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Dharma Talk – October 2022


Yui-enbo asked “Although I say the Nembutsu, I rarely experience joyful happiness nor do I have the desire to immediately go to the Pure Land. What should be done about this?” Then Shinran responded “I have been having the same question also, and now you, Yui-enbo, have the same
thought.” (abbreviate) “It is the working of blind passion which suppresses the heart that would rejoice and prevent its fullest expression.”

From Tannisho

With the start of the new school year in September, many students must be feeling DOKIDOKI. The Japanese word “DokiDoki” is an interesting word that expresses a beating heart.

Sometimes it expresses a sense of excitement, and sometimes it expresses a sense of anxiety. On the other hand,thereisalso”DokiDoki,”whichexpressesloveforthe other person. I think we may use the word “DokiDoki” when we feel our hearts pounding with a mixture of various emotions and feelings.

Last month, I had two DokiDoki experiences. One was Kyoshi qualification, I attended as an instructor in California. The other was a Buddhist wedding ceremony, I attended as an officiating minister in Calgary.

Today, I would like to write about the Amida Buddha’s activities through my experience in Kyoshi qualification.

Kyoshi is one of the certifications that Jodo Shinshu Buddhist ministers obtain after Tokudo ordination. With Kyoshi certification, they are considered as a minister who can run a temple in Japan.

Kyoshi candidates have been attending their own temples for many years as Tokudo ministers. However, during the Kyoshi qualification period, they spent about 10 days at the temple as students, waking up before 5:30 a.m. and going to bed at 11:00 p.m. in order to learn the Jodo Shinshu teachings and rituals.

minutes, with few breaks, and about 18 hours a day were spent on Kyoshi certification.

While attending the training, I remembered that I was also one of the Kyoshi candidates around 9 years ago.

Therefore, I also attended other senseis’ lectures with the candidates, sitting in the back of the classroom. All of the lectures were very interesting, including how to make Dharma talks, study Shinshu doctrines, and how to approach modern society as a Kyoshi minister.

At that time, I heard a very interesting story from Kyoshi candidates, and I would like to share some of it with you.

Kyoshi candidates are those who have already received Tokudo ordination. The instructor asked them some questions based on that.

He asked them, “Is there anything you have learned and have you changed since receiving Tokudo?” One of the candidates said, “After receiving Tokudo, I thought I was abletohelpthetemplemore,butIrealizedthatIwasgetting a lot of help from the people around me.”

When I heard that I was moved, and I was so happy to hear that because the candidate was from Canada.

realization is very important for a minister. For example, if we have Tokudo or Kyoshi certifications, we can enter the Naijin to chant sutras, and stand at a podium to speak about the Dharma. Then we tend to think that we have become an important person. But this is a big mistake.

Speaking from my experience, I see offering flowers and Obuppan (offering-rice) when I am chanting sutra in the Naijin.

Fortunately, at the Toronto Buddhist Church, the members volunteer to arrange flowers every Friday, and offer Obuppan every Sunday. Since these offerings are made every week, we tend to take them for granted. However, these are things that the members have prepared out of respect for the Buddha beyond my sight.

If I take such gratitude as a matter of course, it’s because my eyes are filled with Bonno (blind passion).

Fortunately, no one who arranges the flowers or offers the rice, asks for a fee fro the temple.

I believe this is because they are willing to make offerings out of deep gratitude to the Buddha. I can imagine they are DokiDoki when they make offerings in the Naijin.

When I attended other classes in California, I learned that Buddhist ministers sometimes say that we “provide” Dharma talk, but to whom are the ministers providing it? It is to themselves.

Whose ear is closest to the Dharma talk that comes out of my mouth? In other words, who is the closest listener to the Dharma talk…? It is I myself.

This is why I also feel DokiDoki when I talk about the Dharma. Sometimes I feel anxious about whether people will understand my Dharma talks, and at the same time, I feel DokiDoki with joy because it is the closest, I can get to hearing the Buddha-Dharma.

That Buddha-Dharma, we are hearing, is the great compassion of Amida Buddha that accepts us just as we are

The time of Kyoshi qualification is very hard for the candidates because there is lots of rigorous/hard studying and training.

However, they didn’t do that to earn good karma. It was also a period for me to reflect on myself, through the teachings of the Buddha, as a foolish person who has a blind passion.

When I realized that again how I was filled with bonno, I felt gratitude for Amida Buddha’s activities and the great compassion that calls me to be reborn to the Pure Land with Nembutsu.

I would like to read the rest of the Tannisho, which I read first in today’s Dharma Talk.

Shinran said to Yuienbo It is the working of blind passion which suppresses the heart that would rejoice and prevent its fullest expression. All this the Buddha already knew and called us foolish beings filled with blind passion. Thus, when we realize that the compassionate Vow of Other Power is for beings like ourselves, the Vow becomes even more reliable and dependable.

From Tannisho