Showing posts with label buddhist holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label buddhist holidays. Show all posts

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The meaning of Obon (festival of the dead 14th-15th August)

When someone died very young a few years ago everybody was astonished. How could this happen? Why her? She was so young!
This is how every family reacts when a younger member dies suddenly.

Death looks like a thief entering unexpectedly with dirty boots in your room.
People are always taken by surprise. Even you, the reader of these lines, might be shocked if the doctor would tell you that you have cancer and only 3 months to live. Even me, the writer, might react in the same manner.
Why is that? Because for us death does not exist, it is something that always happens to somebody else or which is scheduled to take place some other time in the far future.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Eshinni and Kakushinni, the Mothers of Jodo Shinshu


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the memorial stone of Kakushinni
Have you ever thought to Eshinni, the wife of Shinran Shonin or to his daughter, Kakushinni? I often think to them and my feelings are those of a son to his mother.
To us, the members of Amidaji sangha, Eshinni and her daughter are the mothers of Jodo Shinshu.
They didn’t preach like Shinran, never appeared in front of the disciples,  but this doesn’t mean their contribution was small.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Final words of Shinran Shonin


Master Shinran Shonin said these words on his deathbed, before he was born in the Pure Land:

"If you alone rejoice in Nembutsu-Faith, remember that you are with someone else. If you two rejoice in Nembutsu-Faith, remember that there is still another accompanying you. I, Shinran, am that other person."

I take these words literally and I really believe that Master Shinran is always with me although my eyes have not the capacity to see him. His presence is not a symbol, but true reality.
He is now a Buddha, because everyone who is born in the Pure Land by having absolute faith in the Primal Vow, attains perfect Buddhahood. But I also believe, like so many other people believed during his life, that he was the manifestation of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva who came to this world in order to make the Dharma of Amida (Amitabha) easy to understand and accepted by all people, especially by those dull, ignorant and full of blind passions.

At the end of this year Hoonko, I pray that all beings, receive the same shinjin (faith) like Master Shinran, the precious guide of this Dharma ending age(1), so that all become Buddhas in the Pure Land.
Namo Amida Bu

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(1)The last of the Three Dharma ages – a scheme that describes the gradual decline of Buddhist teaching in the world (its is based on the prediction of Shakyamuni). During the Perfect Dharma age, which lasted five hundred years since the passing of Shakyamuni, the teaching could be rightly understood and practiced and the Enlightenment often attained. During the Dharma Semblance age, one thousand years since the passing of Shakyamuni, the practices are still performed according to the teachings but Enlightenment is rarely attained. During the Last Dharma age, which will last ten thousand years, the teaching survives but the practices are beyond the capacities of human beings because of the spreading of various defilements which mark this time. Shinran states that we are now in the Last Dharma age and that now only the Pure Land teaching remains the most accessible way to Liberation.