At the Fair, on the Farm

Having spent much of past sixteen months sheltering at home, this summer has brought a joyful return to some of our favorite pre-pandemic activities, including a visit to the San Mateo County Fair.  Even breathing through my mask, the smells of the county fair brought back waves of memories of past summers.  The smell of barbequed ribs, turkey legs, and French fries reminded me of leisurely summer afternoons enjoying fairs and festivals with my wife and sons.  The farm smells of pigs, goats and cattle in the livestock showcase brought back memories of summer visits to the family farms of my relatives living in Iowa.  I recall the first time my son received a tour of the cattle barns on my aunt and uncle’s farm.  At one point, he asked my aunt, “Can we see something that doesn’t smell?”  She laughed and replied, “Well, we are on a farm.”

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The Meaning of 108

The number 108 has great significance in Buddhism. There are multiple commentaries the meaning of 108. The following are two common explanations.


Nagarjuna’s explanation of the significance of the number 108 from his Commentary on the Perfection of Great Wisdom:

Human beings have 6 senses 六受:

1) sight 眼→色

2) sound 耳→声

3) smell 鼻→香

4) taste 舌→味

5) touch 身→触

6) thought 意→法

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Dharma Discussion: Suffering from Birth (September 27, 2020)

Consider your own birth, including the following factors:

  • Your family relationships (parents, grandparents, siblings, etc.)
  • Your family’s circumstances when you were born. This could include race, ethnicity, economic status, etc.
  • Where you were born (country, city, local community, etc.)
  • Time: what were some important events in the world around you that have shaped your life since you were born.

Discussion Questions

  1. What challenges and difficulties have arisen in your life as a result of the circumstances of your birth?
  2. How did the circumstance of your birth create the conditions for you to seek the Dharma hear the Nembutsu?

Dharma Discussion: Incense (August 30, 2020)

Click here to read about incense offering etiquette in the Jodo Shinshu school, as well as other schools of Japanese Buddhism

Discussion Questions

  1. What is a fragrance that brings you peace of mind?
  2. Have you ever encountered someone who you felt was “adorned with the fragrance of light”?
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