In the month of May we observe our Gōtan-e Service celebrating the birth of Shinran Shonin, the founder of our Jodo Shinshu school of Buddhism. During the Gōtan-e Service, we place a statue of Shinran Shonin as a young boy in the temple hall and recall the story of his childhood. May is also the month in which we celebrate Mother’s Day and express the gratitude and appreciation we feel for the mothers in our lives. As we observe these two holidays of Gōtan-e and Mother’s Day, the month of May provides us with precious occasions to reflect upon the karmic bond between parents and children. The parental figures in our lives are not limited to our biological parents. Grandparents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are other examples of those who can provide the care and guidance of a parent in our lives.
According to tradition, Shinran Shonin was separated from his mother at a young age and left home to receive ordination as a Buddhist monk at the age of nine. While the time that Shinran spent living with his mother and father was brief, he had a profound sense of receiving parental love and care in his life.Continue reading “Parents and Children”