Kai Kyoshi Ordination and Commendation of the Consul General of Japan

Please Attend A Special Luncheon
To Celebrate the Prestigious Achievements of


Rev. Diana Thompson
Kai Kyoshi Ordination

&

Mr. Charles Ozaki
Commendation of the Consul General of Japan

Sunday, November 02, 2014
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Entertainment by TSDBT ukulele & Denver Taiko

Potluck Luncheon sponsored by TSDBT, BWA, Dharma School & YBA

If your last name begins with A-M please bring a side dish
(such as a salad, vegetable, rice, pasta).

If your last name begins with N-Z please bring a main dish.

(Please label all vegetarian|vegan|dairy-free|nut-free dishes.)

Formula in Buddhism: The 19th Vow: Part 3

The formula below consists of essential ingredients for learning the Teaching of Buddha:
1. To Learn Buddhism is to learn myself,
2. to learn myself is to learn Buddha’s Compassion.
3. to learn Compassion is to forget myself,
4. and to forget myself is to throw me into Buddha’s World.

The 19th Vow

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, the sentient beings of the 10 quarters, while awakening the mind aspiring for enlightenment and performing meritorious acts, should desire to be born in my land with sincere aspiration, and yet should I not appear before them at the moment of death surrounded by a host of sages, may I not attain the perfect enlightenment.”

In traditional Buddhism, firstly a person has to generate the mind to attain enlightenment with sincere aspiration. Secondly the person has to sacrifice worldly desires, including family, friend, job, income, etc. Thirdly, the person leaves society and just concentrates on attainment of enlightenment under a Buddha or a master.

When you read this vow carefully, you find something strange - the person is sincere and serious, but enlightenment is not attained at the very moment of death. His path is not completed, yet. That’s why the Buddha and sages appear before the person at the very moment of death. They appear to guide the person who does not know where to go after death.

For example, I had an offsite Hoji (Memorial service); the house was located in a new development area, so even a new map and GPS did not show its location. Then I called the family and specified the exit number of freeway and a gas station nearby to meet. Although I had the address, I needed personal guidance by the family. When a person has generated the mind seeking enlightenment, and has learned and practiced doctrines for years, this person has the destination and address. But, still, this person does not know exactly where to go after death, so the Buddha and sages appear to him to guide at the last moment. This is the one serious short-coming in process as stated in the 19th Vow. Honen-Shonin (1133-1212), the master of Shinran-Shonin, pointed out - it’s not necessary for a person to generate the mind for enlightenment before Buddhism. For this, he was blamed and labelled by traditional sects and priests as “a destroyer of Buddhism”. Honen was exiled.

However, he emphasized as follows: First, listen to Amida’s Teaching. Then, the Teaching or Vows shows you what to do. Depend on something clear and sure as the first step for Highest Enlightenment.

In Gassho,
Rev. Doei Fujii

Return to the Formula in Buddhism series.

Formula in Buddhism: The 19th Vow: Part 2

The formula below consists of essential items for learning the Teaching of Buddha:

1. To Learn Buddhism is to learn myself,
2. to learn myself is to learn Buddha’s Compassion.
3. to learn Compassion is to forget myself,
4. and to forget myself is to throw me into Buddha’s World.

The 19th Vow

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, the sentient beings of the 10 quarters, while awakening the mind aspiring for enlightenment and performing meritorious acts, should desire to be born in my land with sincere aspiration, and yet should I not appear before them at the moment of death surrounded by a host of sages, may I not attain the perfect enlightenment.”

There was a very serious criticism against Honen Shonin who independently established Nembutsu Teaching from “traditional teaching of Buddhism.” It was the criticism that Homen-Shonin denied “awakening the mind aspiring for enlightenment.” In old days, when a person wanted to learn Buddhism, the person renounced the world, left home and society, joined a Sangha or monastery, and learned and practiced under great masters. In short, there was only one way for the person to learn Buddhism: To become a priest.

Open up Buddhism for everyone equally

Consequently, there was no chance for laypeople to learn Buddhism. Although Honen- Shonin was called “the wisest priest at Mt. Hiei,” he could not realize a clear path to enlightenment until he experienced the heart and mind of Immeasurable Working of Wisdom and Compassion.

His struggling before Nembutsu Teaching went as follows: I have been learning the Teaching of Buddha for years. But nothing happened to me. I don’t attain enlightenment, yet. I am empty. What’s wrong with me? Buddha’s Wisdom and Compassion is equally given to anyone. If so, what is it? How can I know it?

Finally, he came to realize the heart and mind of Amida: Nembutsu alone covers any kind of person - equally without asking any question. Amida’s Dharma already contains necessary virtues and power to take me to the highest enlightenment. Then, he started sharing the Nembutsu Teaching mainly with laypeople.

Teaching of Buddha

It is said that Buddhism is the Teaching of Buddha and Buddhism is the Teaching to lead people to enlightenment. I would like to add one more: Buddhism is the teaching for us to realize truly what we have been looking for in this life. To learn Buddhism is to learn myself by and through Wisdom and Compassion.

In Gassho,
Rev. Doei Fujii

Return to the Formula in Buddhism series.

Formula in Buddhism: The 19th Vow: Part 1

The formula below consists of essential items for learning the Teaching of Buddha:
1. To Learn Buddhism is to learn myself,
2. to learn myself is to learn Buddha’s Compassion.
3. to learn Compassion is to forget myself,
4. and to forget myself is to throw me into Buddha’s World.

The 19th Vow

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, the sentient beings of the 10 quarters, while awakening the mind aspiring for enlightenment and performing meritorious acts, should desire to be born in my land with sincere aspiration, and yet should I not appear before them at the moment of death surrounded by a host of sages, may I not attain the perfect enlightenment.”

This Vow shows the “traditional way in Buddhism” for people to attain enlightenment. First, people have to awaken the mind, aspiring for enlightenment. Second, they go through various acts to accumulate virtues for enlightenment. Third, they finally attain enlightenment. However, what the Buddha addressed about Amida’s World was completely different from the traditional ways.

When Amida’s World was addressed by the Buddha at this time, he saw about 12,000 people who were all great and sincere followers. All of them were very surprised with his message, especially the Vow #17 and #18: The Name is nothing but essence of Immeasurable Wisdom and Compassion. Thus, the Buddha explained the difference between “traditional practices” and “practice of the Name.”

Firstly, people do not have to awaken the mind for enlightenment. It is because Amida’s vows already contain everything they need. We don’t know what we have been looking for in this life truly. That’s why we don’t know what we should awaken. The vows in this sutra clarify what we have been looking for.

Secondly, people have limitations in many things. Thus, it is impossible for laypeople to perform meritorious acts consistently. That’s why Amida’s World does not expect people to accumulate virtues. Immeasurable Working (Amida) already possesses necessary virtues in the Name.

Thirdly, since life is uncertain, it disappears anytime and any where. We can not wait until a host of sages appear to us. Each recitation of the Name is nothing but completion of Immeasurable Working. It is not necessary for us to wait until the last moment of death. We are already in the heart and mind of Working every time we recite the Name.

The 19th Vow also clarifies what we are. Now you came to know the difference between “traditional” and “Jodo-Shin-Shu” ways.

In Gassho,
Rev. Doei Fujii

Return to the Formula in Buddhism series.

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