≪Each and every person has a valuable life that is uniquely the one and the only in the universe≫
We arrived at O’Hare Airport on April 18th– a clear and sunny Saturday – around noon. Mrs. Murakami, the Chicago Chapter Head, came to the airport to pick us up and we headed for the Chicago Chapter in her car.
The streets were completely changed from the scenery of the long and cold winter and through the sunshine I could feel the warmth of spring. To my surprise, the fresh and young leaves were briskly swaying.And the large crimson colored Magnolia flowers fully blossomed on the branches in all their glory displayed its presence in the tranquility, giving my mind and heart peace and comfort. Unexpectedly, there were rows of hyacinth and tulips of multiple colors blooming on the ground underneath.
I was overcome with the feeling by its resemblance to the Lumbini Garden.
On Sunday, the 19th, the Chicago Chapter held “The Flower Festival” to celebrate Shakyamuni’s Birthday. The Chapter Center was filled to its capacity by many participants who poured sweet tea over the statue of the baby Buddha and celebrated his birth.
Shakyamuni was a healthy baby born over 2500 years ago, in time immemorial, as a prince to King Suddhodana and Queen Maya of the Shakya Kingdom, in the Lumbini Garden on April 8th.
We are told that immediately after birth he took seven steps in each of the four directions (east, south, west and north), pointed his finger toward the heaven and earth proclaiming,
“In heaven above and on earth below, I am the most honored one. I shall dispel the suffering that fills the world.”
The meaning of this symbolically expressed story, in reverence and esteem for Shakyamuni’s majesty,is: “All human beings are born with one’s own valuable life.” This can also be stated that each and every one of us has been given a valuable life that is uniquely the one and the only in the universe.
This also praises the Buddha’s teaching, “the dignity of human nature.”
Furthermore, this teaches that the destiny of the human beings is not controlled by various gods and deities. It is our own thoughts and actions as human beings that determine our destiny.
It is a great, valuable and thankful declaration that all living beings without exception will be guided to liberation
Yes. The Buddha expounded that the way human beings ourselves think and act is the key.
Therefore, how should we human beings live?
In Chapter 2 of the Lotus Sutra, “Skillful Means,” we are taught that although the Buddha will use variety of ways to teach, it is for one great cause alone that the Buddha will appear in the world.
The Buddha said he appeared in the world to cause all living beings to open their eyes to, for him to show, for living beings to apprehend and to enter the way of buddha’s insight.
Buddha’s insight is Buddha’s wisdom. It is the power to discern the true nature, the ultimate reality, of all things in this world.
He appeared in this world for us to attain this wisdom.
If we can truly understand this, any human being can become a buddha. We were taught that we will realize we have the thoughtfulness to care about others・joyful spirit・detachment spirit, and that we are all children of the Buddha who possess such buddha nature and will definitely become buddhas.
What a thankful revelation!
It is because Shakyamuni was born that we were able to come into contact with the Dharma. Furthermore, it is because the Founder and the President thankfully teach the Dharma in easy to understand ways for us in the present era that we are able to put the teachings into practice in our daily lives.
We have been given our lives here and now, and thankfully received the happiness of coming into contact with the Dharma, but we are taught that this is truly a rare occurrence.
Celebration of Shakyamuni’s Birthday is the time to share such joy. It is also an important time to think deeply about our own birth・our life.
“For each and every one of us to realize the value of life”
Isn’t this precisely how we start to appreciate the teaching of “Nothing has an Ego” on our co-existence with all living beings and attain the ability to see that lives of others are just as valuable as our own?
Minister of NY Church