For the third month in a row, I am writing my Temple newsletter under the Shelter in Place Order. While our Sangha has pulled together wonderfully to continue many of our regular Temple activities online, including weekly Sunday Services and Dharma Discussions via Zoom Meeting, my family and I really miss spending time with all of you in-person at the Temple. All in-person Temple activities through June have been cancelled or moved to a virtual format. Regrettably, that means that we will not be able to gather for our annual Temple bazaar this year, which is a great disappointment for our whole community. Bazaar is one of the most fun and significant times of the year for us to gather at the Temple and deepen our Sangha friendships through work and play. While the summer will not be the same this year without bazaar, we are working on plans for an online Sangha activity that will provide a fun opportunity to come together with our hearts and minds on Saturday, June 27.
With all the changes that this pandemic has brought to our lives, I have come to truly appreciate the in-person encounters in my life. These days I find myself delighting in across-the-sidewalk conversations from at least six feet away with neighbors with whom I had only exchanged passing greetings in the past. As I reflect upon the importance of spending meaningful time together with friends and family, I am reminded of the deep affection and warmth that exists between people who rejoice together in the Nembutsu. The great modern-day Jodo Shinshu Buddhist priest Rev. Jitsuen Kakehashi shares the following example of a friendship in the Nembutsu that blossomed in Japan during the 19th century:Continue reading “The Company of Good Friends”