Rev. Katsu’s Weekly Message (5/4/2020)

Tour planning is fun. One day I was thinking about the next temple tour to Japan. It will be in 2023 when the next World Buddhist Women’s Conference will be held in Japan. I am sure that many people from Seattle Betsuin will attend the convention. I know it is too early to think about it, but I am already looking forward to attending the convention and traveling to different places in Japan.

When I go to Japan, I always go to at least one Onsen (hot spring) place. When I research “Onsen” online, hundreds and thousands of Onsen images and sites showed up. There were many pictures of Onsen, hotels, foods, etc. All these pictures and comments were attractive. It was impossible to choose just one of them. When I think about the itinerary more seriously, I usually consider price, location, capacity, a tour company’s advice, etc, and I eventually make my own decision. When I have too much information, I waver in my judgement and don’t know which way I should follow.

Now, let’s think about Buddhism. There are many different sects and different Buddhist practices. When you go online to research Buddhism or Buddhist practice, you find hundreds and thousands of resources. It is difficult for a person who does not know Buddhism to find the right information. We also have to be careful because some information does not have any solid basis. We follow the Pure Land way. We follow the Shin Buddhist path. What is our right practice? One of the seven masters, Master Shan-Tao (613 – 681 CE) clarified the five right practices that lead to the attainment of birth in the Pure Land.

  1. Reading, chanting, and understanding the three Pure Land sutras
  2. Contemplating the adornments of Pure Land, Amida Buddha, and the host of holy beings
  3. Undertaking acts of worship
  4. Reciting the name of Amida Buddha (Namoamidabutsu)
  5. Praising and honoring Amida Buddha

Among the five, (4) Recitation of Amida Buddha is “the act of true settlement” that leads to birth in the Pure Land, and the remaining practices as auxiliary or secondary. Our service programs and daily practices must be based on these five practices. During this time, please reflect upon how you are practicing Buddhism at home.

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