The Castle Handcrafted by Members in Tamana
“We promise that we will convey the treasure of Namu Amida Butsu all across the Kyushu region from Kyushu’s very first Shinran Center.” Expressing his goal, Hirokazu Maenozono, (photo left) the director of the Tamana Shinran Center looked back upon the circumstances that motivated them to establish a lecture hall.
While many Shinran Centers began to emerge throughout Japan, neither a Shinran Center nor even a room to listen to Buddhism existed in Kumamoto. Therefore, the first thing we did was to set up Hinokuni classroom. The positive impact of setting up a place for Shinran followers to gather to talk about the teachings was so huge that the circle of Buddhist friends got wider.
Among them, Itaru Fujiie, who is adept at cooking takoyaki, began to attend Buddhist lectures more often and deepened his connection with other Buddhist friends through various events, such as ‘takoyaki & barbecue’ gathering. Shortly thereafter, we found a great place to set up a Shinran Center. However, we sadly missed the opportunity to build there.
Yet our activities to set up a Shinran Center gathered momentum. Finally, Chie Shimizu, the older sister of a Shinran follower named Iwako Tokunaga, offered to let us use her house as a Shinran Center. At first, we thought it would be better to construct a Shinran Center in the city of Kumamoto. Nevertheless, we reached an agreement that we would put our energy and resources into constructing a Shinran Center in Tamana first and build another one in Kumamoto later on in the future.
I must note one thing. Since the webinars began, the house of Iwako Tokunaga had been used as the main place for Chomon (listening to Buddhism). Tokunaga’s bond with Amida Buddha has been deepened as she made good use of her house for Buddhism. It is precisely because she began to realize the importance of listening to Buddhism and moved her sister’s heart through the teachings of Buddhism that her sister made such a precious offer.
Accordingly, a construction committee was formed. Yoshiyuki Miyagawa, a painter, took on the task of renovating the house himself. Fujiie, whose main business is to sharpen knives said, “This is no time to sharpen knives.” He sharpened the blades of a chainsaw instead of knives to trim down weeds and tress, and Tokunaga cleaned up Tamana Shinran Center every day. All local Shinran followers worked together to paint the lecture hall. The main feature of Tamana Shinran Center is that it is all handmade by Shinran followers.
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #36 | 2014, A Donation of A Home to Buddhism
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The Buddhist Village Times #36