using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Spri 2007
spring 2007| 62 |buddhadharma Please call me by my true names, so I can wake up and so the door of my heart can be left open, the door of compassion.9 The more I reflect, the more difficult it is to draw the line between my life and the life of others: family, friends, dogs, cats, birds, the sky, the moon, and the stars. In each moment, the deep intercon- nections between my life and that of all other beings come to life. It is only when I look away, hoping to create connections in a world of abstrac- tions, that I lose my way. Seeing this profound web of interdependence, Shinran states, I, Shinran, have never even once uttered the Name for the sake of my father and mother. The reason is that all beings have been fathers and mothers, broth- ers and sisters, in the timeless process of birth and death. When I attain buddhahood in the next birth, each and every one will be saved.10 In the path of Pure Land, intoning the Name, Namu Amida Butsu, affirms the oneness of all beings and expresses becoming one with them. Since this cannot be realized apart from the pres- ent moment, here and now, it is important to recognize that there is no realization of true com- passion apart from each recitation of the sutras, each bow, each utterance of the Name – in fact, each activity throughout the day. Paradoxically, the realization that “all beings are one with me” moves one to become one with all beings. The Pure Land of oneness is already here, and yet I have not realized it. Experiences of Boundless Compassion When one tastes deeply the flavor of compassion, one is able to see moments of positive significance in times of difficulty and to see more clearly the web of interdependence as it informs one’s life. Second World War internee Shinobu Matsuura relates an episode from her husband, Issei’s, life as they lived separated in distant internment camps in the United States. Reverend Issei Matsuura was presiding over the funeral of a friend who had died in the camp. Listening to the simple ceremony in the stark setting of the camp, one of the guards became curious and began to ask him about the Buddhist teachings. “How does a person gain salvation?” asked the guard. “Good person, evil person, all beings will be saved,” replied Issei. “You mean they repent and reform and then they are saved?” “No. Just be embraced in the Great Compassion, and recite the Name, and one is saved as he is.” “Where does one go?” “Pure Land.” “But, if the good and evil ones are saved as they are, won’t they keep on fighting as they did in this world?” My husband, in his own kind of English, with earnest zeal, explained the universality of the pure taste of water. “Everyone, all beings, become Bud- dha. It is a boundless teaching.” The ones under guard, the guard, all forgot their differences. The sun was down already. In the snowy night, they reached the prison in mutual warmth.11 Even in such difficult circumstances, the Shin path can provide an opening into the heart of compassion for those who have been defined as enemies by the external world. Mrs. Matsuura also relates her own experience during a period of difficulty. When we become troubled or preoc- cupied, we often become inattentive to our sur- roundings, which then reflect our inner state back to us. Mrs. Matsuura describes this relationship in terms of an experience with a plant that she had bought but had neglected due to her own recent struggles: One day I was agitated about something. I was in low spirits and out of sorts. By chance, my eyes glanced at the plant forgotten in the corner of the room. It had withered and appeared miserable. I can see myself reflected in the plant. When in anger, there is no warmth, no peace, no flexibility, just like this dried up plant. Once in a while, when someone compliments me, I am elated and swell proudly. But one small false step and immediately I shrivel and freeze. ... Indeed I am just like the plant. At once, I put the plant in the sunlight and gave it fresh water. Before my eyes, it glistened, fresh and alive. The pure strength, the growing image, and I, too, became calm, and in joy, I became encour- aged. ... Around us, immeasurable dharma flows and unbound compassion shines. 12 When one is steeped in the Buddha’s teaching for one’s whole life, the feeling of compassion overflows to encompass all things, even objects. Ryokan expresses this eloquently in a poem about his begging bowl: I’ve forgotten my begging bowl but no one would steal it no one would steal it – how sad for my begging bowl 9 Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace (Parallax Press, 1987), pp. 63–64. 10 Translation adapted from Tannisho, p. 8 . 11 Shinobu Matsuura, Higan: Compassionate Vow, trans. Matsuura family (privately published), p. 64. 12 Matsuura, Higan, p. 126. By exerting ourselves to the fullest, by diving into life, we are simultaneously shown our foolishness – the limits of self-power – and illuminated by boundless compassion, which is other-power.