At about 9:30 p.m. on April 14, there was a sudden violent tremor that seemed to be bursting out from below. This was followed by aftershocks, and then there was a huge quake before dawn on the 16th. The power and water were cut off, and I couldn’t use even the bathroom in my house. We spent the night in my car, with the sound of ambulance sirens blaring outside.
I made sure that Shinran Followers nearby were safe. On the 15th, I went to see if Kumamoto-Tamana Shinran Center was unharmed. It was only about 20 km away from the epicenter, Mashiki Town, and the quake measured almost 6 on the Japanese seismic scale. However, the Center was still standing there as if nothing had happened.
When I opened the Buddhist altar and bowed to the supreme Buddha with palms pressed together, I felt as if I heard a voice amidst the silence, saying, “Such an earthquake cannot match the crucial matter of the afterlife.” The lifelines of Kumamoto-Tamana Center were safe. The video lecture was held on the 18th as had been scheduled. Many Shinran Followers gathered from such cities as Kumamoto and Uto, saying “Now is the time we should listen to Buddhism.”
We were relieved to see everyone was safe. We listened to a Buddhist lecture on the quote “this world [is] as fleeting and unstable as a burning house” from Lamenting the Deviations. Why do we have to live in a world where everything betrays us and nothing is stable? After the lecture everyone looked cheerful. One woman in her seventies, who lives near the Center and has started listening to Buddhism this year, was so moved that she became a Shinran Follower.
We also shared the relief supplies sent from various places amongst ourselves. At lunchtime, we had warm meals again after a long time without any. We felt very grateful for everyone’s kind support.
A report by Hirokazu Maenosono (pictured), the chief of Kumamoto -Tamana Shinran Center.
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #65 | 2016, Keeping the Crucial Matter of the Afterlife in Mind
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The Buddhist Village Times #65