Vol. XLIX, No.7

July 2003

Death - A Gathering of Joy

I declare to you that within the body, although it is mortal and only stx feet long, you can find the world, and the origins of the world, and the end of the world, and the path that leads to all real goals in life.

- Shakyamuni Buddha

 

This body will be dissolved and no amount of sacrifice will save it. Therefore, seek the life that is of the heartmind. Where self is, fruth cannot be; yet when truth comes, self will disappear.

Therefore, let the heartmind rest in the truth; cultivate the truth, put your whole will in it, and let it spread. In the truth one lives forever. Self is death and truth is Ife. The cleaving to self is a perpetual dying, while moving in the truth is partaking in Nirvana.

- Shakyamuni Buddha

 

Nirvana is life truly lived, it is reality truly seen. The essence of Jodoshinsliu is to awaken to reality. It means to see things, including the self as they are and not as our self-centered desires want to see things. As long as we remain unconscious of our self-centeredness, things do not move accordingly to our desires and we remain unhappy without knowing or admitting why. We place the blame on other people and external circumstances. Thus, we create an endless series of negative karma to eventually build our own worlds of delusion. We are shown our inner, self-centeredness by the Buddhist teachings that act as mirrors for us. Since this awareness comes to us from a source beyond the narrow scope of self-centeredness, we say that awakening is realized by virtue of true compassion. Sometimes that source is called the Other Power or Amida Buddha, but it is essentially reality as it is. With this awareness also comes affirmation of man and life as it truly is.

This process is a constant search and a constant discovering - and once we understand that there is no instant, ready-made answer, our whole life begins to change, we begin to see with our third spiritual eye. This inner and outer awakening is the Namuamidabutsu - the sole teaching of Jodoshinshu. It is the Eureka! of the Pure Land tradition. The entire company of our loved ones, friends, and not so friendly who have gone before us remind us that the fear of death is the fear of true life, and that this is an idea worthy of our attempts to truly understand. With the understanding of death and the passing away of things comes joy. Obon in Jodoshinshu is called Kangi-e, THE GATHERING OF JOY NAMOAMJDABUTSU; NAMANDABU; NAMANDA.

 

Gassho,

Rev. Mas