“Though I Have Always Heard That We Meet Only to Part …”
As Master Shinran says, “Among the Eight Sufferings, the anguish of parting is the most unbearable” (Notes on Oral Transmissions), nothing is more painful in life than losing loved ones. However, while going through grief, there were quite a few people who had chances to listen to Buddhism by joining the memorial service for the deceased Shinran Followers. Let us introduce a Buddhist friend.
Buddhism is for Living People
Kisaburo Ide of Yokohama City said, “After joining the Memorial Lecture, my view of Bon has changed completely.” He lost his wife Shizuko six years ago. “It was when our only daughter was 19 that my wife died. I think she was looking forward to our daughter’s coming-of–age celebration, marriage, and her getting a job. I never thought she would pass away so young.”
While wondering how to do a memorial service for his wife, he found in the newspaper the ad for a lecture on Buddhism and took part in it. Until then, he had no ties to Buddhism. He had a vague belief that a temple’s role was to recite nembutsu for the dead and maintain the graves. “I didn’t know at all that Jodo Shin Buddhism teaches ‘Heizei gojo’( we can accomplish the purpose of life while we are alive), and I, as a living person, must listen to it.”
Ide learned that Jodo Shin Buddhism’s true object of reverence is the Name, whose virtue is supreme and profound, and saves us in a split second (Ichinen). He attended the granting ceremony on the day before the Memorial Service.
“Most people regard Bon as the day when relatives gather and talk about family memories, and so did I. But it’s wrong. Bon is the day when we should listen seriously to ‘Why we live’. Thanks to my wife, I can listen to Buddhism in the 2,000-Tatami- Mat Hall,” said Ide, looking at the list of the deceased on the wall of the corridor.
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #45 | 2014, The Deceaced Wife Guides the Husband
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