There are many who are searching for the true teachings of Pure Land Buddhism. However, those who can meet with it are so rare. Conveying the true teachings is an urgent matter. Let’s read a speech by a missionary that used to convey Buddhism in Brazil.
From each and every flower, thirty- six hundred billion rays shine out brilliantly, leaving no corner untouched.
On this 750th Anniversary of Master Shinran, petals of joy are whirling across the ocean from the 2,000 Tatami- Mat-Hall all the way to Brazil. On January 4th, when the New Year had barely begun, one young Brazilian man visited the Shinran Center in São Paulo. Once he entered the Shinran Center and was shown to the main hall, he placed his palms together and bowed deeply in front of the altar.
So who was this man? His name is David Carlos. He is thirty-two years old and works at a famous beauty salon in São Paulo city. He had always been thirsting for answers. “Why am I here? Why I was born? Life is suffering and my worries are incessant. Am I going to just become an adult and then die having always felt like this?”
The older he got and the more he knew about the world, the larger his worries became. “In this world full of discrimination, war, and suffering, why do I live?” He went through teaching after teaching in search for the answer. He read many books, looked on the Internet, and even went to SGI, which was nearby to him.
However, the answer was nowhere to be found. Betrayed by his search, his hopes had been dashed each time. “Ah… why do I live? I want to know the meaning of life!”
Before he knew it, he was in his twenties, and he felt both impatient and resigned, but then he suddenly remembered the day when he first listened to Buddhism at an acquaintance’s lecture that he’d attended with his family. “Buddhism probably has the answer!”
As if moved by some force, David started to read all the Buddhist books he could find. Finally, he met the words of Master Shinran. “How grievous! As I, most foolish Shinran, am swallowed in the vast sea of lust and troubled by the great mountain of [desire for] fame and wealth…”
Master Shinran candidly confessed that he was “the vilest and most depraved of sinners,” yet he also expressed overflowing joy with the words, “How joyful I am!” David had never heard teachings like this, and his whole being was abuzz with inspiration. “I’m sure that it is Master Shinran who will quench my thirst. I want to know his teachings!” he thought.
So David went to Higashi Honganji in São Paulo. He earnestly wanted to know the true meaning of Master Shinran’s words. He received a Buddhist name there, and he placed an altar in his room, where he enshrined a statue of Amida as an object of reverence. He never skipped his morning or evening chanting, and he never missed a Buddhist lecture.
However, the more he listened to the teachings, the more he realized how hard they were to understand. He wasn’t even sure whether salvation existed or not. “Are these really the true teachings of Master Shinran? Isn’t something amiss?” he wondered
Seven years passed while doubt and anxiety still gripped him. “Oh, where is Master Shinran? I have no time to waste!” Restless, David left Honganji, and thanks to the marvelous power of the Supreme Buddha, he came to Shinrankai in January. When David listened to a lecture by Takamori-sensei for the fi rst time, he saw the purpose of life clearly elucidated in the words of Master Shinran. “This is it! This is what I wanted to hear!”
He couldn’t hold back his tears. “How happy I am! I have now encountered what there was not the slightest chance of encountering! I have now heard what never could have been heard!” His heart brimming with joy, he was reborn as a Shinran Follower.
Curiously, in April of this year, the Portuguese version of Takamori-sensei’s book ‘Something You Forgot… Along the Way’ was published. Who knows how many people are desperately seeking the true teachings of Master Shinran in Brazil. The Portuguese version of ‘Something You Forgot… Along the Way’ is Takamori- sensei’s gift of Dharma rain upon people who are suffering.
David said, “This time I will bring this book to those who are yearning for it.” Exactly! Only Shinran Followers can convey the truth to the aspirants that seem about to burst forth.
Let us Shinran Followers go toward the light without hesitation and proceed on the path where fl owers bloom, holding our supreme mission in our hearts.
Takuto Kunimi, missionary
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #33 | 2013, Let’s Go Forward on the Flowery Path
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