Minister’s Message December 2011

New Year’s Greeting 2012

By Rev. Don Castro

Happy New Year to you and your family.  The 2012 BCA theme is, “May Peace and Tranquility Prevail Throughout the World.”  We have carried this theme over the last several years as we have observed the 750th Anniversary Memorial for Shinran Shonin which culminates this month with our Hoonko Service on January 15 with Rev. Kiyonobu Kuwahara who will present a power point presentation on Shinran’s life as a part of the 10:00am service.

I am reluctant to write the next sentence because I am writing this greeting on December 16 and you will receive it around New Year’s.  Haven’t we had a remarkably warm autumn and winter so far?  Is it still true?  Maybe it will be too warm to snow but I want to put out a display on “Yukidaruma” in our display case by the Memorial Hall Chapel.  Yukidaruma is the Japanese word for “snowman” and really translates as “snow (yuki) daruma (Bodhidharma).”  Bodhidharma is the mostly legendary father of Chinese Zen who is so popular in Japanese folk art.  Daruma is the figure you paint an eye on when you make a resolution and paint the second eye on when your resolution is fulfilled.  Have you made any New Year’s resolutions this year?  My resolutions involve eating and I paint an eye on Daruma’s picture and put it on my refrigerator.  I actually made it to August a few years ago before breaking the resolution.

Regarding Yukidaruma, I am particularly interested in the inscriptions that accompany images of him in Zenga or Zen paintings.  I remember one scroll that has an inscription that says something like, “Yukidaruma is made up of piled up snow.  As the days pass he disappears but where does he go?”

In a similar way, my life is made up of piled up days and years.  As the days pass, they disappear but where do they go?  We often ask, “Where does time go?”  Time flies, but where?

As our life speeds by, Buddhism offers us a way to feel connected and at home.  The life and light of Amida Buddha is eternal and infinite.  This means that it is true any time and any place.  No matter what this year brings you or where it takes you, Amida Buddha is always in your heart and mind.

Best wishes, in gassho.