In February, two Shinran followers from Brazil visited Honolulu to share Buddhism with students at the University of Hawaii, Marcos Persegil and Soraia Matsunaga. They spent every day walking around the campus asking students: “Have you ever heard of Buddhism? Did you know that Buddha taught about the purpose of life?”
Two years ago, Marcos and Soraia left Brazil with the sole purpose of dedicating their lives to listening to Buddhism directly from Takamori Sensei in Toyama, Japan. The more they heard the teaching, the more they wanted to share with others. However, the difficulty of speaking Japanese prevented them from doing what they wanted so eagerly. While struggling to learn Japanese, Soraia thought that maybe she could go to a place not so far away from Japan, and share Buddhism in English.
After staying one month in Hawaii, she came back to Japan with a big smile on her face. “Everyday, I was able to talk about Buddhism in English, sharing with the students what I have learned in Japan. It was really a marvelous experience, a dream come true,” she said, her heart filled with satisfaction.
In Hawaii, we were hosted by Ms. Helen Hayashi that lives very close to the beach of Hawaii Kai. From there we went to University of Hawaii campus and talked to students for five hours daily. Every week we distributed one thousand flyers, which carried the words, “Why do we live?” and “Dark mind, t h e root cause of suffering,” inviting students to participate in a seminar on Buddhism that was held on Fridays.
Both Soraia and Marcos grew up speaking Portuguese, but they can also speak English as they studied the language in college. This helped them explain the concepts of Buddhism to the people in Hawaii. While they conveyed Buddhism to students, they realized how difficult it was to make anyone understand what Buddha taught.
Many people would say, “I am busy,” “I’m not interested,” or “I believe in God that created humans and their destiny.” Yet, day in day out, they kept talking to students about the purpose of life, why we live, and the difference between true and relative happiness. Then, little by little people began paying attention as they explained very carefully. There was a man who had said that he was not interested, but ended up coming to the meeting and paid very close attention. In this way, more and more people came to the seminar and they all engaged in a lively discussion over the issue “why we live.” “When we first invited students to come to the seminar, very few people showed up. It was discouraging, but at the same time, this was a lesson that made us realize how privileged and fortunate we were for being able to hear the teachings of Buddha,” said Marcos, and Soraia added: “No matter how carefully we tried to explain Buddhism, it was hard for them to understand. Then, I realized that it was because I was the one who had not understood the teaching myself.”
I saw both deepening their understanding of Buddhism by teaching others, and that made me realize that only through practice we can really learn what Buddha taught. 2 Brazilians Visit Hawaii, Spread Buddhism Then, little by little people began paying attention as they explained very carefully. There was a man who had said that he was not interested, but ended up coming to the meeting and paid very close attention. In this way, more and more people came
By Alice Marsh, Missionary
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #05 | 2011, 2 Brazilians Visit Hawaii, Spread Buddhism
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Buddhist Village Times #5