Buddhist Friends There Hope to “Survive and Listen to Buddhism.”
Tohoku district is now struggling to rise from the great earthquake. Missionaries and video lecturers are not only delivering relief supplies to the disaster victims but trying their best to bring honey drops of dharma, the teachings of Buddha, in order to assist the “mental recovery” of the victims. People in the area express their joy, saying that they “have learned the purpose of life” through the disaster. Moreover, some of our Buddhist friends have moved to Toyama in order to listen to Buddhism more earnestly and work even harder.
Hirotaka Akiyoshi (photo) is one of the video lecturers who is going around the disaster area. He is delivering relief supplies to Shinran followers and other people living in the coastal regions in Miyagi and continues to offer the teachings with great patience.
On April 12, for the first time after the earthquake, Akiyoshi finally talked with K, who just started to listen to Buddhism in February.
He showed Sakyamuni Buddha’s words, “To be born human is a rare blessing; to listen to Buddhism is a rare blessing” and told that the purpose of life is taught in Buddhism. Then K said, “I thought that Buddhism teaches how to live, but it was a great mistake. I am so grateful to Amida Buddha’s great compassion I have learned the true meaning of life. Whatever may happen to me, I want to survive and listen to Buddhism.” K also says with a gleam in his eye that he will come to the 2000-tatami-mat Hall as soon as he gets his life back to normal.
M and H say that through Kensho newspaper, they learned why Master Shinran constantly conveyed Amida Buddha’s Vow. “We really appreciated food and other aid from all of you,” they repeated the words of gratitude for relief supplies, which were offered in the hope of their “attaining Amida’s salvation.”
Y, who has still been living in an evacuation center, received Kensho newspaper (April 15th issue) and read the article, “Buddhist concepts at the root of Japanese thoughts.” Reading the cited passage from Introduction in Unlocking Tannisho, “With these ideas as a mainstay ideas rooted in the teachings of Shinran, Japan rose from the rubble and found courage to go on,” he shed tears and replied, “I don’t want to sit still but want to do something in order to convey Buddhism.”
Moved to Toyama
Meanwhile, the disaster gave an opportunity to move to Toyama. Sachiko Nakajima and her son, Hiroumi, in Ibaraki moved to Toyama in April. “The radiation damage caused by the nuclear accident made me think of coming here. But it happened not because I made a big decision myself. It was like I found myself in Toyama before I knew it. I cannot help feeling that I was moved by Amida Buddha,” says Sachiko.
Her eldest son, Hiroumi, is a high school student. He was reluctant to part from friends and objected to his mother’s suggestion. But while staying at Building F in the Buddhist Village, he thought very hard about it. “The recent earthquake made me feel that all visible things are impermanent. I can’t stay with my friends forever anyway.”
In Ibaraki, when the government warned residents to stay indoors, they were not even able to open the windows. “Here in Toyama, we can leave the windows wide open and breathe as much fresh air as we like. We are very thankful for that,” said the mother and the son with smile.
Maki Tanaka (photo) in Ibaraki resigned her job as an architectural designer and has come to Toyama by herself. She is very eager to be of any help toward conveying the true teachings through design work such as computer graphics. She says with joy, “Since I came to Toyama, I have had far more opportunities to listen to Buddhism.”
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #05 | 2011, Honey drops of Dharma Falling on the Disaster Area
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Buddhist Village Times #05