Noriko Ishida (47), a homemaker who has been living in Germany for more than 20 years, achieved her long-time goal of listening to the essence of Buddhism at the 2,000-Tatami Hall. “Naze Ikiru 2 gave birth to a new dream,” said Noriko, “I would like to act as a bridge to spread the true teaching of Master Shinran to the German people.”
She met Buddhism 27 years ago when she was in Ryukoku University in Kyoto prefecture. Noriko was encouraged to listen to Buddhism by a friend, and she continued listening when she entered the workforce. Enduring many hardships such as her workplace going bankrupt and having to say a heartbreaking farewell to close friends, she left Japan for Germany to start all over from scratch.
Though she worked various jobs, such as that of a dental assistant, in the end her false belief that a change of environment could bring happiness collapsed. That was when she remembered Takamori-sensei’s lectures. Time goes fast. Six years had already passed since she left Japan. However, she was fortunate enough to be able to attend Takamori-sensei’s lecture commemorating the 40th anniversary of Jodo Shinshu Shinrankai. She asked herself, “Takamori-sensei still risks his life on lectures solely to teach about the great problem of the afterlife. Have I experienced any satisfaction or joy from the bottom of my heart?” Noriko acknowledges a great debt to her Buddhist friends from school for helping her with this long 9,000km journey to visit the 2,000-Tatami-Mat Hall.
As a matter of fact, Satoshi Suzuki and Mayumi Unoki have sent the Kensho Shinbun to Noriko even after she left Japan for Germany. Satoshi was delighted at Noriko’s connection with Buddha. He said, “Noriko could come to visit the 2,000-Tatami- Mat Hall, as her family in Germany trust her.”
Thanks to those Buddhist friends, she has already visited the 2,000-Mat Hall from Germany seven times. She makes a continued effort to practice good deeds to her family on a day to day basis, since “the wife’s smile is the light of the home”. She said, “Since listening to Buddhism is very important, maintaining our health becomes important, too. I want my family members to listen to Buddhism, so what I can do now is to cook healthy food and be a good mom and wife at home.”
Her oldest daughter and son are gradually catching onto “the law of cause and effect.” She tries to convey the law of cause and effect through familiar topics like “If you want to do well at school, the most important thing is to make a lot of effort.” She talks about the inconsistencies in Christianity. “In Germany, many people claim that whatever happens when they run into trouble is not their fault. Admitting that they were wrong is equal to losing. The society is filled with everlasting jealousy and animosity, since nobody knows the law of cause and effect.” In such a society, Naze Ikiru 2 offers mental and spiritual sustenance. She reads the book carefully so that she does not miss essential parts. “Whether we get aboard the great ship of Amida Buddha’s Vow or not is critically important for all human beings. I promise to develop camaraderie with many Buddhist friends in Germany,” she said.
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #38 | 2014, A Bridge between Buddhism and Germany with Naze Ikiru 2
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The Buddhist Village Times #38