The true entrusting of the wise is such that
They are inwardly wise but outwardly foolish.
The heart of this ignorant one is such that
I am inwardly foolish but outwardly wise.
Gutoku Notes in Collected Works of Shinran, pg. 587
San Luis Obispo Buddhist Temple
6996 Ontario Rd., San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Resident Minister: Rev. Naomi Seijo Nakano
It is 2015 and New Year’s resolutions have been made and some have already been broken. However when we break a resolution we can say we never made it or we can begin anew. Resolutions are promises and we continue to try to assure our selves of its accomplishments. They are promises to one self. I do not make resolutions because as soon as I make them, I tend to break them.
During this time, traditions are also followed. For Japanese and Japanese-Americans, it is a time to clean the house and prepare to usher out the old year and to bring in the new. It is a time to give thanks to friends, old and new. For Jodo Shinshu Buddhists, it is a time of looking back at the past year and reviewing the good and not-so-good times. It is a time to be thankful for every thing that the year offered and the new experiences it provided. We cannot compare an experience to another without first experiencing it ourselves.
It is such a wonder that we can continue to have a new year after year. We con make new mistakes or the same ones and try to find different solutions to the same problem. As we experience new adventures and continue to interpret miscues, it is our entrusting in Amida Buddha that ensures us that we still have 83,999 paths we can discover. We use this number to indicate that there are so many paths we can take to a problem. We continue to try another path and maybe, eventually one will work.
When we make new year’s resolutions, we find that they are more difficult to fulfill but so easy to break. We also find Nembutsu to fit in this category of difficulty. It is a most difficult path to awaken to as well as to hear the teachings of Amida Buddha. We must apply all 6 senses in our action, mindfulness, effort, patience, selfless giving, and hearing. We say yes to the teachings, however our minds are thinking in confu-sion. That is alright, for the more we hear the more easier to awaken to the truth.
One translation of Nembutsu (Namu Amida Butsu) is “Name that calls”. or “I take refuge in Amida Buddha”. The name calls us to awaken to our fullest potential of being that true, real and sincere human being that we are. When Nembutsu is recited, it is said without hesitation or calculation. It is simply recited with gratitude, joy and heart.
It is through our Namu Amida Butsu that we share our gratitude in recognizing that our miscues in life are created by our own egos. We can hurt others through anger; we say things without thinking. When we make resolutions, it is our way in being mindful of our actions in the new year. But, can we really change our blind passions (anger, greed, ignorance) in just one year or does it take longer or shorter period of time? Yet, we still have an opportunity to find a path that works best for both parties involved. We rely on Nembutsu to give direction and guidance, it is recited with a grateful and thankful heart and mind. As the year passes, let us sharpen our hearing, think before we act, carefully say words without insult or hurt, see beyond our own ego, reach out and touch a long for-gotten friend, and to truly listen to what Nembutsu is trying to teach us. We share our thanks and gratitude with open hearts and sincere mind.
Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano
Southern District Temples