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Buddhadharma : Winter 2006
buddhadharma| 41 |winter 2006 How does one find this sense of alignment when there is conflict? It takes time for that ability to develop. Unlike inanimate objects, people have their individual habits and preferences. Shakyamuni himself had difficulty dealing with this issue and tried various approaches. The “Simile and Parable” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, for example, relates how Shakya- muni resorted to expedient means that on the sur- face were deceitful but in the larger view helped lead people to liberation. Several of your students are teachers themselves and have referred to you as a “teacher of teachers.” How do you see your role as a teacher? [Laughing] Well, I’m not sure I could call myself a teacher of teachers. I’m simply trying to do my best in the position I’ve been placed in, deepening what I have learned and passing it on to as many people as I can. We can’t afford to concern ourselves solely with our own personal happiness. As I mentioned before, the present era is one of profound insecurity. The social values and the sense of the spiritual that sustained previous generations have lost their mean- ing for many people. This deep dis-ease is evident even among those in religious vocations. That ordi- nary people would feel confused is to be expected, given the rapid pace of change in modern times, but the problem is compounded by the fact that so many of the priests and ministers who should be providing guidance are themselves undergoing a crisis of faith, having lost the deep sense of prayer that is the basis of trust in the divine. I feel that the practice of zazen can awaken us to a deep spiritual foundation through a return to the clear original mind that is ours from the very start. If I can help even one more person to this realization, my efforts will have been fully rewarded. A last question: when are you moving to the United States? I’d like to know too! Of course I am planning to come as soon as possible. But my duty as abbot of Sogenji is to find a successor. That is how the Japanese religious system works. I have to take care of this first. It is in the works, but not com- pleted. Harada Roshi, Sogenji Temple RolAndScHmid