Letters to Takamori Sensei from Dharma Friends

How Unreliable Things Are that We Depend on Bita Asakura, Los Angeles

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for teaching us the parable of “The Rich man and the Beggar Son,” written in the Lotus Sutra. I became aware of the mind-bendingly long period of time that Amida Buddha has spent with utmost fervor in order to save us. Through the online system, my father also here in Los Angeles could listen to the interpretation of your lecture in English.

As he could not understand some parts in English, I explained to him in Farsi, my mother tongue. My father listened fervently. He is currently battling an illness. First I explained to him the content of Takamori Sensei’s Message for 2013: I explained to him that there is a time bomb not only in various infrastructures like a bridge that suddenly collapses or the tremendously heavy ceiling tiles of a tunnel that unexpectedly fall down on passing cars, crushing them to death; the time bomb exists in each one of us too. That’s why all people must listen to Buddhism to find a solution for it.

My father replied that he cannot understand something that is invisible to him. My father has several times been betrayed by people and have lost a lot of money. This time, he feels betrayed even by his own body. I explained to him about the Japanese couple who had lost all their possessions in the Northeast earthquake and tsunami of Japan. But they tried to feel grateful due to the fact that they still had their only one son. He was unharmed through the natural disaster that struck Japan in 2011.

However, this time their only son, who was working in a Japanese company in Africa was killed due to terrorism. My father was deeply moved by Buddhism which teaches how unreliable things we depend on are. Then I explained to him the Parable of the Rich Man and the Beggar Son in Farsi. I would like to make more effort to convey to my father in Farsi the depth of the teaching of Buddhism. I asked my father to contemplate on Amida Buddha and his Pure Land and recite the nembutsu.

He replied he was always mindful of that. Life is indeed like a dream. When it is time to leave this world and all the joys fade, where is one to go in the world to come? I feel tremendously grateful to learn about this one issue continuously from you. Thank you very much. I would like to share this truth with as many people as I can. Please take good care of yourself too. (March 5, 2013)

What We Need is Spiritual Affluence Hiroki Shima, Los Angeles

Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to listen to a special webinar. All humans board a big ship that heads toward the basin of a waterfall called death. Therefore, we do not have any true peace of mind and satisfaction. After the March 11, 2011 Japan Northeastern earthquake, many Japanese people reflected on Kizuna (the ties of togetherness) and the mindset to support each other.

However, the problem of an “indifferent society” in Japan has not been eliminated yet. As the job market is unstable and the number of people that never marry increases, a “sense of isolation” is highlighted. In Japan, the rate of people who live alone in a household is almost 40%. There is great anxiety that the number of elderly people dying in solitude will increase drastically.

Similarly, in the USA, the number of poor and needy homeless people living on the streets is increasing. The number of homeless children is over 150,000. The number of people who receive food stamps is 46 million. Currently, the unemployment rate is at its worst. Lots of Americans are anxious about these things. 40 years ago, the former King of Bhutan proclaimed to the United Nations that we need to aim at spiritual affluence rather than economic prosperity in a world where people are in pursuit of economic development.

In those days, the international society disregarded his belief and labeled his idea as utopianism. However, the world is now paying attention to Bhutan, where 97% of people feel happy. Happiness is a matter of concern for everybody. The entire country has entered a critical stage where they need to establish an epoch-making national policy to lead people to attain happiness. It is clear that people are searching for the path to true happiness. I am keenly aware that sharing the teachings of Master Shinran is the way to save all humanity in a real sense.

Theodore Roosevelt was impressed with the story of the lordless samurai of Ako domain, the deadliest warriors in Japan. Likewise, I want to move people’s hearts in the USA and across the world by promulgating Master Shinran’s teachings. Currently, thanks to the remodeling of Los Angeles Shinran Center, our center is changing marvelously day by day. I want to invite as many people as possible. Thank you very much Takamori Sensei. I hope you take great care of yourself. (February 28, 2013)

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #29 | 2013, Letters to Takamori Sensei from Dharma Friends

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