New Year Message from the Bishop - The Awakening of Faith

Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada.ÔÇòThe religious experience of Jodo Shinshu is rooted in what is known as  Shinjin in Japanese and often defined as ÔÇûthe awakening of faithÔÇû in English.  While the ultimate objective of life in Jodo Shinshu lies in the achievement of Buddhahood, life‘s immediate purpose is realized in the awakening of Faith.ÔÇû
(From Rev. Keneryu Tsuji‘s The Heart of the Buddha Dharma) 
With the dawning of the New Year, it is generally a time for optimism and hope as we look forward to the events and activities for the coming year.  Although we are fortunate to be living in a country where we can begin the New Year with a sense of 
anticipation, the reality is that there are many throughout the world who are not as fortunate.  For them the New Year is just another day as they struggle to make a daily living.
One of the fundamental principles of Buddhism is Dependent Origination; it is regarded that all phenomenal events are dependent on one another.  There is nothing that exists by itself. All things are inter-related or inter-connected. If we truly understand the principle of Dependent Origination, then we must also realize that suffering too is 
not independent of itself. Where there is suffering, the rest of the world is also affected either directly or indirectly. In 2011, we witnessed two large natural disasters, including the Earthquake and Tsunami in Eastern Japan. As well, we observed many tragedies such as the unrest in the Middle East or the Economic turmoil being felt through all corners of the Earth – induced by man. As we welcome the New Year, may I ask each of you to reflect on what you can do as an individual and what we can do as an organization to help relieve some of the suffering throughout the world. As quoted above from the writings of Tsuji Sensei, it is the awakening to the Great Faith of Amida Buddha which is the immediate purpose of our lives. In awakening to Amida Buddha‘s Great Faith, let us share our compassion for those who need help throughout the world. Through the tragedies as the Earthquake in Japan we see the fragility of our own existence and become aware of the preciousness of all life.   May we wish all countries involved in violence to stop their actions and work towards True Peace for all sentient beings on this earth.
As a new chapter in the history of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism in Canada is about to unfold, may I wish you all a very peaceful New Year. Let us strive for Peace throughout the world in 2012, keeping in mind the true calling voice of Amida Buddha.
Namo Amida Butsu, Namo Amida Butsu, Namo Amida Butsu.
In Gassho,
Grant Ikuta, Bishop
Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada.

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