Next Shin and Animal Memorial Service: Sunday, October 17, 2021
The October service will include our Animal Memorial Service
Shin Buddhism includes all sentient beings in our aspirations. Our animal memorial service offers a time to express love, sympathy and respect for all animals. It also offers a time to remember a beloved animal in our own lives. All are welcome to attend.
Bring a photo or remembrance, see calendar at the end for details. All are welcome to come and express gratitude for the animals in our lives.
Dhammapada, a collection of verses of Shakyamuni Buddha
Seated Amitayus Buddha – China, Northern Qi dynasty – (550-577) Cleveland Museum of Art
As a bee…without harming the blossom, its color, its fragrance… takes its nectar & flies away: so should the sage go through a village.
Friends can drive you crazy, sometimes. You love them, care for them and can’t imagine life without them but maybe, there is one thing about each that you’d like to change, right?
Some may embellish stories, some not have the courage to stand up for you, others may support a different political party or, they may have a friend you can’t stand. What is there about someone we like and want to be around, yet a shortcoming, in our opinion, irritates us, and at some point we say enough, no more?
There is no simple answer and the older we get, the more friends we’ve had and lost, the more important this question becomes to us. I remember a story about eagles and rabbits. A management consulting firm was brought in to train supervisors to be more effective in their roles – the story of eagles and rabbits was the groundwork for the training.
We know eagles can soar the sky like no one’s business and rabbits are fabulous hoppers. One day, they were advised that in order to be better, the eagle needed to learn how to hop and the rabbit to fly. Not only was this futile, but because they put so much effort into doing what they were not equipped to do, they were too exhausted to do what they did best. The message? Support and encourage what each does best and manage what they could not do well. Sound familiar?
We may not have a choice about many things, like the color of our eyes, or our ability to hop. But we do get to make choices about many things. And, depending on our philosophy of life, these choices can lead to less dukkha/misery, or to more stress and anxiety. We not only expect friends to fit neatly in a package of our own design, but we do the same with ourselves. We layer expectation on top of expectation until the inevitable failure.
How often do we pause to consider how we judge others and ourselves? The Bodhisattva Dharmakara, Amida Buddha, concept embarrasses us all. This isn’t an easy standard to live up to, in fact, it is one of the hardest. But it does offer a path, like that of the eagle and rabbit. We can respect and accept what makes others, and ourselves, people we want to be with and manage what can’t be changed.
If we look at time from a distance, a great distance, there really isn’t a passing or failing grade for living this one life. Looking at time from a great distance we see cultural norms shift and change. The “come as you are” path of Shin doesn’t mean we withdraw, what is does mean is we have a choice.
Do all that you can, the best that you can, in the present.
Do not chase after what happened in the past. Do not expect too much in the future. Things of the past have been discarded, And the future has not yet arrived. So concentrate the mond on what needs to be done today (Bhaddekaratta-sutta)
Let’s do our best now!
You might mope over the past or excitedly look forward to the future. But the events of next week or next year are a long way off. It’s important that you focus on the present.
What are you doing at this very moment? That’s right, you’re reading a book. When you read, you should focus on what you’re reading. When yo play soccer, you should focus on running. When you are in school, you should focus on what your teachers are saying. You don’t need to worry about the future. What’s important is that you do your best and focus on the task at hand.
Discussion: Buddhism teaches us to do all that we can in the present. We must not waste the time that has been given to us. Children may not be capable of fully distinguising between the past and the present, but it’s still important to emphasize the ephemral nature of time. The window of opportunity is fleeting, so you must do what is required in the present. Asking children to focus on the task before them reinforces discipline and prevents distracted “multi0tasking” in the name of play that interferes with their studies.
Excerpts of Buddhist voices across teachings, across continents, across time.
In Buddhism it is said, “Go with empty hands.” To go empty-handed means to have no fixed ideas, no rigid plans. It means to be ever-ready; whatever comes we will receive it one hundred percent, do it one hundred percent.
Suppose you bring beautiful flowers or a box of candy to a friend. Some might say taking something with you is not going empty-handed. However, empty-handed does not mean nothing in the hands; it is a condition of mind. You simply want to give flowers out of real joy. There is not idea of “I am giving; I will be thanked, or I am returning a favor.” There are no expectations. This is empty-handedness. Life as it is, without speculation, without intention.
Emptiness or nothingness means that there is no manipulation and no planning by the you, which is the accumulation of your five senses. Both sides of the struggle: I want to, I don’t want to, must be forgotten. So it is said, where there is no enlightenment, there is no-self. Where there is self, there is no enlightenment. Both self and no-self must disappear. When non-self is conceptualized as non-self, then it is not non-self. Many people become attached to the idea of non-self and to the idea of nothingness. But when we are attached to nothingness, this kind of nothingness is not what Buddhism teaches. True nothingness is to be fully aware.
In the fresh, creative life there are no rigid plans. But some people say “Don’t we have to plan for tomorrow, for the next year?” Yes, we make plans, but they should only be tentative guidelines. To have “no plan” means that when you actually do something you put your whole life into it, whatever it is. The minute we say, “I must be selfless,” then that is fixed, not free. Go at it with your total self. Let life take over. When we really do things the self is transcended. In that kind of life every moment is fresh. Every minute is creative. This is what empty-handed means.
Excerpt from: The Center Within by Rev. Gyomay M. Kubose.
9:45 AM: Sitting mediation, all levels, including beginners
Shin Buddhist Service: Rev. Anita Tokuzen Kazarian
October Memorial Service
Animal Memorial Service (Please see below for details)
To include the name of a loved one or friend in the October Shin Buddhist Monthly Memorial Service, please email Rev. Anita. This is an expression of gratitude for those who have come before us and does not require they be Buddhist.
All are welcome, Buddhist or not…
Special Animal Memorial Service on October 17
Animal Memorial Service: Shin Buddhism includes all sentient beings in our aspirations.
Our animal memorial service offers a time to express love, sympathy and respect for all animals. It also offers a time to remember a beloved animal in our own lives. All are welcome to attend. There will be space on the Naijin (altar) to place photos, a remembrance, or their name on a piece of paper. All items will be returned. Please do not bring live animals. Thank you.
Center for Buddhist Education - September through November