Are You Doing Enough?
Reverend Matt Hamasaki, Resident Minister
On Memorial Day we paid tribute to all the U.S. military personnel who have given the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the United States armed forces.
As Jodo Shinshu Buddhists, we recognize that we are the beneficiaries of infinite sacrifices and as Americans, the product of the lives given by our nation’s military. With this recognition, we pay forward our gratitude in part through our gatherings and our rituals, but more concretely and meaningfully through our actions and how we live our lives.
With this debt of lives given to us, what kind of repayment is it for us to have 19 children and two teachers gunned down? Did the freedom and protection these brave soldiers died for include those parents who will never be able to see their kids again? Is the country they laid their lives down for characterized by us feeling unsafe bringing our children to school? To say that the way our nation exists today is a waste of their effort would be an understatement.
As Jodo Shinshu Buddhists, we are compelled by the vast compassion of so many people: those who are close to us and those we may have never met, to live in a way that makes the world better. It starts with us, taking actions to make ourselves better, then hopefully our community, then maybe our country, and possibly the world. And our motivation comes from the realization that to not do our best to ensure the safety and well-being of all those around us would be to dishonor those countless sacrifices.
So, in the spirit of the Nembutsu teaching, I humbly ask all of you to look at yourselves and ask what you are doing to contribute to a world where all beings are happy and well, and then ask yourself what more you can be doing.