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May, the Month of Budding

When I finished eating the apple and was about to throw away the core, I realized something important. Although we don’t eat the core when we bite an apple, these seeds, though very tiny, have the power within them to mature into a tree. This is hard to believe, but we know it is true, don’t we? 

But, you see, the seed itself does not grow by itself. For the seed to grow and sprout, for the tree to grow and eventually bear apples, other conditions are necessary. Not only the natural elements of soil, water, sun, wind, and pollen-carrying insects are required, but also the time and effort that humans put into caring for the trees to bring forth apples. It is said that it takes four to five years for a sprout to become a tree and bear fruit, and it can continue to harvest fruit for more than 10 years if it is well cared for.

In the meantime, if you mistreat the tree for even one year, it will take several years to get back to normal. The yearly accumulation of cultivation is important for apple cultivation. The apples we are receiving are not only the product of nature, but also the invisible hard work and time of all the people involved in the production of these apples.

Unfortunately, deep within our lives, we have been stuck on the transmigration of suffering by our defiled thoughts, and we do not have the seeds to bloom the Buddha's life within ourselves at all. 

However, in Jodo Shinshu, I simply am amazed at the wonder of hearing that I, who originally had nothing to do with the life of Buddha, am bestowed the life of Buddha by Amida Buddha’s Wisdom and Compassion. Deep within the depths of our lives, Amida’s strong readiness to make us a Buddha has become a seed, always embracing us as we are even if we have such a shameful side within us so that we can eventually be a Buddha ourselves. However, since Amida's enlightenment has neither form nor color, is beyond our words, and there is no way for us to reach enlightenment because our way of living is far away from enlightenment. It is not possible for that seed to bloom joyfully in my heart by itself. 

So, how did it blossom? There is always someone before us who was grateful for the teachings, and who has passed on to us the places and opportunities to hear the Dharma. And if we follow the footsteps of the spread of the Nembutsu teaching from where we are, we will find the joy of Shinran Shonin, who is the founder of Jodo Shinshu tradition and who was truly grateful to be embraced by Amida Buddha and shared this with his Dharma friends. 

The countless contributions and efforts made by our ancestors from countless ages are displayed before us to be able to hear the Nembutsu.

Shinran Shonin, looking back on the countless causal factors that led to the Nembutsu, expressed his gratitude and said, "rejoice at the conditions from the distant past that have brought it about” in the preface of his main writing, “Kyogyoshinsho” (“The True Teaching, Practice, Faith and Attainment of the Pure Land").

Therefore, this Nembutsu that is coming out of my mouth and this heart that is rejoicing in the teachings are all the fruit of the seeds of enlightenment that Amida Buddha completed, and Shinran Shonin, and all the teachers, Dharma friends, and all our predecessors who have carefully protected and nurtured over my life.

This year, 2024, is a special anniversary year, continuing from last year’s  celebration marking 800 years since Shinran Shonin established the Jodo Shinshu tradition. This year is also special for BCA, which marks its 125th anniversary.

Many BCA temples will be offering celebratory services on this occasion. The Coast District will hold a special service to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the BCA with the Gotan-e service, Shinran Shonin's birthday.

In this commemorative year, in this beautiful month of May, when young leaves sprout vigorously and life shines brightly, it is truly a joy to be able to offer my gratitude to Shinran Shonin, and to all teachers, Dharma friends, and predecessors who led me to the teaching and made the joy of the Nembutsu grow in my heart.

I hope to share this joy and wonder of being able to encounter Amida's wish, which is hard to appreciate.


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1 Comment

Thanks for the information. You may love some fun games such as tiny fishing

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