The True Essence and Valueof the Hondo (Main Worship Hall)

One late afternoon in September, my son and I went to the temple. While I was doing temple business, my son entered the Hondo by himself.

After a while, I heard him singing “Ondokusan 2.” He was conducting a late afternoon service (“Oyuji”). Around that time, so many things were happening to me that my mind and heart were unsettled. My son’s voice reminded me of what I needed to do. I entered the Hondo, opened the folding shoji screen, burned incense, sat on the floor facing Amida Buddha directly, and hit the bell twice. Then, I chanted “Shoshinge.”

I hear and read words every day. Sometimes, I hear words I do not want to hear. On that day, some bad words were close to coming out of my mouth. If these ego-centered words stayed inside of me, my heart and mind would be wounded.

Instead, while chanting “Shonshinge,” I became calmer and more settled. “Shoshinge” is the sacred text our founder Shinran Shonin wrote.

While chanting it, Shinran Shonin’s words came out of my mouth. I heard the words through my chanting voice. These words did not contain my ego at all. They were filled with Shinran Shonin’s