Thirty thousand, six hundred and fifty one. This is the number of people who committed suicide last year in Japan. I was almost going to be counted as one of the persons who had committed suicide. I received a flier and thanks to Master Shinran and Takamori-sensei, I am now standing on this stage!
I had a pessimistic mind like a load of lead weighing heavily on me, and I was always thinking about death. Sixty years ago, I was born in a deep mountain in Shimane prefecture. When I was eight, my brother cut a big tree and the tree hit my mother’s head. She passed away miserably in front of me with her skin of the head removed. My father had a deep sorrow because his wife passed away.
My brother was in agony since he killed our mother accidentally. The atmosphere of my house became like lead weighing on us heavily every day. Five years after my mother died, my brother suffered so much that at the young age of twenty five, he suddenly passed away. When I was twenty years old, my father went to the hospital because of a disease. Soon his health condition got worse and passed away at the age of sixty three. In this way, I became all alone at the age of twenty.
After three years, I met my wife. We made a house and we were blessed with three children. I thought I could finally acquire happiness. However, my wife suffered from a kidney disease and became hospitalized. After seven years of fighting with her disease, she died at the age of fifty one. It was the year when my youngest child was twenty years old. Suffering weighed heavily on me and made me think about committing suicide.
“I won’t be able to attain happiness no matter what. I am a devil that leads everyone to misfortune. So, it’s better to die now. However, death is so dreadful…” After thirteen years of carrying this heavy weight of suffering, I was almost about to commit suicide when a flier arrived at my house last July. I went to the lecture hall and I saw an animated movie of Master Shinran. “Like the cherry blossom, the heart planning on tomorrow is ephemeral indeed- what sudden storm may not arise in the middle of the night?”
Oh, Master Shinran! You also had to part with your father and mother. Then you had the bond with Amida Buddha! “I want to meet with Takamori-sensei who made this animated movie!”
In August, I went to the 2,000-Tatami-Mat Hall for the first time. On that day I heard the law of cause and effect. I was really surprised by what I learned from the lecture. “All of your destiny is brought about by your own actions.” “What!? Even my loneliness and agonies are all determined by myself?” Listening to the morning lecture, I suffered a lot. I don’t know how many times I tried to raise one hand and shout out, “Takamori-sensei, please stop it!”
However, I could feel the great compassion of Amida Buddha behind the strict law of cause and effect. Warm compassion of Amida Buddha exists. Mysteriously, the more I listened to the teachings, the more I felt as if the heavy weight was being lifted off of my shoulder. Thanks to the warm light of the sun, the snow melts away. I felt this 2,000-Tatami-Mat Hall is like my hometown. It is so nostalgic; this lecture hall is full of affection. I never imagined I would be standing here giving this speech.
Last September, I received the correct object of reverence and I became a Shinran follower. Every month, I come to Toyama, my spiritual hometown. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my mother, my father, my brother, and my wife. “Thank you very much! Human form is difficult to obtain; I have already attained it. Buddhist truth is difficult to hear; I have already heard it. If I do not achieve salvation in this lifetime, when will I ever do so?”
I kept on suffering so much carrying a heavy burden that I always thought about death. Now I know my purpose of life clearly. I was saved at such a critical time. I can’t help but to say thank you to Amida Buddha, Master Shinran and Takamorisensei. Thank you so very much. I need to share Buddhism with people who are suffering carrying a heavy burden just like I was suffering. Don’t you think people around you are having such a heavy burden? Please convey the message of Buddhism.
by Kiyoshi Moriyama
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #39 | 2014, I Felt the Great Compassion of Amida behind the Strict Law of Cause and Effect
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