I am now in Tokyo. I visited Sumida, one of the old downtown districts in Tokyo today. One of my close friends, Rev. Koichi Saito, who now serves as minister of Rissho Kosei-kai of Sumida, invited me to attend a Hoza session at his Dharma Center. Before visiting the Dharma Center, Mr. Takagi of Rissho Kosei-kai of Sumida kindly guided me to the Memorial Hall in Tokyo.
Mr.Takagi and Memorial Hall
As you may know, Tokyo was destroyed by a gigantic earthquake, called the Great Kanto Earthquake, on September 1, 1923. Buildings and houses were either collapsed or burned down, and 100,000 people were killed. Sumida was one of the most affected areas.
People in Tokyo experienced another serious damage during the World War II. 325 B-29 aircrafts attacked Tokyo on March 10, 1945. A large portion of Tokyo was burned down and nearly 100,000 men and women including children were killed by this US air raid. It is known as Great Tokyo Air Raids.
In the Memorial Hall, all the victims of both the Great Kanto Earthquake and Great Tokyo Air Raids were enshrined. I offered my sincerest prayers to them. I had known about both incidents but by visiting and offering a prayer, my knowledge turned into my own experience. If I had been born at that time in this area, I must have been one of the victims. They lost their lives; I have my life here. I could not help but thinking about the meaning of life of mine and renewed my vow to live my life fully for peace and happiness of all.
Mr. Takagi explained to me that every October, 20-30 religions groups get together to offer prayers for victims. Under the guidance of minister, he had worked hard to make this interfaith prayer service realized. Every year at the prayer service, this Peace Bell is tolled. “May the sound of the bell reach to heart and mind of everyone and peace and harmony prevail in the world”. Mr. Takagi and I prayed together in front of the bell.
In the evening, I attended the Hoza session at Sumida Dharma Center. I was very happy to be with warm and friendly Sumida Sangha. I shared with the youth members the way to happiness. In order to make our lives happier and peaceful, we need to know the path. And we need to walk the path. I shared the path to happiness, known as the Six Perfections.
As you may know, they are;
1. Practice of Giving
2. Practice of Keeping the Precepts.
3. Practice of Perseverance
4. Practice of Efforts.
5. Practice of Meditation
6. Practice of Wisdom
We had good interactions and enjoyed the Hoza.
One man reflected on his everyday life and decided to start giving morning greeting to his parents by warmly saying, “Good Morning”. This is the Practice of Giving.
Another man determined to attend the 6am early morning chanting session for the next 21 days. This is the Practice of Keeping the Precepts.
Another one said that he would be more willingly giving a way to other cars on the street when he drives. This is the Practice of Perseverance.
Another one said that he would work harder at his office. This is the Practice of Efforts.
A young man decided to do Gokuyo, Sutra Recitation, more often. This is the Practice of Mediation.
Another one said that he would attend the hoza more often. This is the Practice of Wisdom.
I saw everyone’s buddha-nature working. And I was convinced that by walking the path we all can become buddhas. We should work together so that all living beings may awaken to the buddha-nature and world peace be achieved.