Message from the Bishop

青木龍也2Tatsuya Aoki Sensei

Bishop, Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada

Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada celebrated its centennial in 2005, however; it is now facing the challenge of transcending its ethnic character to become a more universal teaching entity; and thereby fulfill the meaning and potential of its rich Buddhist heritage.

I once read the following passage, “Zen monks become depraved in the secular world” and “Shinshu ministers become depraved in the monastic world.”  I agreed when I read it, but I do not agree with it any longer.  When I was in Kyoto, I once visited a Zen temple and asked if I could take a look inside.  The reply from a young monk was, “We are occupied with other matters right now.  Please come again on another occasion.”  It had the hidden message that the temple is not a place for sightseeing, and I was glad to hear it.

A Buddhist temple is a place where many activities are held.  It is a place where people can gather and have fun together.  However, we should not forget that it is a place where we come together to listen to the Dharma.

In Passages on the Land of Happiness, written by master Tao-ch’o (562-645), it states:

Those who were been born first guide those who come later, and those who are born later join those who were born before them.  This is so that the boundless ocean of birth-and-death may be exhausted.

(The True Teaching, Practice, and Realization VI, Collected Works of Shinran, p.291)

This can be interpreted in the following way:

Those who were born first guide those who come later, and those who were born later, follow those who where born before them, so that there is aspiration [of the Tathagata] is continuous and uninterrupted.  In this way, limitless numbers of persons [who are wallowing] in delusion may attain liberation.

We should reflect and rediscover the lesson of those who were born before us, and thereby guide those who will come later.  May we continue to discover joy by listening to the Dharma and together walk the path of the Nembutsu.

Namo Amida Butsu,

Tatsuya Aoki