a conscientious effort on the “I”, which sees the Truth. It is the individual who must search deep within to live year round with joy, peace and harmony.
I still love this holiday, leaving cookies out for Santa Claus and decorating the house. It seems people are nicer and kinder during this time with children being better behaved. It seems so much more peaceful. Yet my Nembutsu is stronger during this time. I ask for some sanity for the war torn countries and some type of peace to the people who suffer from this turmoil. As we gather with friends and family, let us also be thankful for everything that has been shared with us. We have all been met with a smile or kind word and we can be thankful for this little bit of compassion. For those who have lost a loved one during the year, we can be re-minded of their guidance and teachings. We share our Namu Amida Butsu with true heart and mind.
In my Nembutsu I wish all to have a safe and joyful holiday. Yet, I also wish that the search for meaning of Nembutsu continue during the rest of the year and the years to come. I wish everyone a safe and joyful, merry holiday.
Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano
6996 Ontario Rd., SLO
Resident Minister: Rev. Naomi Seijo Nakano Ph 805 595-2625
12/16 Intro to Buddhism
12/18 Basics of Jodo
12/23 Breakfast (9-11am)
12/31 New Years Eve
1/1/19 New Years Day