Vol. XLX, No. 4                                                   April 2004

sakura
     Ku no shaba ya, sakura ga sakeba, saita tote

   A world of grief and pain, Flowers bloom, even then…
                -Kobayashi, Issa – 1763 – 1827

Shaba refers to the world of Samsara, the world of self-centered, self-creating delusion, the unawakened
state, the world of Namo. Flowers refer to the state of naturalness, of non-calculation, the awakened state and
the beauty that characterizes that state, the world of Amidabutsu. A world of self-created grief and pain, and
yet, even then flowers bloom. Terrorists, numb bureaucrats, political manipulators, con artists – multi-billion
and penny ante, religious charlatans, health, wealth, and happiness scammers, etc., etc., ad nauseum – what a
work of art are we. And yet even then, volunteers, helpful bureaucrats, conscientious politicians, community
conscious businessmen, health-care servers, clergy etc. still grow and bloom – the work being its own reward,
what a work of art we are.

Science, religion, the social and governing arts, poetry, music and dance can all be self-serving, otherdenigrating
activities. There are also times when they are mutually serving, mutually supporting activities.
Namo is the self-serving, calculating, self-empowering activity; Amidabutsu is the other-connecting, noncalculating,
mutually empowering activity; and Namoamidabutsu is the paradox of life, different, yet the same,
not one, yet not two. And what a work of art we are. Namoamidabutsu, Namoamidabutsu, Namoamidabutsu.

Gassho,
Rev. Mas