March 24, 2020
One of the central tenets of the Buddhist teaching is that all things are subject to change. All things are impermanent. We hear this all the time at our temples. Here we are close to 2,600 years after the Buddha and we find ourselves faced with a life fraught with dangers. From greed, anger and ignorance we face the same internal dangers that people faced when the Buddha was alive. The suffering of human beings is the same as in the Buddha’s time and Shinran’s time.
The Buddha had great insight into human nature and he knew that thousands of years later the things that afflicted human beings then would be true today. What has changed is that we are less willing to hear the Dharma, we are less willing to encounter the Buddha.
Our minds flitter from one thing to another and cannot concentrate on one thing. Our world is full of distractions so we don’t have to listen to the truths taught by the Buddha. The current situation with COVID – 19 might encourage us to listen like never before.
Each Sunday we read the “Threefold Refuge” together as a Sangha. It is a reminder to us all to develop in our own minds wisdom, purity and compassion. It is also a reminder of the Buddha’s vow that embraces us all despite the three poisons ravaging our thoughts, words and actions. Taking refuge in the Buddha is to take refuge in his vow.
What hasn’t changed is the vow and Amida Buddha’s concern for us.
“I reflect within myself: The universal Vow difficult to fathom is indeed a great vessel bearing us across the ocean difficult to cross. The unhindered light is the sun of wisdom dispersing the darkness of our ignorance.” Shinran