Aspiration For the First Shinran Center in the NE of Japan

A Letter to Takamori

Since my family belongs to the sect called Soto, I had never heard the terms “the crucial matter of the afterlife” or “the dark mind.” However, I had sensed the “darkness of mind” since my youth. When my husband passed away 15 years ago, my vague feeling of darkness became stronger. At that time, I was invited to join a lecture on Buddhism in Tsuruoka, Yamagata prefecture. In the lecture, we read the book You Were Born For A Reason together, and I was deeply impressed by the existence of the “great ship” that takes us aboard, and turns this life of suffering into a bright and cheerful one.

As I listened to Buddhism over and over again, I started to think “I want to convey the existence of Amida’s great ship to people having the same feeling as I did.” At that time, a friend of our family revealed that he had cancer. I handed You Were Born For A Reason to him, and he read it thoroughly. Then he shared his feelings by saying “I have never heard of the existence of such a world…. It certainly gave me hope to live, but at the same time, I am scared of committing myself to listening to it over and over again until I accomplish it.” In this way I became motivated to convey the existence of “the great

ship” stronger than before, especially to those like him who had lost a sense of direction in their lives. In this way, I felt the necessity of having a place for our missionary to lodge, and to those with a bond to Buddhism to have a place we can invite them saying, “In Buddhism there is a clear answer for why we live.” I realized that if we had our own Shinran Center, then together we can chant, watch the animated movies of Master Shinran, listen to the lectures, and always be in contact with Buddhism. Since a Shinran Center would always be cleaner than my own house, I can invite others easily, and people, too, would have peace of mind to enter such a center to study Buddhism. Reading the Buddhist newspaper, the BVT, I became aware of the many Shinran Centers all over Japan. I decided to visit two of them, the Shinran Center in Toyama and in Fukui. Then it came home to me that, “now is the time to erect a Shinran Center in the Northeast.” The 2000-Tatami-Mat Hall started from the 24-Mat Hall in Maeda Town. I cannot begin to imagine how this drama will unfold. I just started looking for the land for our Shinran Center. I will move towards the light starting with what is possible for me to do at this moment.

Sensei Rumiko Ishizuka

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #25 | 2013, Aspiration For the First Shinran Center in the NE of Japan

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