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.
Rev. Yuika Hasebe
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.
(The True Teaching, Practice, and Realization)
Do you have any sisters or brothers? If you have, did you fight with them when you were young? I used to fight a lot with my younger brother and sister. At first, I was the one who always won. Then later, my sister became very strong. Finally, my younger brother grew up, and we couldn’t fight anymore.
Nowadays, my sister, my brother and I are quite good friends. We rarely fight; instead we talk a lot and have fun together. My sister and I are especially close. We always chat on and on about many things. Even though, we don’t have a special subject, we keep talking on and on.
But with my brother, my relationship is quite different from the one with my sister. One day, I had a chance to talk with him on the phone. He just happened to pick up the phone when I called my home. I was really happy to hear his voice. So I said in a rush “Hey!! I am really glad to hear your voice. How are you doing? Is everything O.K.? ”Then my brother said, “Yep, fine. So what do you want?” I said “Well….nothing really. I just was wondering … what you were doing…” and then he replied. “I am fine. Bye.” And he hung up the phone. I was really surprised!! And I thought it was not nice at all because that was our first talk after I moved to Hawaii. I wanted to hear something nice from him such as “Are you O.K.?” or “we miss you.”
A few days later, my sister called me, and we started to chat as usual. Then she mentioned our brother. She said to me “You know, Yuika, he is really worried about you.” So, I explained to her what happened on the phone, and said I felt he didn’t care about me at all. Then my sister said “I don’t think so. He worries about you very much. And even now, I guess he went somewhere to buy things for you.” When I heard that, I was really surprised.
A couple of weeks later, a package arrived in Hawaii. When I opened it, there were a lot of Buddhist Sutra CDs and books about Buddhism. My brother had bought and sent these things to me in Hawaii. Even during the time I was angry and in a huff about him, he was worried and cared about me, thinking, “Is Yuika doing all right?”
After hearing that, happy and sweet feelings spread to my heart, and my heart got really warm. I really wanted to say “Thank you” to my brother. I was really happy because I knew I was cared for and loved by him. My brother was cold on the phone, but his true heart is worried and caring. I didn’t realize his true feeling because I only saw his surface.
I think to be cared about and to be wished well gives one a really happy warm feeling. When we experience other people’s warmth and kindness, our hearts become warm and kind, too. I guess when we receive other people’s kindness, the feeling of appreciation and closeness grows naturally.
We live our busy everyday lives. And many things happen in our life. To solve the problems of life and death is the most important question in our life. Not only the important question, but also we are struggling over many things such as family problems, relationships with others, economical problems and so on throughout our life. Sometimes it may be happy things, or sometimes, it may be sad things.
The poem Shinran Shonin wrote expressed that, in any occasion, we are within Amida Buddha’s grasp. But we cannot see the Amida Buddha’s light which illumines us because of our passions which make us blind to the truth. We are lost without noticing it. But Amida Buddha never stops caring for us. Each and every life is a life which is loved and worried about. Even if we don’t realize it, Amida Buddha always cares for us as Amida Buddha’s only child. Let us appreciate Amida Buddha’s compassion and let us put our hands together and recite Namu Amida Butsu.