Minister’s Message, April 2011

Joy and Tears Together

By Rinban Don Castro

My heart goes out to all those who suffered loss in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. May the boundless wisdom and compassion of Amida Buddha be a source of strength and comfort during this tragic crisis that continues to unfold as I write these words. I hope, by the time you read this article, the danger of radiation exposure has subsided. Seattle Betsuin will be conducting the traditional Seven Day Memorial services each Friday at 5:30pm in memory of those who perished; the 49th day memorial service, (since March 11), will be held on April 29, the last of this mourning period.

three images from the memorial services, by Irene Goto

At the same time we have been mourning, we have been celebrating Camp Fire’s 101st birthday on March 13 and a beautiful beginning of Spring with our Ohigan Service on March 20. Coming up on April 10 we celebrate the Buddha’s birth with Hanamatsuri, the “Flower Festival” which is the happiest and most festive service of the year.

In Buddhism, we recognize the fact that there is no life without death. Just visit the Olympic Rain Forest and you find the circle of life and death everywhere. It is not either/or but both together at the same time. Joy and sorrow are interfused and all we can do is put our hands together in gassho and say the Nembutsu as an expression of gratitude for the precious treasure of the Dharma that keeps us on the right path in this perilous world of the burning house.