Over the past month, tragic disasters have occurred one after another, following so closely upon each other’s heels that we scarcely have time to come to grips with one disaster before being confronted with the next. Our San Mateo Buddhist Temple Sangha offers our deepest condolences to those who have lost loved ones in these disasters, and offer our heartfelt wishes that those affected will find solace and peace of mind through the working of boundless compassion. In times like this, we seek a guiding light to show us the way forward in our lives, an axis of clarity that will enable us to maintain peace of mind in the midst of all this chaos. I find that guiding light in the teachings of the Buddha and in lives of those who have brilliantly reflected the light of the Buddha’s wisdom.
Lady Takeko Kujo (1887-1928) is one of the bright lights of the Buddha’s wisdom shining in our world during modern times. She was a renowned poet and great humanitarian who worked tirelessly in service of the poor who lived in the slums of Tokyo during the early twentieth century. The following reflections that she composed in response to the devastation she witnessed first-hand during the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 shine with the light of precious wisdom.
Those with just a little life remaining were crowded on all sides by fire—those with high rank and low, learned and unlearned, old and young, people from all classes and abilities.
But all these people, who were moment by moment approaching their imminent fate, had one common wish.
That is the final wish of everyone who has nothing more to rely upon. In this final desire, there is absolutely no distinction between great and small, high and low, old or young, male or female.
(Muyuge: Flower without Sorrow, p. 106)
We all burn with desire for eternal life.
We are, however, apt to be tormented over disappointment of the moment. Cynicism starts when our aspiration to live forever is disillusioned by its briefness.
Many preach eternity, but it is impossible to discover the limitless life by merely talking about it, disregarding the experiences of yesterday and the torment of today’s reality.
Only those who reflect on the fact that they are continually bathed in the light of eternity, will live a life in which there is light. Only when we consider that our life, though decaying moment by moment, is always bathed in the omnipresent life, will we begin to grasp the eternal life that is found only in each moment of reality.
(Muyuge: Flower without Sorrow, p. 99)
On Sunday, November 12, at 11:30 a.m., special Guest Speaker Rev. Yushi Mukojima, Resident Minister of the Mountain View Buddhist Temple, will join us for our annual Eitaikyo Memorial Service. “Eitaikyo” literally means “perpetual sutra.” It is a shortened way of referring to “a service in which we chant sutras in perpetuity to honor those who have left this world before us.” The funds to conduct the Eitaikyo Service come from donations made when an individual’s name is added to the Eitaikyo Register. Traditionally, Eitaikyo donations have been made by the family of the deceased when a loved one passes away. This practice of dana, or generosity, in grateful memory of a loved one is what has allowed this service to be conducted without interruption since the establishment of our temple. The Eitaikyo service will continue to be conducted as long as our temple exists. By continuing the Eitaikyo service, we ensure that our temple will remain a place to gather and hear the Dharma into the future without end. In this way, we hope that our temple will be a continual place of refuge for all who seek peace and comfort in turbulent times.
Namo Amida Butsu