Message from Rev. Kakei Nakagawa Rinban, Fresno Betsuin
(as printed in the March, 2015 newsletter)
Six P?ramit?s of O-Higan Day
The main goal of Buddha-dharma is a life of selflessness (altruism) based on compassion and love. Altruism means to have unselfish regard or devotion to the welfare of sentient beings. To seek and achieve such altruism is the highest enlightenment, mind of enlightenment.
Even with the best intention, only a few can accomplish such altruism by themselves.
In J?do Shinsh? as the mainstream M?h?y?na Buddhism, we have the Nenbutsu as a result of Buddha’s “wish-for-the-world” which contains all altruistic acts of the Buddha-dharma. If the Nenbutsu comes alive into our life, this altruism also comes alive into actions of our everyday life.
The Six P?ramit?s is the name of this altruism which transformed into the action.
(1) D?na = giving,
(2) S?la = observing the precepts,
(3) Ks?nti = patience,
(4) V?rya = striving,
(5) Dhy?na = meditation,
(6) Prajn? = wisdom
in the philological translation to these words of Six P?ramit?s.
Now I want to replace the meaning of these Six P?ramit?s into contemporary everyday wording.
(1) D?na P?ramit? = May I be generous and helpful! (2) S?la P?ramit? = May I be pure and virtuous!
(3) Ks?nti P?ramit? = May I be patient with the wrongs of others!
(4) V?rya P?ramit? = May I be strenuous, energetic and persevering!
(5) Dhy?na P?ramit? = May I attain perfect concentration in facing my realities!
(6) Prajñ? P?ramit? = May I gain wisdom for benefitting others!
I hope you are reminded of these M?h?y?na basics with the Nenbutsu, during the season of O-Higan.
Rev. Kakei Nakagawa
Message from Rev. Alan Sakamoto, Fresno Betsuin
(as printed in the March, 2015 newsletter)
Your Hard Drive
Today, the once unimagined power of the computer is everywhere! We carry one in our pockets in the form of our cell phone. We use them everyday in our work to calculate and to communicate. A few decades ago, we had no idea about texting or emailing, and yet, we use those tools every day. Even movies are produced using the power of the computer. Do you know that your mind is just like a computer?
When you buy a brand new computer, the hardware is pristine and the software is ready for you. Many times we have to add the particular software we use for our purposes. For example, Word by Microsoft for word processing, or Twitter and Facebook to communicate socially. After installation, we then begin to customize our software for our particular use and way of use. Software learns how we work, and adapts to make our common and usual tasks easier. We happily use our computers then we become a little greedy. We start to look for FREE software, movies and games. And then, after our download, our computers get a virus and become INFECTED. The computer takes longer and longer to do routine tasks, and then all these unnecessary popups appear on our browsers. If you take time, you can manually remove the viruses or adware or malware or whatever you want to call it! Sometimes we call them names that I can’t print here. And, if not, you can download for free or buy special programs that hunt and destroy these unwanted viruses. Once, they’re gone, the computer and the world seem to return to some semblance of normalcy and peace.
We are just like the new computers with the uninfected hard drives. In the beginning, our minds are clear and ready to learn and experience everything the world can present. Remember when we were kids and thought that we could become the President of the United States, an Astronaut, Senator, or Professional Athlete? The potential and excitement of our future was pure, unaltered, and we had no doubt that we could achieve all our dreams. Then, we started to listen and believe others. Maybe our parents told us that we couldn’t do something, or friends called us names.
I clearly remember that I wanted to buy jeans, but had to go to the “husky” section or size. I couldn’t buy the same jeans that everyone else wore. My mother told me that I was just “chubby.” I was devastated! Soon society and clothing companies adjusted and my size was just as readily available as any other in the jeans section. Then I went to Japan! Oh my! I normally wear XL t-shirts, jackets and sweatshirts. So I thought that they would be the same size. NO WAY! I soon realized that in Japan I was an XXL or even an XXXL! The flood gates were released, and I quickly was transported back to the old days of being “husky” or “chubby” once again. The hard drive in my head was once again infected!
I saw on the Internet a story about a female dog that was pregnant and was in a terrible accident. She lost the ability to use her hind legs, and couldn’t walk with them. She would get around by dragging herself around. Thankfully, the accident didn’t harm any of the pups and soon her healthy and energetic litter was born. The owners began to notice that the puppies were walking like the mother, i.e. dragging the rear around as they walked. They took the puppies to the Vet who pronounced that nothing was physically wrong with the puppies. They just had no other example, and learned to walk the same way as their mother. In this case, they had the wrong example, and their minds were “infected.” Sometimes, we don’t know better, and believe and follow the advice and examples of those we trust.
We are constantly bombarded with positive and negative reinforcement as we proceed in our lives. Some encourage our actions, and others seem to be anchors forever weighing us down. Buddhist Dharma talks provide us with positive and helpful lessons, and the Sangha sustains us in an encouraging environment that can help each and every one of us overcome those negative and destructive thoughts. At the temple, a support group exists only wishing for the best in each of our lives, and the Sangha will encourage you to be the best you can be. Come to the temple activities, open your mind, and have fun! At the temple, the Buddha loves me just as I am, the Sangha loves me just as I am, and I am just who I am. I still am “chubby,” but the Sangha accepts me for who I am. The Sangha is encouraging. The Sangha supports my dreams and goals to become a better person. The Temple becomes a place where the lessons and the people act just like my computers spyware removal software. Cleaning my mind, just like cleaning the hard drive, and allowing me to remove the negatives and seeing me in the most positive and supportive light.
I go to the Buddha for guidance.
I go to the Dharma for guidance.
I go to the Sangha for guidance.
Rev. Alan Sakamoto