“An Education of Virtue”

After this year’s October Ho’on’ko I did something that I had been looking forward to for a long time: to attend 4 days at the Kenshin Gakuin (Buddhist training academy) in Fukui prefecture, about a 9 0 - minute drive from the Toyama headquarters. Many times I had heard from people what a great experience they had at the academy and the positive effects it had on them, and this built up my desire to go there and have a firsthand experience. I heard how people learned to clean, organize, and correct their behavior. I was curious and excited to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity to better myself from teachers that I could trust whose only desire was to guide one and all towards the light. On this planet, so few have a connection to Amida Buddha to be able to attend a lecture at the Great Hall in Toyama; yet fewer still have a connection to go to the academy for training. When the right conditions came around for me to attend this time, it was a chance I took with both hands.

From the day I arrived at the academy it was down to business immediately and we were given instructions on what the day would be. The staff was friendly, and let us know of the schedule ahead of time so there was no confusion. When we were told to be someplace at a certain time, we were expected to be there on time. In fact, I learned that it is good to be on time as opposed to being late; however, it’s better to be early. Plan to be there five or ten minutes ahead of schedule. Not being on time is not just bad for me, but it means that it prevents other people from starting if they are waiting for me. If I am late I become the cause of wasting some else’s time, I learned. Being on time is being considerate and thoughtful towards others, too.

Each day began at 6am with a greeting and exercises. We were told how important it is to greet. Each morning say, ‘good morning.’ This is how to start the day. We should say this greeting even if we don’t get a reply. I learned that we should not allow ourselves to be brought down to someone else’s level who doesn’t want to greet. Give a greeting with enthusiasm and a smile in order to show that you are open, and to open the other person’s mind.

At the academy, I heard that a 3-year-old can understand what is being taught, but that an adult can find it difficult to put into practice. The things that are taught there on the surface might sound simple, but to put them into daily practice takes dedicated effort. It is easy to clean my home one day, but how many people do you know who can clean the home each and every day?

Each morning there is cleaning. Cleaning is an essential part of training at the academy. By cleaning often I became aware of how crucial it is to keep a place clean. I heard that as a member of Shinrankai we aim to be people who like to do cleaning and laundry. In order to spread the teaching of Buddhism we must have a good appearance first of all. Therefore it is necessary for us to keep ourselves and our clothes clean and in order. The first impression that people have of me is important. What people see of me is what they will think I am, so it is necessary to put a best foot forward and be prepared at all times. What person will listen to Buddhism from those whose appearance is unkempt? How can you trust someone who does not appear to take care of themselves, this is the message I learned.

And there is cleaning after eating. The kitchen and dining room are spotlessly cleaned after each meal. Having clean and organized surroundings has a positive effect on one’s mind. Since the goal of Buddhism is to resolve the urgent matter of the afterlife, then how we conduct our lives takes on added importance.

I had a wonderful experience at the academy with people from all over the world and learned things that I know will keep my mind on the path going towards the light in the quickest way. I hope other members who have not yet attended the 4-days training will take an opportunity to do so as soon as possible. I highly recommend it!

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #23 | 2013, -“An Education of Virtue”

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