Rissho Kosei-kai
Buddhist Center of New York

Contact: Rissho Kosei-kai of NY
Phone:212-867-5677
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320 East 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
(39th St bet. 1st Ave & 2nd Ave.)
212- 867-5677
Fax: 212-697-6499

 

Minister's Message

Issue November 2017

【Going back to basics, from a new starting point】

By November, we are totally into the autumn season. Normally, ‘we are surrounded by trees glowing with deep autumn colors’・・・is what I would have liked to say, but perhaps because the temperature difference was relatively mild this year compared to other years, the trees in the forestsseem to be confused.

October 14th~15th, the celebration to commemorate the 35thAnniversary of Founding Rissho Kosei-kai of New York was held at Stony Point’s Conference Center. Stony Point is located about an hour and a half driving distance north of Manhattan. There, in the area spread out on a low hill surrounded by trees, we were able to fully enjoy the aura of autumn: where squirrels walked out from between many types of trees ablaze with fall colors; where deer made their appearance; and, into the night, as if waiting for their turn, where crickets started their chorus.      

On the 15th, the day of the commemorative ceremony, the sunlight that poured through the break in the clouds sparkled beautifully and brilliantly. 

The ceremony proceeded, directed by the outstanding master of ceremony, James. With James leading the way, all participants sang the organizational song of Rissho Kosei-kai in unison (which we had rehearsed before the event).

After that, ten members, representing all the members, offered the candlelight procession. One lit candle, then another…offered to the Buddha sincerely from the heart…becoming our testament as Buddhists. It was beautifully and solemnly performed. I felt extremely emotional as I watched each and every one’s splendid image.   

After the sutra recitation, through Skype, we connected the Sangha in Florida with the venue for the ceremony. Members in Florida were able to affirm the merits they received by coming into contact with the teachings. They clearly conveyed to us how happy they are.

Next was sharing of faith by Eiko Naito. Eiko-san was overwhelmed by life’s predicaments, but through her encounters with the warmhearted RKNY Sangha, she was able to revive the teachings of the Buddha that dwell within her soul. And, she personally experienced the happiness that derived from actually putting the teachings into practice. Her decisive wish to have her friends attain happiness based on this Lotus Sutra as well, gave her the incentive to guide others to the faith. Eiko-san was awakened to the true way of living as humans when she realized the greatest joy, seeing one such friend begin to attain happiness.

Eiko-san was actually suffering from kidney failure and had for two years been going through dialysis treatments. She hoped for a kidney transplant, but was told she must wait nine years for such an opportunity. Under such conditions, a wondrous development occurred.

On July 14th, the hospital contacted her to say they had found a donor, and soon after, an urgent kidney transplant operation was performed.

Three months after the surgery, she shared her faith at the 35thAnniversary Ceremony. She was given “life” which seems like a miracle by an encounter in “life” which seemed like a miracle. Mentioning how she would like to use this “life,” she shared that she would like to improve herself as a human being and to live a life for the sake of others! That was the “sharing of her faith.” I was very deeply moved.

Next, we received Congratulatory Words from our guest speaker, San Francisco Dharma Center’s minister, Rev. Takashi Nagashima. He highlighted some of the details of Eiko san’s “sharing of faith.” He also referred to the question “what is buddha nature?” saying this is “something everyone has,” “not something that is added on, but is innate in everyone when born,” and giving all of us peace of mind. He further indicated three points that will help anyone become aware of this. These three points are – our wish to be praised ▪ our wish to be respected ▪ our wish to help others/ wish to do bodhisattva practice – and they indeed become the keys “to fully open one’s buddha nature.” 

While speaking, Rev. Nagashima harmoniously related with the participants of the ceremony, with such overflowing compassion in his presentation, that all were filled with joy.

In the end, I said my Words of Appreciation. The ceremony was enhanced and supported by the wonderful environment and ended while we were still very deeply moved.

 

Now, in November we will hold the Founder’s birthday celebration. It is of course a most important day for us members. The Founder was born on November 15, 1906.  

And in 1938, at the age of 31 years, he established Rissho Kosei-kai. He just earnestlydedicated himself to sharing the spirit of the Lotus Sutra with people in this world for each and every one’s happiness and world peace and to create a peaceful and tranquil society.

Such generous and sincere character, that kind smile, led many people to trust, respect and love him.

Here, I would like to introduce Founder’s Words.

【When we can reply with “Yes” and say the words “Thank You” without hesitationat any time and in any place, we will pass the test as believers of faith. If we never forget to smile at any time, to reply with loud, bright and cheerful voices, our hearts and minds will dramatically change.

Such way of thinking works like a rudder of a ship, guiding people toward happiness, toward happiness. The Lotus Sutra teaches the fundamental way to see things, how to accept what arises from that, and how to relate to other people. When we can think, “Having been taught such a wonderful path, I can’t help but be joyful and grateful every day,” we attain buddhahood.

Someone once said, “Happiness, it turns out, was my ability to say『thank you』” That is correct.】

When we carefully ponder the Founder’s words, we will feel our hearts and minds become warmer. So, happiness is our capacity to say, “Thank you.” As we were taught in the President’s New Year Guidance, let us clearly verbalize our “thankful” and “grateful” hearts and minds.             

Gassho

New York Center Minister

Etsuko Fujita

 
 

Monthly wisdom from Rissho Koseikai of Japan

 

 

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Rissho Kosei-kai New York Center for Engaged Buddhism