Dear members and readers, I miss you.
As you must know I am having an administrative problem with my stay in Canada. I have worried about all the families who have needed me. I place my hands together for all of you and when everything is straightened out, I will do my best to make it up to you. My professional advisor is doing all she can to solve the problem as soon as possible.
I also wish to thank you. I have received so many messages of encouragement from all of you. I would like to say how much I have appreciated the Board members who have been working so hard on fixing my situation. Also, I owe a big thank you to the other ministers and minister’s assistants for helping the Temples in Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa and Montreal. I place my hands together in gratitude from the bottom of my heart.
During my absence, I have been reading Buddhist books and other ministers’ Dharma Talks as much as possible. The time off has helped me to learn and reconfirm the teachings of the Buddha. Reading these books, I have come to understand how important it is to continue studying Buddhism throughout my life. When I was a student, my father, who is a Buddhist minister, always told me to read books about Buddhism. Back then, I disliked reading, especially anything about Buddhism. One day I asked him why I had to read so many books. He said it was because I would someday become a Shin-Buddhist minister, and that Shin-Buddhist ministers had to study hard from Shinran Shonin’s books. So I asked him when I would be finished studying. He responded with a single word. He said, “Never”.
I came to understand his message during my absence from the Temple, because I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Buddhism. I have found myself reaching for the Shin-Buddhist books without even thinking about it. In those books, I have read so much knowledge and wisdom, but I have also realized that, without life experience, these books offer only one piece of the larger puzzle that is Buddhism. Shin-Buddhism should not be just a piece of knowledge. It must be a part of our daily life.
In that sense, I have realized that I have been given a valuable opportunity to learn Buddhism every day at the Temple, just by meeting with our members. My time in the Temple has allowed me to listen to and share their experiences. Those interactions have brought meaning to the teachings that I studied from my books and in that way, connected me more closely to Buddhism.
One of my Senseis told me that to feel sadness, to get angry, to have suffering and to feel joy, everything is connected in Buddhism. Life is uncontrolled and impermanent. Whenever and wherever we are, Amida-Buddha’s compassion is always reaching us as the voice of “Namo Amida Butsu”, because the “Namo Amida Butsu” is his power to lead us to enlightenment.
While I am away from the temple, I am continuing my studies of the teachings of the Buddha and ShinranShonin. I am also continuing to study English to improve my ability to explain Buddhism in English. I really hope that I will able to talk about Buddhism with you in the Temple again very soon.
To close this message, I would like to share Reverend Kenryu Tsuji’s words:
The Nembutsu is the sound of the universe.
It is the sound of the wind as it rustles the leaves;
It is the roar of the waves as they rush toward the shore;
It is the song of the robin, the whippoorwill and the chorus of cicadas on a summer evening.
The Nembutsu is naturalness…
The first cry of the baby as it emerges into the world from the darkness of the mother’s womb;
It is the powerful cry of awakening to its dependence on something greater than self… for its sustenance.
The Nembutsu is the proclamation of the Buddha…
“Above heaven and below heaven, I alone am the World Honored One.”
It is the ultimate declaration of life;
I alone hold my destiny in my hand leading to perfect Buddhahood. When I touch the heart of reality, it is Namo Amida Butsu…
What else can I say? When I truly share someone’s happiness, it is Namo Amida Butsu;
And in that moment of deep grief over a loved one’s death, it is just Namo Amida Butsu…
It is the song of gratitude not of my finding the Buddha, but Buddha finding me.
By Rev. Kenryu Tsuji
I am really looking forward to seeing you again at the Temple.
In Gassho. Namo Amida Butsu…