A message from Bishop Eric Matsumoto
June 8, 2018
On behalf of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, I would like to commit my thoughts to words and express our concern for the welfare of Big Island residents and visitors who are being affected by the eruption of Kilauea (Volcano), especially those who live in the Puna and Kau Districts and in particular Lower Puna. According to the latest reports, lava flows have destroyed over 600 homes and businesses and displaced numerous individuals and families causing much sorrow, anxiety, stress, and grief. Please know that our thoughts are with you. I would also like to inform you that our sister organization on the Mainland, the Buddhist Churches of America extends its concerns and well wishes to you in this most difficult time.
To the members and supporters of Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, especially those associated with Puna, Pahala and Naalehu Hongwanji Temples and Pahoa YBA Hall, I hope that you are finding inner strength in Namo Amida Butsu and the Teachings. As I share my thoughts, today, I am recalling to mind a spiritual poem written by Shinran Shonin who said, “When we say ‘Namo Amida Butsu,’ Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta, together with bodhisattvas countless as the Ganges’ sands or as particles, accompany us just as shadows do things.” We are never alone! We have Wisdom and Compassion, continually at our side, guiding and assuring us.
As we know, for Jodo Shin Buddhists, the efficacy of Namo Amida Butsu is not that it can stop or prevent disasters and misfortunes, but it can provide the inner strength, fortitude, understanding and thoughtfulness to overcome obstacles and hindrances. The power of Namo Amida Butsu is that without eliminating or nullifying the challenge, it provides us with insights about the challenge and myself who is reacting to that challenge through deep awareness and self-reflection, so one is able to overcome the challenge and move forward, positively, for the sake of many. As the Sangha, please go to the Buddha-Dharma for guidance and assurance.
As an expression of our concern and additional support, the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii Committee on Social Concerns has made a donation from its special disaster fund to “The Food Basket” on the Big Island to help those who need assistance in procuring food. At this time, I would like to express my gratitude to those affiliate temple organizations which, out of their concern in the spirit of dana (or selfless giving), have made spontaneous contributions to the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii Committee on Social Concerns for distribution to the Big Island. If any organization or entity of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii wishes to provide assistance, monetary or otherwise, to the Big Island for the volcano disaster, please feel free to do so. The Committee on Social Concerns will continue to monitor the eruption situation. Thank you very much.
Eric Matsumoto, Bishop