A message from Rev. Yuika Hasebe which appears in the book, “The Taste of the Nembutsu,” published in 2016 by the HHMH State Ministers Association. The book is a collection of dharma messages by each of the active ministers.
To extend the reach of the dharma within these messages, we will publish one per week on our website.
Things I Couldn’t See
Rev. Yuika Hasebe
I hope that everybody is having a wonderful month of September. The weather is getting mild, and it is a good time to do outdoor activities. Recently, I began hiking. I used to dislike all outdoor activities other than camping, but as I got older, I started liking it. A couple of months ago, I went to Maunawili Falls. It took about an hour to reach the falls. I had to cross a river and climb up a lot of stairs. The mountain was beautiful, and I really enjoyed the hike.
When I finally reached the falls, I saw people swimming in the pond, and the water looked really cool and so good. I watched the falls and swimmers for a while. But I noticed that the sky was getting darker and darker. I didn’t have any raincoat or an umbrella. I was afraid that the rain would drop soon, and if the rain came, the path would be muddy. So, I decided to head out. While I was rushing down the mountain, I could hear that the rain had started to drop. I wondered “Oh…Should I speed up? Maybe…Otherwise, I will be all wet!” I decided to speed up and was almost running. I only looked down to make sure that I would not fall. After awhile, I got tired and had to stop to take a breath. I found a big rock and sat down.
The place was really quiet and peaceful. I could hear the birds, river, and rain. Then suddenly, I realized that my body was not wet at all. I could hear the rain, but I didn’t feel any rain dropping on my body. I looked up at the sky and realized that the tree branches and leaves were covering the sky. That’s the reason I didn’t get wet at all.
At that moment, I thought about Amida Buddha’s Compassion and Wisdom. I realized that I was only watching my foot steps to make sure not to fall and didn’t notice the tree branches blocking the rain. It didn’t mean that the branches and leaves saved me from the rain, or that Amida Buddha protected me from the rain. Those branches and leaves were just there. This incident taught me how blind I was. I was afraid to get wet, so I just hurriedly looked down and focused on getting to the starting point. I thought walking quickly was the best thing for me. But the branches and leaves were so thick, so I would not have gotten wet even if I had walked down the hill. I thought I knew the right way, but I did not. Shinran Shonin said “Although I, too, am within Amida’s grasp, passions obstruct my eyes, and I cannot see the light; nevertheless, great compassion is untiring and illumines me always.” Amida Buddha’s true intention is to save the ones who are lost in the dark and don’t know it. Amida Buddha is always calling us, reaching out to us in various ways. But because of blind passions, we can’t see the light. We don’t notice the light. Yet, Amida Buddha never gives up on saving us. Namu Amida Butsu.