"Oh! Wonderful!" Shinran Followers from All Over the World Were Amazed by Amida’s Buddha’s Great Vow. The Congregation to Celebrate Master Shinran’s Birth was held at the Shinrankai Headquarters on May 12 and 13, and Shinran Followers from over 20 countries gathered for this event. They were all so moved at Amida Buddha’s wondrous Vow, and now they are eager to convey the teachings of Master Shinran in their own countries.
We Can Have Happiness Even While Having Our Worldly Passions? When Life Begins to Glow
Oakland City is located 650km to the north of central LA, on the west coast. It is a place where Japanese people used to immigrate to. Katie, who lives in Oakland, encountered Buddhism via the Internet two years ago. She was having trouble getting along with people at that time and was pained to realise her own self-centeredness. First, she wanted to know how she could care more about others, and so she began to learn Buddhism from Bita Asakura, who works as a Buddhist interpreter. She learned that as long as we live, we are full of worldly passions and desires - but we can attain the true purpose of life with all these worldly passions still intact. Her life started glowing from then on. Mrs. Asakura says, "Katie is very kind and I am amazed by how much she respects Amida Buddha." She feels that Katie's bond with Buddhism, which brought her to the 2000 Tatami Mat Hall, is very special.
Brazil The New Shinran Follower Who, At Just 14, Is Eager to Join the Speech Contest Mr. Naoki Iwawaki from São Paulo is a second generation Japanese Brazilian and a junior high school student. Two years ago he faced serious bullying from his classmates because he was wrongly thought to be responsible for a particular incident. After what he went through, he even forgot how to smile and just wanted to die. There was even one time he put a rope around his neck absent-mindedly. But then in February this year, he received a flyer on the street. On this flyer, it said, "There are two kinds of happiness." This phrase led him to a Buddhist study session in Liberdade (Japan Town). He was extremely impressed by the teachings of Buddhism, and ever since then he has been going to São Paulo Shinran Center and listening to Buddhism every day. Of course, he is fluent in the national language of Brazil, which is Portuguese, but his Japanese is also good enough that he can read books written by Soseki Natsume and Ryunosuke Akutagawa. He became a Shinran Follower this April, and the very next month he attended the 10th Anniversary of Tannisho. It was his first time listening to Buddhism directly from Takamori-sensei. After the lecture, he said excitedly, "Now I know that Amida's great Vow is to save us sentient beings, who are deeply stained with evil and inflamed with passions, onto the path of no hindrance!" He hopes to take part in the Speech Contest, and has even submitted a speech draft. "Sadly I didn't make it this time, but I'll definitely give a speech at Ho'onko in the autumn!" says the 14-year-old, brimming with awe-inspiring motivation.
From the Motherland of Buddhism to the 2000 Tatami Mat Hall
"I have learned that Master Shinran’s teaching is the true Buddhism, and I'm feeling a real sense of joy." Ankit, who lives in Delhi, told us how amazed he was over his first visit to the 2000-Tatami-Mat Hall. India is known as the motherland of Buddhism, but today's Buddhism in India is all about ascetic practices in the mountains. Ankit had doubts in this path, and so two years ago, he started joining Buddhist study sessions via the Internet. He was amazed to know that Master Shinran had engaged in ascetic practices in the mountains for 20 years, but then left the mountains and was saved by hearing the Vow of Amida Buddha alone. "I visited the 2000-Tatami-Mat Hall in Japan and felt like I was led to the sea of Amida Buddha’s Vow, just like a river meandering into the ocean."