“There is really one investigation all along, wrote the novelist Michael Chabon, ‘one search with a sole objective: a home, a world to call my own’. The writer continues: “….a landscape on the move where compassion is the currency and solidarity the only debt people owe one another, a house of memory built with hope.”
This quote from Renato Redentor Constantino caught my eye, as I was looking through the book Letters to the Earth. And my thought was that I have found a home, a home in my heart that heard the calling of
The Buddha, reciting the nembutsu in our Jodo Shinshu tradition, and awakening to shinjin.
The word that comes to mind is gratitude, and gratitude brings about compassion. At this time in the world, in my country, in my city, compassion is a shining star, spreading amongst all beings with the light of the Buddha.
I’ve been going for daily morning walks, fortunate to live close to the river and be surrounded by many trees. Even this morning, when it was minus 9 Celsius, after a beautiful snow fall last night, it was an opportunity to enjoy the beauty and sounds of nature: with each step, being aware of the ground beneath my feet, the wind rustling in the trees, watching the daily changes in familiar surroundings; the sun rising a bit later each day. The seasons have changed and we are approaching the winter solstice, the darkest day, and the bringing of new light. The permanence of change is sometimes the only way to mark these solitary days. (I have been known to say something like “Oh, it is Wednesday today? I thought it was Tuesday!”)
I was on a zoom call the other day, along with Sensei Ulrich, a retired minister from our temple, the Manitoba Buddhist Temple, talking about Buddhism to an Interfaith group from the University of Manitoba. Part of the conversation was about this pandemic. I was reminded about sending loving-kindness to the virus, (perhaps something that might not sit well with everyone).
Reading from the Loving-Kindness (Metta) Meditation in our Seiten, it begins with:
- May all beings be happy and well,
- May no harm or difficulties come to them,
- May they live in peace and harmony.
The verses continue, from myself, to my family, to my teachers, my friends, strangers, enemies and back to all beings. When I think of the Covid 19 virus, I see it as a teacher, a stranger, a being. A lot of truths have come forward during this time, from small personal realizations, to much larger global truths, some of them perhaps difficult to recognize and deal with, however, with a positive end result. Our world is changing, and with our compassionate actions, we can help it to become a more friendly, kinder place in which to live.
From the preface to the Collected Works of Shinran, by Ohtani Koshin, Monshu: “Amidst a world undergoing constant and far-reaching change, it is difficult to know what may be taken as the foundation for our lives and how we should carry on our existence. In every age and in all societies, however, it is the true and real teaching that genuinely guides us; nothing else suffices.”