Do not be overwhelmed by fear and isolation!
Go to the Buddha-Dharma for guidance and assurance!
As we, as individuals, our families, our local communities, our nation, and the world grapple with COVID-19, let us, affirmatively and positively, do what we can to help curb its spread and the suffering caused by it. Please keep yourselves updated on the recommendations and advisories that are being issued by governmental and health care agencies which are trying their very best in battling the coronavirus, but they need our help too.
In this respect, the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii has directed all its temples and affiliated organizations connected with HHMH to, for the time being as much as possible, curtail temple services and activities which require people to gather, out of consideration for the health and well-being of one and all, but especially our elderly who comprise a large portion of our membership for the greater cause of stopping the spread of the coronavirus. May we avail ourselves to the Wisdom of the Dharma and keep in mind the interconnectedness and interrelatedness of all people and all things. What we each do matters for all of us!
However, the battle being fought is not only external. There is also an internal battle or struggle that we should be aware of that is also taking place. This battle/struggle is also complex. For any living being, self-preservation is a basic instinct, but being human beings, we also have the ability to live not only by instinct, but also by reason and learned and/or nurtured behaviors. As we think of our own health, let us also consider the well-being of others. Though it may be challenging for me as a bonbu (spiritually foolish being), let us think of how we might be able to mutually benefit and help each other especially in these difficult times. Let us be motivated by our gratitude for the Unconditional Compassion of Amida Buddha. Please remember that Amida Buddha, the Buddha of Immeasurable Life and Infinite Light, no matter where we are is always with us! Thus, it is said that, this is why this Buddha’s name is “Amida,” who “embraces never to forsake.” So, please do not feel and think you are all alone. The Buddha, as Namo Amida Butsu [The-Buddha’s-Name-Which-Calls-Us (to entrust)], is always with us at every moment!
As I offer my well-wishes to you and offer my condolences to those who have lost dear family members and friends, may I finally share that Wisdom guides Compassion and Compassion fulfills Wisdom. In these challenging times, may we go to the Wisdom and Compassion of Enlightenment for guidance and assurance. Namo Amida Butsu/Entrusting in All-Inclusive Wisdom and All-Embracing Compassion [The-Buddha’s-Name-Which-I-Call (in gratitude.)]
Eric Matsumoto, Bishop