Around thirty followers who belong to the Oyabe Center visited the Shikoku Center to communicate with Shikoku followers on January 13. They could deepen their ties by attending the two-day event at the Shikoku Center. Missionary Junko Miyamoto who originally planned this tour said, “I wanted to see how Shikoku followers use their Center to share true Buddhism.” Followers in the southern west area of Toyama prefecture in Oyabe were the first in Japan to build a Shinran Center. Furthermore, this year, the East Nanto Center is scheduled to be constructed.
Their desire to have some form of activity at the Center each day is high. Many elder followers attended the tour even though it was not easy as it involved a sixteen-hour drive round trip and lodging at the Shikoku Center. Followers of Oyabe Center know well the importance of taking prompt actions when going towards the light. While the population of Pure Land Buddhists is small in the Shikoku area, Shikoku followers built their local Center following the Center in Oyabe. They are expanding the wheel of Dharma by organizing thought-provoking events every month. Their joint events included, in the morning, a walk-n-observe of the Center and a video lecture. At lunch they enjoyed Udon, the specialty food of the region.
They held a party thereafter. Some of the followers who have been listening to Buddhism for over four decades shared their memories of being with Takamori Sensei. Some people visited the 2000-Tatami- Mat Hall once they came to know Shinrankai through watching the animated movies of Master Shinran. Some followers in Shikoku area said, “I am so glad to have ties with the longtime followers!” “I was motivated to go to the headquarters because some followers who came all the way from Toyama prefecture told me that they wanted to see me again at the 2000-Tatami- Mat Hall.” Followers in Toyama prefecture were impressed with the attitude of Shikoku members who never expressed a sign of fatigue even though they came to the 2000-Tatami-Mat Hall from far away. Oyabe members were encouraged. They were reminded of Master Rennyo’s words, “Even if you live far away, if you seek for Buddhism earnestly, you are actually close to Buddhism in heart.” The managers of both centers shook hands tightly to have a bond of “Sister- Centers.” Missionary Koichi Mouri, who is in charge of the Shikoku area said, “Thanks to our Shinran Center, we were able to organize this event successfully. As new Centers are being successively built, I would like to have more opportunities to communicate with the followers of other regions.”
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #26 | 2013, A Tour to Shikoku Shinran Center Creates A Friendly Bridge
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