Hope everyone remembered to change your clocks forward 1 hour. I can't believe it's been an entire year since we've been under a social lockdown due to Covid-19. But just as Spring is approaching, we are also welcoming a glimpse of normalcy.
As things start to slowly open up, we will be able to interact with each other. I understand that we will be observing Hanamatsuri (4/11) service via Zoom/YouTube, but will be able to offer sweet tea to the Baby Buddha in person if we wish. More official news will probably be announced through the temple. I believe the temple will ask for flower donations as well as volunteers to decorate the hanamido. On the same day, we will be officially burying our Time Capsule. So for those who have not finished, please take this time to make your finishing touches to your Time Capsule project
I also want to share a story I recently read from the book, Jewels by Kenneth Kenshin Tanaka.
GRATITUDE TO A BAMBOO THICKET
In a bamboo thicket at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains, there once lived a parrot together with many other animals and birds. One day a fire started in the thicket from the friction of the bamboo stalks rubbing against each other in a strong wind, and the birds and animals were frightened and confused. The parrot, feeling compassion for their fear and suffering, and wishing to repay the kindness he had received in the bamboo thicket where he was allowed to shelter himself, tried to do all he could to save the other creatures. He dipped himself in a pond nearby and flew over the fire and shook off the drops of water to extinguish the fire. He repeated this diligently with a heart of compassion out of gratitude to the bamboo thicket.
The spirit of kindness and self-sacrifice was noticed by a heavenly god, who came down from the sky and said to the parrot, "You are a gallant mind, but what good do you expect to accomplish with a few drops of water against this great fire?" The parrot answered, "There is nothing that cannot be accomplished by the spirit of gratitude and self-sacrifice. I will try over and over again and then over again in my next life.: The great god was impressed by the parrot's spirit and together they extinguished the fire.
Dr. Tanaka's comments:
We cannot help but be moved by the parrot's determination and effort to put out the fire, even though it seems like a lost cause. We may feel the same way about how much each of us can contribute in tackling huge social problems, such as poverty, mass shootings and climate change. But the parrot teaches us an important lesson. That lesson is that if all of us did our small part, then we collectively will become a huge force to accomplish what appears to be an impossible task.
In closing, even a small gesture, task, or action can bring a collective change in this world. Let us continue to strive to live the buddhist way in our daily lives.
Namu Amida Butsu