Let us introduce our Buddhist friends who joined the Correct Object of Reverence Granting Ceremony on the day before the Youth Assembly on June 14 and officially became Shinran Followers.
Amida’s Great Compassion Saves Me “As I Am.”
"I only knew of emptiness and foolishness in my life, but my encounter with true Buddhism has saved me."
On March 11 four years ago, Emi Takahashi, who was visiting a house in Sendai City as a home care worker, finished making dinner and turned off the cooker. Right after that, she felt a strong shake.
On the way home, her car navigation system displayed the image of a tsunami surging over a coastal area in her prefecture. Bridges had collapsed and roads had been cut off. She was unable to reach her only son, who attended a junior high school in the city, or her husband, who was living in Yamagata Prefecture for work purposes.
“I'm never going to see my family again.” Fearing the worst, she just stood still in her house, where dishes and other such things were scattered all over the place. “It was only a couple of hours before a school teacher brought my son back home, but I felt as if an age had passed until then.”
All lifelines, including electricity and running water, were cut off. Emi and her son carried water back home in plastic bottles, and they would pour this water over themselves in place of showers. They had to do this for one month.
Her parents’ house in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, was also badly affected by the earthquake. Though she had escaped the nuclear accident and the tsunami, the earthquake left great damage in her life and she could not help thinking, “We cannot rely on anything that has form. What is true happiness?”
Two years ago, when the first stage of reconstruction in the disaster- stricken areas had been completed, Emi dropped by at a book store to pick up a book on Buddhism, thinking she would find peace of mind by learning about it. However, no matter how hard she tried to tranquil her mind in accordance with what was written in the book, which said she should read sutras aloud and put her hands together in prayer in front of a statue of Buddha, hatred, anger and sadness just welled up in her mind.
“I can’t control or reduce these thoughts. I’m not qualified to learn Buddhism,” she thought, blaming herself and suffering.
Then, last October, she found out through the Internet that Buddhist seminars were being held in Sendai City. When she attended one of them, she was introduced to You Were Born For A Reason. Attracted by the title, she read the book carefully and was surprised to see that the true self, which cannot be glossed over, was described clearly in the book.
Her view of Buddhism has changed drastically and she now looks forward to attending every Buddhist lecture. This time, she attended the Youth Assembly as a Shinran Follower. “When I learned that Amida’s great compassion saves me, a being who lacks any truth, as I am, I just cried. I want my husband, who has returned from Yamagata, and my son, who is now a high school student, to listen to Buddhism too,” she said with a smile.
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #55 | 2015, I Too Have Become A Shinran Follower
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