Northwest District Convention Schedule
The ART of Buddhist Living by Reverend Yuki Sugahara
When I was a university student in Kyoto, I lived in the area famous for Nishijin brocade. When I walked around my neighborhood, I could hear the sound of weaving. To weave fabric, there must be a warp and weft. Beautiful fabric cannot be woven without the warp or weft, as the weft would fall on the ground without the warp.
The word we often hear at the temple, sūtra, has the same meaning as warp. Shan-tao, one of the Seven Pure Land Masters, described the sūtra (warp) as holding the truth (weft) well and conveying the truth to the people—that is why it is called sūtra. From this metaphor, I believe that we are able to weave a beautiful fabric of life because our lives (weft) are held well by the sūtra (warp). So, all our lives, supported by the sūtra, are beautiful fabric, just like an art, and each fabric is unique. At this virtual convention, we would like to hear unique stories of appreciation, realization, and transformation through encountering the dharma.
APPRECIATION is often expressed in Shinran Shonin’s writings. Shinran Shonin expressed the joy in life, and this joy came from his appreciation of encountering the teaching throughout his travels of life. By encountering the teaching of the nembutsu, we are nurtured to appreciate others with the mind of Okagesamade (because of the efforts and sacrifices of others). With this in mind, participants would like to hear stories of Appreciation.
REALIZATION of one’s limitations and knowing that we are not perfect is why Amida Buddha established the Forty-Eight Vows. Realization of the limitation of the self leads us to appreciation, and realizing and understanding the limitations of our self also leads us to transformation of our actions. Participants would like to hear stories of Realization.
TRANSFORMATION is how our action changes after we encounter teachings. We will continue to be burdened by our blind passions, such as the three poisons (greed, anger, and ignorance), but, now guided by Buddhas, we realize the importance of caring not only about the self, but also about others. Participants would like to hear stories of Transformation.