When I came to USA for about 17 years ago, I was surprised by seeing many young people piercings all over the body. When I recently went to back to Japan for my vacation, I realized that young people in Japan were also following American fashion. According to the old fashion, the word ‘pierce’ means ‘pierce earrings’ on girls or ladies. However, today’s many young people both men or women have piercings. They have piercings not only on their ears, but also on their lips, noses, eyebrows, tongues, navels, and so on. Although in our common sense, the piercings are commonly done on the ears, they do every place of their bodies by making the holes.
When I was at Honolulu, I had many opportunities to conduct memorial services. One day, a family came to observe a service and I saw a young boy having a big piercing in his nose like cows. I was chanting sutra and he came to the front in order to offer the incense. I still remember that I could not hold back my laughing. At that time, I thought to myself. “Does he have a pain in his nose? Does he think he looks good?"
To tell the truth, when I was a high school student, I had a pierced earring. At that time, I pierced a hole in my ear by myself. At first, I numbed my ear by ices. Then I pierced by putting a needle through my ear. My ear started to bleed a little bit, but there was no pain. At that time, I was thinking it was looking good although my parents were not happy.
Now, there is another thing that comes into fashion among young people. It is the tattoo and body painting. Although I do not have any tattoo, today’s young people have the tattoos without any hesitations. Although the body painting can be removed by washing, the tattoo cannot be removed easily. Today, science and technology developed so that they can remove the tattoo by using a machine. However, even using the machine, it cannot be removed completely and returning to the original skin condition. Like this, we are greatly concerned about our outer appearance, how about our minds which are no visible?
“I find that all beings, an ocean of multitudes, have since the beginningless past down to this day, this very moment, been evil and defiled, completely lacking the mind of purity. They have been false and deceitful, completely lacking the mind of truth and reality.”
(The Collected Works of Shinran, P.95)
As I reflect on myself, my mind always has many desires. They are like unremoved tattoos which that come to my mind one after another. I cannot completely remove my desires. My mind is full of ego and completely lacking the purity, truth, and reality such as Shinran Shonin’s words. How about you? Do you have a pure mind?
Amida Buddha who is in our minds or is standing in front of us vowed to save all of us at any times and in all places without any discriminations, even though he knows we always have self-centered minds. Amida Buddha’s Name, Namo-Amidabutsu, is none other than Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow. It is one and the same with his Infinite Wisdom and Boundless Compassion. Whenever we recite the Name, we are always one with Amida Buddha.
Today, the time is changing from the old days such as coming into fashions of tattoos and pierces. Also, we are living comfortably by using computer, telephone, car, and so forth. Although I cannot guess our future, Amida Buddha’s Love is unchanging forever. By realizing the Amida Buddha’s perfectness by listening to his teachings in our daily lives, we will be able to realize our true nature, that is who we really are. Let us live happily and courageously by reciting the Nembutsu on every possible occasion in unchanging Amida Buddha’s Wisdom and Compassion.
AMy eyes being hindered by blind passions,
I cannot perceive the light that grasps me;
Yet the great compassion, without tiring,
Illuminates me always.@
(The Collected Works of Shinran, P.385, #95)