We got news from Ibaraki prefecture’s rice-producing district that they now have started planting rice, but that they are also concerned with the impact of the nuclear power plant accident. Spring has not come to the disaster stricken area yet. I wonder how Master Shinran would have taught Buddhism if he had visited the Northeast district. Master Shinran once lived in the Hitachi region (today’s Ibaraki prefecture). He saw people planting rice and asked them, “Can I join you?” They looked up at him in surprise and replied, “Can a monk plant rice?” But Master Shinran tucked up the sleeves of his kimono robe and went into the rice field. We can see this scene in the animated movie “The Light of the World, Master Shinran.” He began to sing an impromptu rice-plating song and it gradually spread among people. The last line of the song is: “When fall, the time to harvest, comes, how joyful we are to be born into the Pure Land!” Master Shinran gets close to people who are all occupied with how to live and clearly shows them the direction to live; why do we have to overcome all difficulties and continue living? Shinran followers always think about how to deliver the true teachings of Buddhism according to the people’s situation.
The season will come to North-east Japan when fresh and green rice sprouts sway to the wind. We would like to make a steady step toward “the firm ground of Amida Buddha’s Vow.”
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #05 | 2011, Buddhistsʼ Point of View