Dhammapada, a collection of verses of Shakyamuni Buddha
Seated Buddha, c. AD 300s, Afghanistan, Gandhara, Hadda, late Kushan Period - Cleveland Museum of Art
The Mind: 39
For a person of unsoddened mind,
abandoning merit and evil,
wakeful, there is no danger
Rev. Todd Tsuchiya
The Cleveland Buddhist Temple welcomes Rev. Todd Tsuchiya back to Cleveland. Rev. Todd is a Tokudo Minister with the Twin Cities Buddhist Sangha in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a retired dentist and completed his Master of Divinity degree at the Institute of Buddhist Studies. Rev. Todd supported our Temple by serving on its Board for two terms and helped to insure our future. Welcome back Rev. Todd!
Path Free of Hindrances
When I think about the past history of my family and the directions my life path has taken me, it certainly has not always been a smooth and unencumbered path. Like all of you, different decisions in my life experiences could have significantly changed my place today. Shinran is quoted in the Tannisho, “the nembutsu is the single path free of hindrances” for those who have realized shinjin.
When Shinran calls it a path free of hindrances, today we might just laugh at the notion that our lives certainly are not free of hindrances especially when Covid was seemingly impeding our path no matter where we turned. There are so many things that happen in our lives that don’t go how we want them to. With so many difficulties we seem to face every day, how can we think about a path free of hindrances like the nembutsu?
One way to think of this is to start by acknowledging the idea that we are walking a path even though we may not realize it at the time. In reflecting on our journey on this path, we realize we are walking with and carried by countless others. Without them we would not be where we are. If we think of the nembutsu like a stream, there may be pebbles or rocks in the way of the current. But the stream always finds a path. It does not push the obstructions out of the way, but it works its way beyond them. Being part of the whole, we are carried through by the flow of the stream itself, by the flow of others. When we say Namo Amida Butsu we hear the calling voice of the Buddha. It is a path that is always there for us even if we don’t see it.
We tend to think of our path as a means to an end; to get to a destination. That is not what the Buddhist path is. The path of the nembutsu is the journey and the journey is the destination. It does not mean that we don’t come across difficulties. When we reflect on our path, we see the help and support of others. When we look back we can see more clearly the things that we have received, then our hearts are filled with gratitude. That is our life of Namo Amida Butsu.
Namo Amida Butsu
Rev. Todd Tsuchiya
Excerpts of Buddhist voices across teachings, across continents, across time.
The intense heat and light of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb blasts left behind ghostly silhouettes of human beings whose lives were erased in an instant.
Let Us Be Midwives! by Sadako Kurihara (Hiroshima survivor) translated by Richard Minear
Night in the basement of a concrete structure now in ruins. Victims of the atomic bomb jammed the room; It was dark—not even a single candle. The smell of fresh blood, the stench of death, The closeness of sweaty people, the moans. From out of all that, lo and behold, a voice: "The baby’s coming!" In that hellish basement, At that very moment, a young woman had gone into labour. In the dark, without a single match, what to do? People forgot their own pains, worried about her. And then: "I'm a midwife. I’ll help with the birth." The speaker, seriously injured herself, had been moaning only moments before. And so new life was born in the dark of that pit of hell. And so the midwife died before dawn, still bathed in blood. Let us be midwives! Let us be midwives! Even if we lay down our own lives to do so.
The Cleveland Buddhist Temple and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Cleveland will hold a short joint observation marking the 76th year that the last atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. It is our aspiration it continues to be the last.
The bell will be rung 76 times. All those present may take turns in the ringing of the bell.
We will recite the Metta Mediation, a meditation on loving kindness that is universal for all faiths.
This observance will end with a moment of silence
Sunday, August 15 Service:
9:45 AM - Sitting mediation, all levels, including beginners
10:30 AM - Shin Buddhist Service and August Memorial Service