“Kue Issho: meet together in the same world”
“The blue flowers emit a blue light; the yellow flowers emit a yellow light; the red flowers emit a red light; and the white flowers emit a white light. Each of the lotus flowers glows, weaving a harmonic scene while emitting a subtle fragrance. Shariputra, Pure Land is an ideal environment so that whatever one lays eyes upon will bring about awakening.” (Amida Sutra)
The recent tragic deaths of George Floyd, Raychard Brooks, and Chantel Moore has sparked a conversation around the world. It has brought the topic of racism to the forefront. I believe there is a great need to focus our attention and efforts on the pervasive and ongoing violence inflicted on people of colour in our society.
In this present life, even though we live on the same planet, we live in different worlds. The colour of our skin, and where we live – each of us is sheltered in our own world. We set up our own “selves.” We take advantage of others when it benefits us. However, if the relationship with others becomes inconvenient, we withdraw again into our own world of “self” where we can avoid or reject others. Until we can rid ourselves of the attachment to our small ‘selves’, we will live in a divided world. The Amida Sutra says that when we encounter the mind of Amida Buddha and are born in his Pure Land, for the first time we can “meet together in the same world” (kue issho). When we encounter Amida Buddha’s mind, or when we have heard Amida Buddha’s calling, our birth together on the same lotus flower will be realized.
In response to tragedy, grief, and anger, our collective aspiration within the Buddhist traditions is to become truly inclusive and live harmoniously. Buddhist teachings and practices have been explicitly devoted to liberation. May these teachings and practices free our hearts from greed, prejudice, and hate and serve an essential role in societal healing, and in the awakening of all.
Namo Amida Butsu
Rev. Tatsuya Aoki
Bishop, Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada