International Exchange Meeting
Providing the Answer to the Purpose of Life to All Human Beings
In October of last year, on the first day of the congregation to repay our debt of gratitude to Master Shinran (Ho’onko)/55th Anniversary of Jodo Shinshu Shinrankai, an international exchange meeting took place, and Buddhist friends from abroad were introduced at the 2,000-Tatami Hall. Drawn by the virtue of Master Shinran, Shinran Followers of different backgrounds and cultures overcame the barriers in their way to make their dreams of listening to Master Shinran’s teachings at the 2000 Tatami-Hall come true. A crowd of Shinran Followers gave the overseas Shinran Followers, who are part of the Supreme Buddha’s drama, an enthusiastic round of applause.
Now is My Only Chance to Repay My Debt of Gratitude for These 55 Years “I will build a Shinran Center in my hometown at any cost!”
“Reflecting on Takamori- sensei’s patience and arduous hard work, my whole family decided to visit the 2000-Tatami Hall together,” Katanosaka said.
At the international exchange meeting, Katanosaka shared his feelings towards building a Shinran Center in Brazil. “A place we used to use for Buddhist lectures and discussion in Suzano City in Sao Paolo ceased to be available for several reasons. We were worried about what we should do.
Reading the Kensho Newsletter (Japanese- language Shinrankai newsletter), we came to know that many Shinran Centers were being built around Japan. We thought that now was the time to repay our debt of gratitude, and we made up our minds to build a Shinran Center on my lot as a new base. Knowing how much we are indebted to Master Shinran and Takamori- sensei, we do not think that building a Shinran Center is enough to repay our debt; however, we promise that we will overcome whatever hardships we may face until the completion of this Shinran Center.”
The construction of the Shinran Center began the week after the congregation to repay our debt of gratitude to Master Shinran. Katanosaka said, “The week in Japan went by surprisingly fast, especially Takamori-sensei’s lecture. We felt we wanted to listen to more on Buddhism from Takamori-sensei. However, we had a wonderful time visiting the 2000-Tatami- mat Hall for the 55th Anniversary of Jodo Shinshu Shinrankai.”
It is all thanks to Amida Buddha that we were able to visit the 2,000-Tatami Hall.
Leonardo Castelano, a professor of physics at Sao Carlos National University in Brazil, was invited by his friend Marcos Persegil to visit the 2000-Tatami-Mat Hall for the congregation to repay the debt of gratitude to Master Shinran (Ho’onko) in October, and so he bought an airplane ticket. Nevertheless, the thing which troubled him the most was whether he could take time off work.
He thought it would be easier to go to Japan for a speaking engagement in his field of research. He contacted a university professor he knew in Japan and asked if he could deliver a speech at that Japanese university. Soon he received a message from the professor in Japan saying, “We would very much like you to deliver a speech about your research at our university.”
Then he adjusted his schedule so that he could come to Japan before Ho’onko took place at Shinrankai. “Right after delivering a speech at the University of Tokyo, I departed to Toyama Prefecture to listen to the teachings of Master Shinran from Takamori-sensei. The more I think about how well things went for me to listen to Buddhism in Japan, the more gratitude I feel toward Amida Buddha, as everything was down to his workings,” he said, lowering his head in humility.
Leonardo actually held his wedding ceremony at the Shinrankai Headquarters 8 years ago when the 2,000-Tatami-Mat Hall was inaugurated, so he rejoiced from the bottom of his heart over coming back this year.
United States Kids & Moms’ Meeting Learning About the Law of Cause and Effect
A “Kids & Moms’” meeting, which is held for mothers and elementary school students in Los Angeles Palos Verdes Library, is very popular now.
These meetings started in August this year. Missionary Harada gives lectures about topics such as the law of cause and effect. Children who have attended these meetings have started helping at home and expressing their gratitude. Their impressed mothers have been telling others about the meetings; as a result, participants continue to grow and now there are 8 mothers and 16 children who are studying there together.
The meetings started thanks to Makiko Yamada, who invited Miki, the mother of her daughter’s friend, to a Buddhist study session. Miki in turn invited her friend, a fellow mother, who was impressed by the law of cause and effect. The three then became eager to hold a meeting for children. “I would like to expand the circle of friends and invite non-Japanese mothers too,” said Makiko.
“There is a Point of Completion to Amida’s Salvation Clearly Understanding the Difference from Christianity"
A third-generation Japanese- American who lives in Los Angeles, Gary Inoue (60), used to work as a developmental engineer and had come in contact with many religions since he was a teenager. He once enrolled in a Sunday school at a temple on recommendation from his parents, who were Pure Land Buddhists. He also went to various churches of different Christian sects as introduced by his Christian friends.
This year, after he retired from work, he happened to stop by at Palos Verdes library, where he attended one of the monthly Buddhist classes that Shinrankai members hold there. He was surprised by the logical teachings of Buddhism and recently started listening to Buddhism twice or three times a week. He comes to the Shinran Center in Los Angeles (Gardena) almost every day to chant.
During the lecture of the 55th anniversary this year, he was impressed by the teaching of ‘Heizei gojo’, which means the ultimate purpose of life can be achieved in this life. He said, “Christianity and other religions tell you to ‘just believe.’ But there is no point of graduation to such faith. Amida’s salvation alone has a point of completion.”
Gary swore that he will listen to Buddhism more intently than ever before, and that he will go back to the 2000-Tatami-Mat Hall again.
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #35 | 2014, International Exchange Meeting
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