Saturday, April 26, 2014

Guard the gates of the temple

Please, guard the gates of the temples and keep them locked for any worldly activity or worldly ideology. The temple has only one goal – solving the matter of the afterlife through birth in the Pure Land of Amida. There we should only listen to the Amida Dharma and say the nembutsu of faith. If something, anything, is not strictly related with this goal, please don’t allow it to enter the temple.

It is extremely important to help people understand that some places, even if they are built in this world, from the materials of this world and by people of this world, their function is not that of this world. And that nobody, be it a person or a worldly ideology can claim it for oneself. If the Jodo Shinshu temple or dojo will be used only for Dharma reasons, then people’s minds will become accustomed to think that shinjin and rebirth in the Pure Land are extremely important, even more important than their worldly pursuits. Thus, they will be encouraged to let go of any worldly goal when coming to the temple and respect other nembutsu followers who attend the same temple and sangha, but maybe lead a different life, according to different rules or customs. Enemies and competitors, people of various bakgrounds, will thus be able  to sit together, listen the Amida Dharma and receive the same faith.

But if things not strictly related with birth in the Pure Land are taught and done at the temples, then how the temple will be any different than an ordinary place where people also talk worldly matters and do worldly actions? So please, no matter how beautiful, how high or noble, an idea, ideology or action might seem to you, please do not bring it to the temple or dojo if it’s not strictly related with solving the matter of the after life and birth in the Pure Land. 

Please, do not fool yourselves, as no matter how beautiful, how high or noble an idea, ideology or action might be, this too, is no superior to the nembutsu of faith.
In NGOs, in various institutions, in public or private meetings, or in any worldly place on the face of this earth, we can talk and do any action we think it can help us improve our living in this ephemeral world. But in the temples let us discuss and do only what liberates us from this world and the next, let us listen deeply only to the Amida Dharma and be sure of our rebirth in the Pure Land.
Namo Amida Butsu

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