“The world is a reflection of one’s own mind”
Words of Shakyamuni Buddha
San Luis Obispo Buddhist Temple
6996 Ontario Rd., San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Resident Minister: Rev. Naomi Seijo Nakano
It looks as if Spring has arrived! The signs are there. Sitting on the front porch I can see the wisteria blooming, the birch tree has begun to grow new leaves and the narcissuses are flowering. The magnolia tree on the hillside and side yard is absolutely gorgeous. The flowers are huge but sadly they will only last for a short time.
It does feel like a renewal of nature, however the conditions of winter and disease have taken a toll on some of the trees and now we must take care of the problem. We have been cutting down several trees. If we do not take care of it now, and there is a fire in the area, they would surely burn and put the temple in jeopardy. As you know, we can get big gusts of wind and it can uproot the trees, which can cause more problems. These trees are large and old and country living can be most difficult. If we think about it, trees also face this principle called impermanence.
But there is happy news, for we have new growth around us. The seeds produced by the old trees have taken root and new growths are seen. Even nature has offsprings. When flowers and trees die, it is automatically thought that they are gone forever. However their seeds are carried to other places by wind, birds and bees and they lie dormant until the right conditions. This is the same for Amida Buddha’s compassion and wisdom.
With the right conditions, we too can grow into truly hearing. Although Amida Buddha is formless, Amida’s light and life continuously surrounds us everyday. We are so fortunate, for time has not erased any of the teachings or our entrusting. We can still hear the Buddha Dharma with every whisper or recitation of Nembutsu.
We “take refuge” in the teachings and we try to look within our selves to see where we can be kinder and gentler to those who are weaker than ourselves. We try to protect those who cannot, by teaching the younger generations that words can hurt and our actions affect family, friends and ourselves.
It seems there is so much to do and learn yet, so little time. We have things to do, places to go, people to see, jobs and careers, family to rear and the list goes on and on. Can we ever stop this cycle of birth-and-death? There are many questions and the seeking of answers, who and where do we go to ask?
We seek peace and happiness through the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Life is a tug of war. On the opposite end of the rope, someone or something is always pulling us. Yet on our side is Amida Buddha who is with us, guiding and directing. It is our Nembutsu that Amida Buddha hears and without hesitation Amida Buddha responds. We never have to travel far, for Amida Buddha is always with us. We are never alone for Amida Buddha’s light and life is in our hearts and minds.
As we ready for the renewed nature to come forth, we await with Namu Amida Butsu. We will continue to have problems and we will eventually find some solutions. We will always live in this ocean of birth and death, however we can try to learn from it. When we find ourselves lost, we have Amida Buddha’s Promise to help lead us back on the path. We are very lucky to have access to the teachings and Nembutsu. We only have to awaken in our selves the renewal of hearing and entrusting.
Have good Spring days and continue to deepen hearing of the truths that will grow into wild flowers and joy.
Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano
Southern District Temples