2018 SIGNIFICANT EVENTS
SLO BUDDHIST TEMPLE
Resident Minister: Rev. Naomi Seijo Nakano
Aug. 19: Intro to Buddhism (10am)
26: NO SERVICE
Sept. 23: Ohigan Service (11am)
Nov. 11: Eitaikyo Service (11am)
Right Mindfulness: To cherish a good mind, for all that we think
and do has its roots in the mind.
Right Meditation: To study the teachings of the Buddha and to
practice them to the best of our abilities.
A common question that is often asked is, Do we have meditation? My answer is yes and no. In Jodo Shinshu, we do not have the formal sense of the word. Many people are expecting to sit on their legs (zazen) with their feet tucked under or having a mantra to focus on. If one thinks about this method, it cannot be too healthy for our bodies. We cut off the circulation of the legs and they get numb. When you try to stand up, the legs buckle and you can tumble over. That does not sound all that great.
However, in Jodo Shinshu we have many forms of meditation. It is in our hearing, chanting and recitation of the sutras and our Namu Amida Butsu. This sounds very simplistic, yet it is the most difficult. It takes our total being to be present. Many come to church searching and their thoughts are scattered here and there. However, it is the first ringing of the bell that calls our focus to what is happening at that moment. It is a time to settle our being and to focus our ears on the echoing sound of the dharma.
Meditation can be found in everything we do. As I write this article, my thoughts are on the message and I hear only the thoughts in my mind. When we listen to nature outside, we hear the birds chirping, a car driving by or a dog barking. We do not ignore these sounds but use them to deepen our focus to what is around us all the time. We can meditate when we are doing chores. We can use this time to think which helps the task at hand go by faster.
Chanting is another form of meditation or what I like to call mindfulness. We focus on the sounds of the words and we hear the same sounds from others surrounding us. It is the same for our Namu Amida Butsu. Individually recited yet, when brought together with others, it is only the sound of oneness. Our recitation can relax us and it can ready our ears to hearing the Buddha Dharma. There are countless ways that we can be mindful. It is how we perceive what meditation means to the individual.
When we are in that moment, whether creating, chanting or reciting, we are attuned to what and who we truly are. There is no ego involved unless we are showing off. We are alone in our bodies and minds; we are truly who we are. However, it does not last long for we come back and the ego starts over again. There are times when we would like to forget what others see of us and know what is truly inside.
The recitation of Namu Amida Butsu is our form of mindfulness. It is in these words that we share gratitude and thankfulness for the time and for allowing us to be. We are imperfect beings yet we are always shown Buddhas compassion and wisdom. We can sit and be mindful, however, there is much more to learn by hearing and participating in our surrounding. Besides, our legs will not get numb, buckle and make us fall.
Gassho, Rev. Naomi Seijo Nakano
6996 Ontario Rd., SLO
~Excerpts from the Eightfold Path of Happiness