Now is the Time to Tell Others the Existence of the Grand Ship

​Letters from Buddhist Friends

Master Shinran clearly conveys the existence of a great ship named Amida Buddha’s Vow to all human beings amid the sea of suffering. To share this message of Buddhism, Shinran followers throughout the world have stood up to give it their best shot.

This time, we will introduce several letters from such energetic Buddhist friends.

Now Is the Time To Give It Our Best Shot to Spread the True Teaching of Buddhism. Ken Okada, Aichi prefecture

No matter how much our living standards may have improved and science has progressed, the reality of facing suffering every day still remains the same. No matter how hard we try to live out our ambition, we still must face wave after wave of suffering.

I cannot help but to think that humans are like animals running around madly all day long. Clever people are more likely to commit suicide just because they see life very objectively that to live is to suffer. What is life all about anyway? While stressing ourselves day after day, even overcoming hardships, if life is nothing but a march towards death, what kind of meaning is there in life?

Master Shinran is the one who yelled out “There is a great ship!” amid such a sea of life. However, his exclamation sounds like the talk of a madman in a daze because we are unable to see or hear that great ship.

My connection with Buddha is duly thanks to Master Shinranʼs continuous effort to clearly teach the essence of Buddhism. Now is the time to give it my best shot to convey the existence of the great ship. I am the foolish being of delusion; mindful of that, I would follow and convey the words of Master Shinran thoroughly.

A Strong Ray of Light in My Life First-class architect Kazunori Asakura

It was 30 years ago when the true teaching of Buddhism shone a ray of light into my bleak life. At that time, I could not imagine that I would one day be in my 50s, but time flies. Most of my friends got middle management positions. They are under heavy pressure from their bosses, handle complaints from their subordinates, and they cannot relax even in their homes. Some of them have committed suicide.

We will surely face betrayal by logs and boards one after another and whatʼs worse is that we cannot even keep our body strong forever. The word “aging” might mean that we lose vigor day by day to even find the strength to search for logs or boards to depend on.

There is an incurable disease which causes weakness of the muscles that we use for breathing. A patient dies within 3.5 years of the onset due to respiration failure. Our hopes diminish one by one as we age. I cannot even imagine the pain these patients go through. One may feel the end of his/her days, but canʼt do anything about it. I was stunned at this true figure of all human beings drowning in the sea of suffering.

Only the teaching of Master Shinran sheds a ray of light amid such a painful life. The light of Master Shinranʼs teaching shines more the older I get. I wonʼt waste this chance to listen to Buddhism, which is an opportunity that one is not blessed with even in myriad lifetimes.

Since I started living in Singapore, there is something that has puzzled me about this country. Although Singapore consists of a multiethnic and multi-faith population, I have never heard about religious antagonism. I asked this longstanding question to my friend and got the following answer:

“In Singapore, we do not interfere with each otherʼs religion. We neither ask for conversion nor criticize othersʼ religions.” That means they never assert their religious beliefs. I never see anyone engaged in missionary work or handing out fliers.

All human beings instinctively avoid conflict. However, Master Shinran courageously went the other way. He emphasized “Believe only in Amida Buddha and follow him alone,” and what is more, he ate meat and took a wife. I cannot even imagine what a shock it gave to the world of Buddhism at that time. I am grateful to Master Shinranʼs faith and courage.

It is because he chose with confidence the way to convey the single path for all human beings to be saved. Now I am the only one to spread this truth in Singapore. I will follow the same path which Master Shinran took to convey the true teaching of Buddhism.

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #19 | 2012, Now is the Time to Tell Others the Existence of the Grand Ship

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