The light of your face is unsurpassed in majesty,
Your awesome greatness is beyond limit,
A brightly shining flame with no equal.
Next to your brilliance,
Even the brightness of sun,
Moon, and Manji jewel (any jewel from sutra) seem covered in black ink.
— Larger Sutra of Immeasurable Life
It is February, and I am looking out on the makings of an already blooming spring. Can you believe how green it is here in the Los Angeles area? Rare is it to see so much life, and yet this is not totally true. When we look out into the world and contemplate the budding of new life around us, have you thought to yourself “Wow life is beautiful!”? As human beings, it is hard to realize that true brilliance is in the words “Life is Infinitely Beautiful!”
Let the Buddha reach you. The passage above is the first verse of what Jodo Shinshu Buddhists know as the San Butsu Ge. It speaks about what it is to be in the presence of a Buddha. Even though we are not physically close to one, we can imagine the brightness and brilliance that engulfs all sources of beauty and pales them.
When we attempt to think with a pure heart and mind, no matter where we are and what is happening “Life is Beyond Words.” Because of our judgmental perceptions, we only weigh every event of our linear lives. The highs and lows become benchmarks of our perceivable reality. We become fixated on these events and they hinder us to see the truth. I can hear the birds singing, feel the wind blowing on my face, take a whiff of the fresh air, and exhale with relief. Even the ants working so vigorously at my feet are amazing marvels of life. Is it so hard to always appreciate these things when they don’t serve a selfish end? Amida Buddha accepts us for being so selfish, and urges us to awaken to hear the call of Nenbutsu.
Yes, our human lives are seemingly more complicated than this, but we make them this way. We have to work hard to fulfill our basic needs for survival. Then it is to open our eyes to the many blessing we have already received. These blessings are clothing, shoes, shelter, and the nutrients to carry us to the next day. These blessings are the connections, and people that support our daily lives and future endeavors. Then look around and pass on this truth and beauty.
Think on the Buddha’s face, and receive the Buddha’s light. Allow it to teach, overtake, and guide you to see the True Treasure of Life in this fleeting moment. The Buddha’s wish is for us to live a fulfilled life. Amida’s wish allows us to hear the calling Name, Namu Amida Butsu that continues to resonate within us as we journey on our path.
Namu Amida Butsu
Rev. Kory Quon
Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple