We started sitting meditation class last year in the  Betsuin’s Nokotsudo (Columbarium) every Sunday from 8:15 am. I know it is a little bit early. From  Jodo Shinshu’s standpoint, we don’t require meditation practice in order to attain enlightenment, because we are so far from the beings who accomplish this practice perfectly. Already understanding our sadness and suffering, Amida Buddha accomplished the practices instead of us, established the path and is leading us to help us attain enlightenment. Therefore, in Jodo Shinshu tradition, we are allowed to live in the path to Buddhahood, hearing the teaching of Amida Buddha while living in our daily lives.

We started this session to facilitate reflection upon our own lives through spending time sitting quietly. I am also a sitting beginner. We sit 10 -15 minutes following by a 5 minute break. Since I was not used to it, I swayed back and forth and felt uncomfortable at first to spend time just sitting quietly without doing anything. Even if I tried not to think about anything, random stuff comes up one after another. Away from busy daily life for a short time, what I heard was only the sound of breathing.

We are living our lives with each and every breath. It is just a simple repetition of breathing in and breathing out. But we are living because our breath still goes on without stopping these workings. Even if you struggle in your life and lose the meaning of living your life, your heart keeps beating without getting tired of it. Our organs and each of our cells try to let us survive. Although we tend to take for granted living our lives now, I can say that something working beyond our thoughts and our controls at the core of our lives let us live our lives at this moment. Buddhism gives us opportunities to listen to the core messages contained in each our lives. It doesn’t say “Be strong”, Be perfect” or “Be smart” to you all the time. Those are our expectations, our desires for our own lives or sometimes for others’ lives. When you look at each of our lives in the Amida Buddha’s perspective, you will know that you are just you, no matter what anyone says, you are you nothing more, nothing less. There is originally no judgement, no calculation, no comparison of each our lives. It was really simple, but as we grow older, we’ve made it more complicated. Buddha always tries to free us from the many constraints which we make for ourselves and make us aware of the true unhindered value of our lives in the resonance of Namo Amida Butsu.  Our lives still go on from now to the time our lives end in this world. Sometimes we may face difficulties, we may feel sadness, but each moment, each breath, Buddha always embraces our lives just as we are. This is what I felt from the sitting experience. My heart was filled with a sense of security maybe because we physically sat in front of Amida Buddha. I hope more and more people will be able to encounter the core message contained in each of our lives through the teaching of Amida Buddha. Everyone is always welcome to join this session!