As temperatures warm and we prepare to welcome the arrival of Spring with our Ohigan Service on March 19, I am reminded of the following verse from Shinran Shonin’s Hymns of the Pure Land Masters:
Obstructions of karmic evil turn into virtues; It is like the relation of ice and water: The more the ice, the more the water; The more the obstructions, the more the virtues.
(From Shinran Shonin’s Hymns of the Pure Land Masters, Hymn 40)
In the verse above, Shinran Shonin describes how, just as the warm spring temperatures melt ice into water, the warm light of the Buddha’s wisdom melts the hard obstructions in our minds into the flowing virtues of awakening. Greed turns into Generosity. Indulgence turns into Self-control. Anger turns into Patience. Laziness turns into Dedication. Distraction turns into Concentration. Delusion turns into Wisdom
Growing up in Minnesota, the springtimes of my childhood were filled with joy and wonder, as I experienced the warm sunlight melting away ice and snow, making way for blades of green grass to sprout up on the lawn. During the long winter, the cold of the snow and ice had turned the grass brown. The water of the melted snow and the warmth of the sun brought new life to the grass.
In our family we have three children from preschool to middle school in age, so as the cold and flu season arrives, it seems that someone in our house is always coming down with a fever or starting to cough. Sakyamuni Buddha taught that birth, illness, aging, and death are four inescapable kinds of suffering in this life, so there is no choice but to accept the reality that getting sick is part of being alive. That said, when we get sick, we naturally seek medicines to alleviate our symptoms and speed our recovery. There are also medicines we may take before we get sick to avoid the most severe illness. When choosing medicines to take it is best to follow the advice of a good doctor.
The Buddha is often described as a good doctor because, just as a good doctor carefully investigates an illness before providing an appropriate prescription, the Buddha arrived at a deep understanding of the troubles of human life before providing suitable teachings for all people.
This Sunday Rev. Adams will share a Dharma Talk reflecting on how, in the midst of this world where anger and conflict abound, each of us has the potential to live with kindness inspired by the Buddha’s vow to “to bring sentient beings from birth-and-death to the final attainment of emancipation.”
Schedule 8:30 a.m. Shoshinge Sofu Chanting 9:00 a.m. Sangha Social Hour 9:30 a.m. Dharma Service 10:30 a.m. Shotsuki Hoyo Monthly Memorial Service
We welcome you to join us in person!
To join us online via Zoom , CLICK HERE to sign up for “Live Broadcast of Services”.
This session will delve into the meaning expressed the following metaphor of the sun that shines through clouds and mists, and how the Buddha’s wisdom illuminates our lives even in times of difficulty and confusion.
The light of compassion that grasps us illumines and protects us always; The darkness of our ignorance is already broken through; Still the clouds and mists of greed and desire, anger and hatred, Cover as always the sky of true and real shinjin.
But though light of the sun is veiled by clouds and mists, Beneath the clouds and mists there is brightness, not dark. When one realizes shinjin, seeing and revering and attaining great joy, One immediately leaps crosswise, closing off the five evil courses.
The word “nirvana” means “to blow out,” as in “when a flame is blown out by the wind.” This week’s Dharma talk will focus on the Third Noble Truth taught by the Buddha, that the peace of nirvana is attained by extinguishing the blind passions of selfish desire, hatred and delusion.
Schedule 8:30 a.m. Shoshinge Sofu Chanting 9:00 a.m. Taiso Morning Exercise 9:30 a.m. Dharma Service 10:30 a.m. 日本語法要 Japanese Language Service
To join us for this online Dharma Service, CLICK HERE to sign up for “Live Broadcast of Services”.
Growing up in Minnesota, my favorite sport was alpine skiing. As a teenager, I competed in slalom racing on my high school ski team and the great sports hero of my youth was Olympic slalom champion Alberto Tomba. Our team practiced at a local ski hill that somehow managed to rise out of the flat surrounding farmland, gradually increasing in elevation over the years thanks to innumerable dump truck loads of dirt. I never came close to winning a race, but I enjoyed practices because the course of gates was set differently each time, transforming the otherwise unremarkable little hill into a challenging and exciting place to ski.