There are some Buddhist friends who have listened to the the Buddhist teachings together with us this time last year but are not in this world any more. Closing our eyes, we can still see the deceased friends who told us how precious it is to live out one’s life pursuing the truth. “We may have radiant faces in the morning, but in the evening be no more than white bones.” (The Letters). With this maxim in mind, let us appreciate how fortunate we are to be able to listen to Buddhism and swear to the late Shinran Followers that we will give our transient lives only to the teachings of Master Shinran.
Kiyo Igarashi from Niigata Prefecture ( Age at death, 85)
Igarashi had been a Shinran Follower since 1983, when the Niigata Chapter was established. In 1998, she became the vice manager of her chapter and built the foundation of the Buddhist circle around Itoigawa City. Her beloved son, born after 20 years of marriage, was killed in a train accident. It was when he was a ninth-grader in high school. In the midst of her grief, a flyer led her to attend a Buddhist lecture. She thought, “This is the very teaching that will save me,” and began to listen to Buddhism. In Kenshin published in 1998, she wrote the following passage:
“Now I really appreciate the sacred words, ‘To be born human is a rare blessing.’ No matter how pleased I am with this great happiness. I can not be ‘too’ pleased with it. Believing in the Law of Cause and Effect, now I know of my evil nature in every single moment and all I can do is repent. Although I am such a hopeless fool, I enjoy happiness that I never deserve. My only concern that occupies my mind is how to repay the debt of gratitude I owe to Amida Buddha and the teachers who led me, as sung in Ondokusan, Song of Amida’s Grace and Virtue.” Igarashi devoted herself to listening to and conveying Buddhist teachings, taking the lead in setting good examples as a Shinran Follower. In her last year of life, even though she could not go out any longer, she made more offerings than most others. She gave a large contribution to the altar in the Great Lecture Hall, the golden emblem of an eagle, and the 2,000-Mat Hall. Igarashi often said, “I lost my son, who was a treasure to me, but I am a fortunate being bestowed with the supreme treasure in the universe—Namu Amida Butsu.”
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #32 | 2013, Every Tear of Sorrow Turns to a Pearl
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