Imagine if a total stranger approached you and gave you this greeting. “Y’all H.A.G.S.!” How would this make you feel? I would be a little insulted. “Why did you call me that? A witch?” Do you remember when people used to say, “You old hag” or something like that? This is one of the difficulties that we deal with all the time. Communication of thoughts into words never relay the true intent of the heart.
In Jodo Shinshu, we work hard to enjoy life as it is, but we easily get distracted from what is truly important. Let’s look at the title for this article a little deeper. If you received the last Dana deliveries organized by the Adult Buddhist Association, ABA or are under 20 you might know what it means. After reading the letter from last month’s delivery, someone turned to me and said you called me a hag.
Y’All – You All
H.A.G.S. – Have A Great Summer
When put this way, instead of saying something mean, it is a way of making a wish for someone. When we hear the title or statement, we might not know the person well enough to understand their heart or intentions. It is so often that we hear the sounds, but don’t always interpret with the same definitions. It is like chanting. Even if we read the English translations, we probably do not have the background to understand the text. Many times we chant about Amida Buddha’s wish to take care of everyone as the great provider. What is your idea of having a “Great Summer?” Is it to each wonderful foods? Travel? Visit family? These are all extra in our Buddhist path, but important and sometimes necessary for the health function of human being. This why Jodo Shinshu is just right for all of us. We all want more than we have in this moment. Amida Buddha saw this and embraces us with Great Compassion.
Although I too am within Amida’s Buddha’s grasp,Shinran Shonin
Passions obstruct my eyes and I cannot see him;
Nevertheless, great compassion is untiring and illumines me always.
Summer 2022! What an exciting time to be alive! We have gone through so much and now our temple calendar has begun to really fill up. The growth and change we are going through together makes me so proud of our Sangha or temple community. We have worked so hard to support the Venice Japanese Community Center and the festival. We are having a full Obon with food, games, and dancing! We are looking to the future.
I know that some people may have hesitations and that is ok. You have to make the right decisions for you and no one else. The temple is working hard. When Obon comes don’t get caught in your head, but think about where you are and who you are sharing it with. It is easy to lose our temper. It easy to take time for granted. It is sad and easy to miss seeing the value of the moments that slip by. This is what it is to be human. Do not over think the things that are out of your control. Again, what an exciting time to be Alive! Take a moment to reflect upon your heart and the heart of others. Use your energy wisely. Work together.
When you come to the temple reconnect. Think about the heart of the people who have done so much for you. Think about the wishes that have been made and the ones you have received. Join in. Dance for Joy. Put Your Hands together in Gassho and Bow.
And May… Y’All H.A.G.S!
Namo Amida Butsu,
Rev. Kory Quon