Showing posts from August, 2021

How Do You Respond to Difficulties?

  It's been a rough year for many of us. Rev. Kathy shares these thoughts on dealing with adversity:  We have all endured a difficult 18 months. Many of us have witnessed a wide range of reactions to life circumstances. Some of these reactions make us cringe, and others make us smile. We might even judge others for how they deal with life’s bumpy road, forgetting that we, ourselves, have made missteps.  I reflect on this quote when I think about my own actions and thoughts and responses to difficulties: “The Buddha, in the causal stage, made the universal Vow. When beings hear my Name and think on me, I will come to welcome each of them. Not discriminating at all between the poor and the rich and wellborn. Not discriminating between the inferior and the high gifted. Not choosing the learned and those upholding pure precepts. Not rejecting those who break precepts and whose evil karma is profound. Solely making beings turn about and abundantly say the nembutsu. I can

Hay Bales of Foolishness

  "Persons of the Pure Land tradition attain birth in the Pure Land by becoming their own foolish selves."     --Honen Shonin, as quoted by Shinran Shonin in " Lamp for the Later Ages ." It’s hay season here in Southwest Idaho and Northeast Oregon.   As I drive around the countryside, I see hay bales in 3 shapes/sizes.  First, there’s a smaller rectangular kind, that weighs about 55 pounds—this is the kind a grew up with, the kind that I can actually lift up and stack on my own . Then there’s a larger rectangular shape that needs a machine to lift: And, finally, there are enormous circular bales that weigh about 1000 pounds each! Seeing these bales as I drive around Idaho reminds me of an incident that happened a few years ago at the Monastery of St. Gertrude, a community of Catholic nuns just outside Cottonwood, ID.    The nuns own land, including a tree farm, a small orchard, garden plots, and farm land that they lease out to a neighboring farmer.    The whole p

Our Debt of Gratitude

by Rev. Kathy Rev. Anne, Mike Iseri, and I completed the 2021 Obon cemetery visitations last week. Visiting the different cemeteries is a reminder of how much I owe to so many people. Because we are all interdependent and interconnected, it is mind-boggling to consider how many people have touched my life. Each one of us owes a debt of gratitude to a multitude of beings throughout our lives and beyond. We are lucky to live at this time as a human being, having the ability to listen to the Teachings of the Buddha and our founder, Shinran Shonin. Here is a short story to illustrate how precious our lives are. This story comes from the website . “…Buddha’s own words from the  Sutra Containing the Excellent. ‘If there were a huge, deep ocean as big as this entire world with a golden yoke floating on its surface, and, at the bottom, there were a crippled, blind turtle who surfaced only once in a hundred years, how often would that turtle raise its head through the