It Is a Wonder that the Sour Turns into Sweetness
Yukimasa Aoyama, Kanagawa Prefecture
There are two things in particular that made an impression on me. One is that we don’t know the difference between the “branches and leaves” and the “root” of suffering, and the other is what will happen to the “branches and leaves” after the “root” is eliminated. Many people think, “If only I didn’t have this issue, I would be happy,” but all such things are “branches and leaves” of suffering. No matter how hard we try to eliminate them, we cannot do it. The tragedy of us human beings is that we mistake the “branches and leaves” for the “root.” Moreover, even if the “root” of suffering is eliminated, the “branches and leaves of suffering” will neither decrease nor disappear. Despite the fact that Master Shinran taught us this in his work Concerning Single Invocation and Many Invocations, I find myself thinking that the “branches and leaves of suffering” will decrease after salvation. My delusion is really deep-seated. The “branches and leaves” of suffering will never disappear, but they will turn into happiness. This can be compared to the process in which the sourness of unripe persimmons turns into sweetness once they ripen. It is a world far beyond my imagination. I will head for this world and listen to Buddhism seriously.
What Needs to be Sought; The Fundamental Solution to Human Suffering
Fumi Yoshida, Toyama Prefecture
I cannot thank you enough for the opportunity to attend the inauguration ceremony and the Q&A session to celebrate the completion of a Shinran Center in my birthplace, Tohoku. We live our lives with many kinds of suffering, and while we devote so much time each day to trying to solve our problems, our fleeting life just slips by. I learned that our everyday suffering is the “branches and leaves of suffering” and that we shouldn’t mistake these for the root of suffering that Amida Buddha has promised to eliminate for us. The joy Amida Buddha gives us is not temporary, but rather an eternal happiness. Suffering itself will turn into happiness, so we must hurry to solve the root of human suffering. The Supreme Buddha wishes to eliminate the root of human suffering and grant us eternal joy, but all I am preoccupied with is eliminating the “branches and leaves” of suffering and getting fulfillment out of such temporary happiness. I have come to see what a foolish and sinful existence I have been leading, lacking as I am in motivation to solve the root of my suffering.
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #49 | 2015, It Is a Wonder that the Sour Turns into Sweetness
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