As October ends and November begins, we have watched a great World Series filled with much excitement and hope. Even though Los Angeles Dodger fans were disappointed and heart broken for the outcome. I reflect on all the memories shared and all the hopes for the future, which made our lives bright. I think about how the world seemed to be all about the “Blue Crew.”
As the series ended and the results sank in, I realized that I had forgotten about many of the current events that were currently happening. Did this happen for you as well? One thing that sank to the back of my mind was the Santa Rosa fire. I could not have imagined that it lasted 23 days and destroyed 5% of the homes in that area. Did you forget about it too? I am not proud of this fact, but it forces me to realize how easily distracted we can be by our own interests blinding us of the suffering around us.
It is hard for us to stay focused and remember the valuable things in life. I am not saying the Dodgers or any other sports are not important, but they are merely for entertainment and not to be used as an illusory device to take us away from reality. Again, this is hard. This is our inner nature that prioritizes happiness and allows us to forget the happenings around us. As Buddhist, we are supposed to be constantly vigilant to this mentality of my happiness over all others, but as Nembutsu followers, we understand it is a true part of our nature. This does not mean we just accept the fact of our deluded self, but to recognize the Buddha’s Compassion to support us in these times.
This is what makes the Primal Vow of Amida so important. It is not concerned with those who can meditate and practice. It is for those that find themselves limited by live situations or even natural ability. It is for those whom find themselves easily dissuaded by their own desires. It is for the person who finds themself needing something and do not know what. It is for those times three words fill our hearts with peace, because it brings the Buddha’s wish and virtues to the front of our minds, giving us hope for our current and eventual future selves.
Amida Buddha’s works is such that, “The great practice is to say the Name of the Tathagata of unhindered light. This practice, embodying all good acts and possessing all roots of virtue, is perfect and most rapid in bringing about birth. It is the treasure ocean of virtues that is suchness or true reality. For this reason, it is called great practice.” From this passage of it is the sending forth what is embodied in saying the Name of Amida, Namo Amida Butsu. Nembutsu is the embodiment of purity, truth, goodness, beauty, wisdom, and peace. It is all the highest values and qualities both conceivable and inconceivable, which Amida was able to perfect in His infinitely long period of meditation and practice. Without thinking too much, allow it to sit and linger in your mind. Namo Amida Butsu.
Please do not get the wrong idea from the beginning of this thought. We still say “Go Dodgers!” We also say Namo Amida Butsu, because it showed us our true essence and how easy it is to forget happenings around us. How easy it was to put what was so devastating behind what made us feel good. As Halloween ended and the Nov. 1 game was tragically lost.
Congratulations to the Astros
The thought occurred that I should check in on Santa Rosa and see how the recovery effort was going. Thinking that like many other fires that usually burn out in a week, only to find out that the fire lasted 23 days and was officially contained October 31, Halloween. After 4,658 homes lost and as many as 5,000 homeless, again I say Namo Amida Butsu and ask everyone to enjoy life, but try not to forget life.
Rev. Kory Quon
Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple