JSBTC Day Message from the Office of Bishop
Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada
September, 20, 2017

Rev. Aoki
I hope everyone enjoys the beginning of the new fall season, which illustrates the transient nature of all life. Leaves change their color and eventually fall to the ground.  The fallen leaves then provide nourishment for the tree.  In the spring, new leaves will spring from its branches to display its beautiful greenery...

At the present time, there are a number of issues throughout the world, specifically to do with racism, terrorist activities, nuclear threats, hate, and violence.  These concerns remind me of a story of a bird in the Amida Sutra. It reads;

“Furthermore, Shariputra, in the land of Ultimate Bliss there are various birds of brilliant coloring, such as white egrets, peacocks, parrots, sharikas, kalavinkas, and jivamjivakas.

The birds sing six times a day in exquisite voices. Their very singing expresses Amitabha’s teachings, such as the Five Roots of Goodness, the Five Powers, the Seven Factors of Enlightenment, and the Noble Eightfold Path.
When the people of the land of Ultimate Bliss hear the birds’ voices, all of their thoughts are dedicated to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.”

To further illustrate, there is s story of a mythical bird, jivamjibakas, which goes like this…

Once upon a time, there lived a strange bird in a huge banyan tree. which stood beside a river. The strange bird had two heads, and only one body.  

Once, while the bird was flying high in the sky, he saw an apple-shaped fruit lying on the bank of the river. The bird swooped down, picked up the fruit and began to eat it. It was the most delicious fruit the bird had ever eaten. As the bird had two heads, the other head protested, "I'm your brother head. Why don't you let me also eat this tasty fruit?"

The first head of the bird replied, "Shut up. You know that we've only one stomach. Whichever head eats, the fruit will go to the same stomach. So it doesn't matter which head eats it. Moreover, I'm the one who found this fruit. So I have the first right to eat it."

Hearing this, the other head became silent.  But this kind of selfishness on the part of the first head displeased him very much.  

One day, while flying, the other head spotted a tree bearing poisonous fruit. The other head immediately descended upon the tree and plucked the fruit from it.

"Please don't eat this poisonous fruit," cried the first head. "If you eat it, both of us will die, because we have a common stomach to digest it."

"Shut up!" shouted the other head. "Since I've plucked this fruit, I've every right to eat it."

The first head began to weep, but the other head didn't care. He wanted to take revenge. He ate the poisonous fruit. As a result, both died.

I leave the story like this for you. the reader to figure out.

Namo Amida Butsu
Rev. Tatsuya Aoki
Bishop, Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada


Rev. Aoki

 TVジャパンという日本語放送では、「過保護のかほこ」というドラマが放映しています。昨今は、「モンスター ペアレント(Monster Parent)」なる新しい日本語があるように、学校や他人等に対し、理不尽な要求を繰り返す親を意味します。自己中心的な、自分の子供中心な言動を行う親が増えているようです。なお、調べてみますと、英語ではヘリコプターペアレント(Helicopter parent)という言葉で表され、子供の就職の面接についてくるような過保護の親を指す用語であり、日本のような苦情および訴訟そのものを意識しての用語ではないようです。まさに、ドラマ内でもそのようなシーンが随所に見られます。

 このモンスター ペアレントなる言葉を聞いた時に、とある仏教説話を思い出した。それは鬼子母神(きしもじん)の話で、仏典に登場する話です。鬼子母は源名が梵語でハリーティーと言い、500人の子を持つ母でした。彼女はわが子には愛しみ深い母であり、それと同時に、他人の子をさらい、その血をすすり、肉を食らうというおそろしい鬼女でもありました。それを見たお釈迦様は、彼女が最も愛していた末子を隠して、子を失う母親の苦しみを悟らせ、それから彼女は仏に帰依したという話です。それ以後、子供と安産の守り神になったとされます。



カナダ開教区 開教総長