Personal Memoir: Where Did My Late Wife’s Soul Go?

Dr. Takashi Shimabukuro, an obstetrician and gynecologist, who comes to the 2000-Tatami-Mat Hall twice a month from Okinawa Prefecture, expresses his joy of having met Buddhism.

My wife of 35 years passed away in September 2010. Abashed by the sudden wind of impermanence, I lost my motivation to go on and barely managed to go to work. Since all of my four children lived out of the prefecture, I felt inconsolably alone and forlorn.

In the Heart of an Atheist

A few days after my wife's passing, even though I had been an atheist until then, my mind became preoccupied with such questions as ?Where has she gone and what is she doing now?' I started spending most of my spare time reading and I devoured books such as Motivation to Live by Iida Fumihiko and many religious texts as well. In particular, I was moved by books about Master Shinran, and before I knew it, every morning before dawn, I was visiting the True Pure Land Buddhist temple, where I had my late wife's funeral officiated. For 100 days, I bicycled 3-4 kilometers (1.8-2.5 miles) to practice deep breathing meditation and prayed so that I could feel my wife's presence and talk to her.

It was around that time that I came across Shinrankai's website. I began reading brochures on Buddhism since then and participated in a Buddhist study group for the first time at the end of last February. As I listened to Mr. Unoki Shuichi, the Chief of the Okinawa chapter, admittedly rather incredulously at first, I found myself gravitating to the teachings and began to practice my morning chant at the Okinawa Shinran Center. Whenever I had questions, Mr. Unoki kindly answered them one by one with care and thoughtfulness. After participating in Gotan-e (Celebration of Master Shinran's birth) in June, I humbly became a Shinran follower and started to visit the 2000-Tatami-Mat Hall twice a month.

Warmth Found in Strictness

Hoping to learn more about Master Shinran's teachings, I, in gratitude, attended training at the Buddhist Academy in Awara City, Fukui Prefecture. I will never forget the four days I spent at the school: There was warmth in the strictness of the teachings. Invisible yet irreplaceable gifts from the teachers and peers were heaped upon me. By the same token, I was made aware of my shortcomings and was discouraged by the discovery; however, rather than sinking into depression, I was able to take them in strides, thanks to Amida's power and everyone's sincere effort to adhere to his teachings.

While I have much to improve, I strive to be a true Shinran follower one step at a time. Following the training, I was appointed as a Web Conference host. I am now determined to convey Master Shinran's teachings to my four children, my brothers and their families.

By Dr. Takashi Shimabukuro Source: The Buddhist Village Times #13 | 2012, Personal Memoir: Where Did My Late Wife’s Soul Go?

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