Next Shin Buddhist Service: Sunday, January 16, 2022
Please check calendar for details
December 25, 2021 Edition
Dhammapada, a collection of verses of Shakyamuni Buddha
Medicine Master Buddha and the Twelve Divine Generals, 1200s, Japan - Kamakura period. Cleveland Museum of Ar
If, in your course, you don’t meet your equal, your better, then continue your course, firmly, alone. There is no fellowship with fools.
Jetsam or Treasure Room?
Next week this time the earth will have completed yet another revolution around the star we call sun. We mark time in different ways. This marks astronomical time, a time we return to the place we started 365 days ago, relative to the sun. We acquired lots of what I’ll call “souvenirs” from our 2021 journey. I’m not talking about the acquisition of possessions, but the holding onto of experiences and thoughts which take up space in our minds. These memories can be bad, good or neutral.
Saylor, a friend, suggested I build a treasure room to store the good ones. I fashioned mine after the gem and mineral room in the American Museum of Natural History. As a child I remember it being a big open space with high windows and glass enclosed cabinets and tables holding beautiful collections. This is my treasure room, my storehouse where I unburden and store good memories and visit when I want.
But what about the painful ones? What about the times I was defeated, wanted revenge, hated someone and everyone, was not the person I thought I was, the times I was greedy, angry and foolish? What do I do with those? I’m tired of carrying that heavy load. I want to let it go, but it’s difficult. I want justice. I want all the wrongs made right. The point is that I’ve already done what can be done. These are just the memories that hold no more value, no more lessons. They are dead weight – dead weight that generates dukkha.
If you’re like me, I continue to carry most of this heavy load around for another 365 days, adding more along the way.
Jetsam, a nautical term – is what you discard if your ship is overloaded and at risk of sinking. Everything, and I mean everything not needed for survival, gets thrown overboard. It all becomes jetsam, including chests of gold.
If we do this to prevent certain death, why don’t we do it with emotional baggage, the dead weight that no longer serves any purpose? Is it that we’d rather keep being victims of the injustices, the hurts, and anger rather than let it go? We say want to end our suffering, but still, we don’t. Emotions, ideas, opinions, beliefs and expectations, you name it, we cling to them.
I met a person who shared the pain felt at being rejected by a parent after a divorce. Visitations didn’t happen, child support wasn’t paid, half sisters and brothers from the new marriage were given priority for attention and love. He claims it no longer is hurtful 60 years later, but you can hear the pain in the voice as it slows and becomes dry, see the eyes looking inward, and the shadow of a child’s sadness in the face. We say we let go, but have we?
You would think we would want to let go of the suffering and pain, but they have become part of our identity, an identity hard to give up. Maybe asking “why” will open the door a crack allowing us see the dukkha it brings into our lives.
What is the value of living a life of joy, of peace, of tranquility? We come to Buddhism to understand how to let go of attachments, of ego control and illusions.
Shin Buddhism is about realizing we are human with human weaknesses and attachments. It is about finding the wisdom and compassion in this life. And once we understand how to unburden ourselves; we begin to show compassion to other sentient beings. In Shin we say “Namo Amida Butsu.” It is not a mantra, but a way of bringing us back again and again to the wisdom and compassion of the light and life of Amida Buddha.
We have a choice. In a moment of comprehension we can see ourselves clearly and continue the path of living the life we say we want. Sharing the Buddha Dharma with our Sangha is one way of moving toward awakening to the illusions of this life.
May the coming new trip around the sun find us a little more capable of knowing the difference between what we will store in our own treasure room and what we will jettison.
May we all hear the Buddha Dharma and grow in wisdom and compassion.
Shin Buddhist Sunday, Jaunuary 16, 2022 - Service:
9:45 AM: Sitting mediation, all levels, including beginners: Meditation Leader, Greg Stepanic
10:30 AM: Shin Buddhist Sangha Gathering and Service: Rev. Anita Tokuzen Kazarian
The Sangha, one of the Three Treasures of Buddhism, is ours to experience
Join our Sangha gathering one time to explore, share and understand how Buddhist teachings benefit us and offer an alternative way of living this life,
an alternative that liberates us from dukkha (suffering).
This is an opportunity to reflect on the Buddha Dharma,
to understand how we move from dukkha to peace
and how its wisdom and compassion brings calmness to this life.
What happens at a gathering?
We gather as an informal group. We may do sitting meditation, chanting meditation, recitations, pay respect to those who have gone before us, to one another and the Buddha Dharma (the teachings). The Sangha, one of the three treasures of Buddhism, gives us community and time to understand how Buddhism works in our daily lives. We may share our thoughts, experiences or not.
What does not happen?
We do not worship, we do not have petitionary prayer, nor do we have rules or regulations to judge us from one another.
We follow the State of Ohio guidelines for Covid-19 safety and precautions.
Please contact Rev. Anita for visits to assisted living, nursing homes or hospitals for those who cannot attend the service.
Free and Online
Eastern Buddhist League
February 12-13 – Eastern Buddhist League Virtual Gathering
A week-end to share knowledge, fun and meals with Dharma Friends from eastern United States and Canada! Free and open to all. Details to follow.