In these chaotic times, we try to find bits of sunshine in any form wherever we can. What a joy it is that we can gather with generations of family members in honoring our mothers who ask for so little but who share so much.
They loved unconditionally and without any strings attached. They only continue to want the best for us. They were promise keepers who ensured us of brighter futures. They shared comfort and advice and assured us of peace and joy. They may have been disciplinarians, but they did it for our own good. We honor them in our Namu Amida Butsu in gratitude and thankfulness for always being strong, supportive and teaching the Nembutsu. We observe this special day with all mothers, living or deceased. We are reminded that mothers “gave us wings to find our path”.
However, we can find another bright spot and that is our founder Shinran Shonin’s birthday which, according to the Western calendar, is May 21st. He was a brilliant person who found Truth in the Buddha’s teachings. Shinran’s desire was to spread and share the Buddha Dharma with all who wanted to hear it.
At an early age, Shinran learned of loss, sorrow and sadness. He lived during a time when natural disaster, warfare and famine brought about desperation, despair and injury, similar to our present time. We are fortunate to be able to continue to hear and learn the teachings through his thoughts and propagation of the teachings. Although he lived a very hard life, Shinran Shonin never abandoned his followers. He was an extraordinary person who did not see social class, gender, status or age. He taught the Buddha Dharma to all and he continues to teach us in this present time.
There are many narratives of Shinran Shonin’s life. One story is that Shinran lost his mother at the young age of 9 years old. His childhood was cut short due to war between feuding clans. To save his life along with his brothers, they entered various monasteries and would not see each other again until many, many years after. His father would also enter monastic life and Shinran would not see his father again.
Shinran Shonin devoted his formative years in the monastery trying to attain enlightenment. He studied hours on end and exercised very strenuous practices. His determination and strength was a sign of his commitment. It is said that at the age of 9 he wrote a haiku (Japanese poem) that impressed the head monk. This poem showed his aptitude for learning and dedication to the life he would live for 20 years. Even though he was educated in the monastery, his technique of teaching was for the layperson,
Shinran Shonin did not start out wanting to be a “founder”. It was his followers who gave him this title. Shinran Shonin never had his own temple nor wanted one. His personal goal was to spread the teachings as he heard them taught to him. His entrusting in the Buddha and Nembutsu was his temple. Shinran shared his knowledge so that we could find meaning to our Namu Amida Butsu. He shared a means of “looking within our selves to see the true self”.
We are fortunate to have mothers who dedicated their lives in sharing warmth, support and truth. We are also privileged to have a teacher who was relentless in sharing wisdom and showing us compassion of the Buddha. Both Shinran and our mothers want the same for us - to be happy, in joy and peace. To all the mothers, we wish them a Happy Mother’s Day and to Shinran Shonin, Namu Amida Butsu and Happy Birthday.
Gassho Rev. Naomi Seijo Nakano
6996 Ontario Rd., San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Res. Minister: Rev. Naomi Seijo Nakano
Human relationships are always changing,
But in those relationships each of us is shining,
We must understand the preciousness of our lives.
~Moving Forward Just As You Are
Monshu Kojun Ohtani
5/04: Bon Odori
5/07: 5pm Basics of Jodo Shinshu
5/11: 9am Temple Clean Up
5/18: Golf Tournament
5/19: Intro to Buddhism class has
5/26: Cemetery Visitation Services
NO service @ Church
6/22: Wine Tasting
7/14: Obon/Hatsubon Service
8/03: SLOBC Obon