One day while at home, I picked up a children's picture book which my mother had bought for my daughter. I opened the book, started to read it, and then suddenly found myself deeply reflecting on the simple story line being presented. The story was sharing basic life ethics for a child, written in simple language which children can understand, BUT what struck me most was that the lessons being taught were not only for children, but were also good lessons for adults like me as well!
One of the most eye-catching sayings was the following:
“Ask yourself before blaming others.”
This is a quite simple saying which I am sure most of us can understand, BUT I had to stop and think to myself -----am I really following this teaching in my own daily life as an adult? Unfortunately, the answer is NO. In general, it’s quite normal and common that we believe that we are PERFECT and incapable of error and that IF anything goes wrong, then it must be the fault of someone else. I'm sure there are many people in this society besides just me, who think in THIS manner.
Reflecting on this saying, I thought that I have no right to share and instill this teaching in my daughter without practicing this basic truth in my own life! But when I reflect on what does it mean to be a Buddhist, I realize that Buddhism or the Buddhist way of life is the path by which one can become a Buddha (Awakened One) just like the Shakyamuni Buddha. And who is it that will become a Buddha? Why, it is each and everyone of us! In Buddhism, subjectivity is very important since Buddhism is our way of life for which there is no substitute. As we come to the end of this year, I would like to look back on MY Buddhist way of life and reflect, just how did I do???
In deepest gratitude for all the conditions and sacrifices which have been made on MY behalf so that I could live these past 365 days.... I recite "Namo Amida Butsu."
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浄土真宗本願寺派 大見山 超勝寺 衆徒。翻訳家。ハーバード大学 神学部研究員を修了し、帰国。現在は、執筆活動や通訳・翻訳を通して、日本仏教を世界に弘める活動をしています。