Dhammapada, a collection of verses of Shakyamuni Buddha
Birth of the Buddha – Northern India, Bengal, Pala dynasty (800s) Cleveland Museum of Art
Those consummate in virtue,
dwelling in faithfulness,
released through right knowing:
Mara can’t follow their tracks.
Lonely in a Copy/Paste Holiday Season
Loneliness, please circle how often you feel lonely:
Never Sometimes Most of the time All the time
Most of us admit to circling each of the above options at one time or another in our life. The causes and conditions of life we find ourselves in is in a constant state of flux. Nothing is permanent. We sometimes handle these changes without a thought or care. Other times, we struggle, have doubts, are confused and worry we won’t make the right choices when we have options. Many of us travel back and forth on this loneliness scale.
According to studies, this is the time of year, with less than five weeks of 2021left, when our western culture pressures us to be festive and happy, to spend great sums of money and pretend all is well. A challenging time. It feels like a copy/paste time of year. We copy what is expected of us, expectations formed from all over the place starting with how we remember our own childhood to the irrational and frantic consumerism promoted for the day after Thanksgiving.
We copy these messages and then try to paste them into our lives. But it doesn’t work, does it…
The Buddhist view is different. The Dalai Lama says “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” Rev. Marvin Harada wrote about a Buddhist view of happiness (Buddha Post, 10/30/21). Attaching to cultural illusions of happiness by living a copy/paste life does not bring us out of loneliness, does not make our relationships perfect, and does not deliver anything - except more dukkha.
A speaker I heard said something we all know to be totally true but because it is so obvious we neglect to be conscious of it – “I do not know what it is like to be you.” The simple example used to expand on this was the feeling of pain. There are entire schools of medicine devoted to the study of pain and pain management. And yet, not one expert, anywhere in the world, can identify pain in you or me. They do not know what my pain is. They do not know what your pain is. They ask you to describe your pain from charts like this:
I don’t know what it is truly like to be you, what you are feeling, what the sum total of your experiences have been, what your unspoken dreams are, I just don’t know. Buddhism accepts this as the reality of the world and goes on from this point. No copy/paste here. There are no rules or commands to follow on our Shin path. Yes, the work is ours to do. It is easy? Not necessarily but it is easier than continuous dissatisfaction. It means examining “truths” we have been taught from birth. Cultural truths surround us from commercial and social media to education to friends and family who expect us to conform to this copy/paste mindset.
By connecting with the Buddha Dharma, the teachings, we begin to shed the copy/paste need to conform to the illusions of life, a conforming that promises much but delivers only more dukkha.
As Rev. Takata points out below in The Nightstand Buddhist, “The Dharma connection to one’s daily life will change and make one’s life meaningful and fulfilling and further empower one to pursue the path of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.”
Excerpts of Buddhist voices across teachings, across continents, across time.
Dharma Name: Homyo
Rev. Koho Takata
What is a Homyo?
The Japanese term, Homyo, means Dharma Name. A Homyo is conferred upon ministers by the Gomonshu who is the spiritual leader of Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji – ha denomination on the occasion of their ordination ceremony. For laypeople, it is also given by the Gomonshu on the occasion of the Confirmation Ceremony. In the United States, a Homyo is given by the bishops on the occasion of the Affirmation Ceremony.
When do we receive a Homyo?
Many people tend to think that a Homyo is only given to a person after one’s life ends. This is a great misunderstanding. A Homyo is conferred on a person when one is still living and not on a person who has passed away. The reason is to give the living person the opportunity to become a disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha. That is, it is to encourage people to hear the Teachings of the Buddha while they are still able to do so. Therefore, one should receive a Homyo while still living. However, a Homyo can also be conferred after a person’s death if one missed the opportunity earlier. This is to allow the surviving members of the family as well as the friends of the deceased to hear the Buddha’s teachings.
What does it meanto receive a Homyo?
In the time of Shakyamuni Buddha, one was allowed to join the Sangha by taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha for guidance. Buddha refers to Shakyamuni Buddha, Dharma two Shakyamuni Buddha’s teaching, and Sangha to the community of fellow followers who have entrusted themselves to the Buddha and his teaching.
To receive a Homyo means one becomes a disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha. In other words, one joins Shakya family and commits oneself to live the teachings.
HowtheHomyo can guide and enrich your life
In the case of our secular name (first name), there is a wish made by our parents but no commitment on our part since it was chosen before our birth. In the case of the Dharma Name, there is a strong commitment made by recipients to center the teachings in their lives.
There are so many conflicts and problems occurring in our daily lives. In Buddhism, we are the problem. We always carry attachments and a self-centered nature. Because of I myself, we have to suffer with problems. The Dharma is the answer to our lives. The Dharma is a mirror which reflects the reality of who we are and shows the cause of our problems.
Shinran Shonin, founder of Jodo Shinshu, further defined our human nature in his writing as follows;“We are full of arrogance and blind passions. Our desires are countless, and anger, wrath, jealousy, and envy are overwhelming, arising without pause; to the very last moment of life they do not cease, or disappear, or exhaust themselves.” (CWS P. 488, notes on Once – Calling and Many – Calling #20)
Buddhism signifies the teachings of the Buddha but also awakening to the Truth. However, our eyes are always covered and hindered by our ignorance and blind passions and they obstruct us from seeing the Truth. This is the key point Shinran Shonin focused on to resolve the issues in his life. Jodo Shinshu teaching is for those foolish beings possess of blind passions and cannot be free from the self-centered mind.
Receiving a Homyo and centering one’s daily life in the Dharma will become a precious opportunity for one to focus one’s true nature on the Universal Truth of the Dharma and fully live with deep meaning rooted in one’s own Homyo, which embodies the essence of the teaching of the Buddha. The Dharma connection to one’s daily life will change and make one’s life meaningful and fulfilling and further empower one to pursue the path of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
What is the difference between Homyo and Kaimyo?
In Jodo Shinshu, the Dharma Name we received is called a Homyo and not a Kaimyo which is offered by other Buddhist schools. Kai means precepts. Therefore, receiving a Kaimyo means to seek enlightenment by upholding the precepts. We, Jodo Shinshu followers, however, are not mandated to observe the precepts of Buddhism as practiced by other Buddhist schools. Followers of Jodo Shinshu receive a Homyo, which signifies living in the True Teaching by wholeheartedly entrusting the working of the Buddha, thereby abandoning self-practice that is a reflection of our self-centered nature.
If you want to live in the Teachings by receiving your Homyo, please contact a minister.
Excerpted from: BCA, Sothern District Ministers Association - HOMYO
9:45 AM: Sitting mediation, all levels, including beginners
10:30 AM: Shin Buddhist Sangha Gathering and Service: Rev. Anita Tokuzen Kazarian
Friday, December 31 – New Year’s Eve Service:
New Year’s Eve (afternoon) - Joint Year’s Eve Service with True Names Sangha
Cleveland Buddhist Temple and True Names Sangha invite you to a share New Year’s Eve afternoon Service. Our combined service will include traditions unique to each path and give us an opportunity to quietly contemplate the events of the past year and express our gratitude for all we have received.
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.
Our gathering includes the name of those who have passed before us. To include the name of a loved one or friend, please email Rev. Anita.
Please contact Rev. Anita for visits to assisted living, nursing homes or hospital for those who wish to hear the Buddha Dharma but cannot attend the service.