【Human beings have already been given valuable lives】
We can vividly see the flowering of green leaves these days, and day by day, we seem to be moving toward the intense heat. How are you, everyone?
Now, on May 29th, in commemoration of the110th year since Founder Nikkyo Niwano’s birth, “The 4th World Sangha Assembly” for members from Japan and overseas to meet together was held at Great Sacred Hall in Tokyo. It has been 10 years since the last World Sangha Assembly. The slogan for this gathering was “Be Happy Together, Be As One.”
The program opened with a fluent Japanese-speaking member of the Sri Lanka Dharma Center Sangha as the Mistress of Ceremony. An offering processional of 18 representatives from Overseas Centers and a Center in Japan, wearing native costumes that depicted characteristic traits of their countries and offering items that depicted special features of their regions, followed.
After the sutra recitation led by Kosho-sama, Chairman of the Board, Rev. Kawabata gave us his Greeting Words.
Next, representing all overseas members, Mary Sigman, a member of our New York Dharma Center, presented her Dharma journey.
Mary is sharing the Dharma as the leader of our Ft. Myers district in Florida.
She said, “Based on the Dharma, a Sangha member and I mutually endeavored to overcome her suffering. And from the interactions we had and the joy of becoming liberated, we started to realize that we all live the same life of the Buddha…that we are caused to live. Furthermore, through these interactions, I became aware that both my own adoptive parents and birth parents all live the same one life and are caused to live. I am now full of gratitude and deeply moved.”
In President Niwano’s Dharma Talk, he spoke about “The Seal of the Three Laws” (All things are impermanent; Nothing has an ego; Nirvana is quiescence) to which Shakyamuni was enlightened.
“Within our lives, these three truths, to which the Buddha was enlightened, are continuously alive. Each and every one of our lives is indeed the life of the Buddha itself. Therefore, we human beings have already been given valuable lives.” He concluded, “To be born as human beings is a rare occurrence, a serious matter, and the fact that we, as such, came into contact with the Dharma is truly a splendid matter. Let us live our lives with care.”
The President’s Dharma Talk which covered the essence of Buddhism gratefully penetrated deeply, very deeply, into my heart. As for the ceremony, since it was the gathering of world Sangha in one place, people connected through the teachings beyond the ethnic・cultural・language differences, mutually learning from one another, and it seemed as if the joy of having come into contact with the Dharma as members had transformed into warm lights which spread fully throughout the Great Sacred Hall. It was truly a grateful time for us.
Now, as I had mentioned in the past newsletter, I have a year and nine months old grandson who was born with a serious heart condition known as pulmonary atresia.
During my recent trip to Japan, he was in the hospital to take tests in preparation for his 3rd surgery.
Because the pulmonary valve is closed, to allow blood – that has no place to go – to flow, the tiny cells of his heart have spontaneously created coronary arteries which are serving that function.
It is a life which is working so hard to live.
At the time, I suddenly recalled President Niwano’s Dharma Talk at the World Sangha Assembly.
He said the cells of the human body are said to regenerate in three days, and within that body, the Truth that was taught by Shakyamuni, The Three Seals of the Dharma, is continuously alive and developing. Through his guidance, I felt I was taught, once again, that the Truth that everything and everyone is always inter-related and that everything is always changing, is working precisely and endlessly in the human body
I feel I was clearly shown the miracle of the small universe, which is beyond human knowledge and understanding, in which we live and are caused to live.
It means we cannot tamper with the world in which the Buddha is at work.
When we become accepting in front of the Buddha and go down on our knees saying, “Yes, you are right,” our hearts become liberated and we will come to realize that we actually reside within the compassionate workings of the Buddha.
I learned so much through this World Sangha Assembly.
I am most deeply grateful.
New York Center Minister