The Scent of Dharma in the Tea Garden

“What keeps me going in life is to provide people the blessings of nature in a safe manner,” said Mr. Miyahara. He took over the tea garden he inherited from his father and has been devoting himself to this work for 40 years now. He has worked on producing teas without using pesticides and has received an award from the Minister of Agriculture, which is only given to top grade producers. Mr. Miyahara started listening to Buddhism 15 years ago.

“One day, my grandchild asked me the name of the Buddha that was placed in the center of our Buddhist altar and I didn’t know the answer. I didn’t want to lie to him or give an irresponsible answer to such an important question.”

Later, when he was working in the tea garden, a person came to talk to him. It was a Buddhist teacher, so he asked him about his grandchild’s question. That led him to attend a Buddhist lecture in Kagoshima. “I learned in the lecture that Amida Buddha has made a promise to grant us absolute happiness in a split second of ichinen. But I was wondering the whole time if such happiness really existed. In the meantime, I kept listening to Buddhism.”

Last year, there was a turning point for Mr. Miyahara. He took a liking to the newly built Ijuin Shinran Center and started visiting it often. “After the lecture I asked questions, and the Buddhist teacher always answered me using Master Shinran’s words. I started to believe absolute happiness was real.” Fortunately the weather was good, and he was able to make his delivery of first-grade tea on time and attend the granting ceremony that was held the day before Gotane. “Buddhism is important to us, so that means our health is important. I will make even more effort to produce better teas.”

Haruo Miyahara (67), Kagoshima

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #54 | 2015, The Scent of Dharma in the Tea Garden

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