“Where is our mind?” This was one of the topics of the discussion class that I attended. There were various opinions and it was very interesting.
Someone said, "The mind is in our head. Because we use our brains when we think." Or, "The mind is in our heart. Because our heart beats fast when we are nervous." I said, "The mind is in our stomach. Because when we are hungry, we start to eat something." But there was no specific answer. Also, I have heard the phrase, "The mind is invisible and cannot be touched by our hands, but it certainly exists there."
Alternatively, someone says that "the mind is visible and is outside of the body." So I tried to see what was on the outermost side of my body.
There were my clothes that I chose and wore this morning. Actually, those clothes were the ones I bought in the past because I liked the "color, material, size, price." In other words, if you look at my clothes, you can see my preferences.
Maybe, it can be said that the mind is visible and is shown on the outside of the body. If our mind is shown on the outside of the body, it touches the other person's mind and affects each other.
For example, if my friend is crying, I would be sad, too. However, if I'm surrounded by people who are laughing happily, I may smile, too. So our minds influence each other and always keep changing. Even if I laugh with my friends, small misunderstandings can be the cause of quarrels and we will get angry. Even when I feel sad after a quarrel, I will probably be hungry. If I eat something, I get sleepy. We are always swayed by our feelings.
Shinran Shonin once said:
“My eyes being hindered by blind passions,
I cannot perceive the light that grasps me;
Yet the great compassion, without tiring,
Illumines me always.”
— “Hymns of the Pure Land Masters, “ No. 95, CWS, Page 385
Even if we cannot perceive the light of Amida Buddha, it always Illuminates us and never abandons us. This passage reminded me of a poem, “Stars and Dandelions,” written by Misuzu Kaneko.
"Just like the small stones on the seabed, the stars in the blue sky are waiting for the coming of the night. They are not visible to our eyes. Though not visible, they are there.
“Even though the dandelions beside the river have lost their heads and have withered, their strong roots between the stones are awaiting for spring. Those are not visible to our eyes. Though not visible, they are there."
Misuzu Kaneko knew that even if the dandelions are not in bloom, they are living their life. Even if we cannot see it, they are there.
A few days ago, I bought some flowers. Some of the flowers had already bloomed, some of them were about to bloom. Maybe some of them may not bloom. Even if there are flowers that never bloom, that is totally fine. If they are living a life now, that is great. They can be there just as they are because everyone has a precious life.
There is the word "sonomama,'' which means "just as you are." There is also the word "konomama.'' What is the difference between "sonomama'' and "konomama''? I heard a good example. When the party's over and everyone is leaving, if someone asks the owner of the house, "Can we leave the tableware and cups as they are?" That is “konomama.”
If the owner says, "No problem, please just leave it as they are." This is “sonomama.” Sonomama is always a word from the perspective of the person trying to do something.
If we encounter the voice of Amida Buddha that "Please come as you are, sonomama; Don't worry, just leave it to me," the Nembutsu comes out of the mouth with gratitude. Even though it's not visible, it's always there. Namo Amida Butsu