I am very pleased to know that a new Shinran Center has opened in Shizuoka, where I used to be engaged in teaching Buddhism. It was the first time for me to be in charge of a prefecture with a small number of True Pure Land Buddhist followers, and so at first I did not know what to do.
Most of the local people did not have a chance to revere Amida Buddha. Instead, false religions flourished and caused people to be at a loss and suffer. I heard of a person who built a new house but had to live in an apartment for five years before he finally moved in the house. This was because he believed in the superstition that “the move-in date is destined.”
I often saw signs for palm-reading or other kinds of fortune-telling on the streets, while in people’s houses, there were lots of Buddha statues and charms. People suffered all the more because of their beliefs in those superstitions. However, even though they had not even heard the name of Master Shinran, people were responsive to the phrase “why we live” and came one after another to listen to the teachings.
Thankfully, misunderstandings of the teachings of True Pure Land Buddhism are not as ingrained as I had thought, and since people in this prefecture are religious in general, more and more people came to seek the truth as I conveyed Master Shinran’s teachings kindly and clearly.
Now I am teaching Buddhism in Kanto District, where again there is a small number of True Pure Land Buddhists. Every time I watch Vol. 4 of the animated movie on Master Shinran, I cannot help but think of the hardships Master Shinran went through in the district. Standing in the vast Musashino Plateau and cutting through people’s superstitions and false religions, he taught the truth to the people living there.
Just as the Master went from house to house knocking on doors, I will do my best to have an impact on each person’s heart and convey the answer to “why we live.”
Takako Ishii, Buddhist Teacher
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #41 | 2014, Having an Impact on Each Person
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