Sangha is a place where values come alive and it’s our responsibility to help each other along the path.
Aloha! Thank you for your warm welcome and kindness as I have been settling into life in Kona. I am truly honored to be your minister and I look forward to getting to know you as we work together to build a strong and vibrant Sangha for West Hawaii. I believe what is essential for our future is a return to our core values which are the foundation of Sangha—of our community. Our Buddhist values of gratitude, compassion, and service are what connects us to the heart of the Buddha. These values manifest the world of awakening in our daily lives in a very real and practical way. In our modern world, it sometimes seems like we might be forgetting these basic values. So where can we learn and practice these values? Right here in this temple. Sangha is a place where values come alive and it’s our responsibility to help each other along the path. It is within Sangha where living our values can strengthen our relationship with each other and help cultivate an authentic life-giving community that inspires compassionate living.
The Dharma teaches us how to see the everyday miracles that allow us to exist right here, right now. The Homages say, “Hard is it to be born into human life; now we are living in it.” When we see our lives as sustained by countless causes and conditions, we realize that we are connected to something greater than ourselves. This is how we can develop an appreciation for life and cultivate a sense of responsibility for doing our part to maintain this amazing chain of causation that we are a part of. Understanding our interconnectedness dispels the illusion of isolation and separateness and reminds us that our actions matter and have an impact in our world and the people around us. This is why in Shin Buddhism we acknowledge and affirm our realization of interconnectedness by saying Namo Amida Butsu. Our actions are a way of expressing gratitude for the working of Namo Amida Butsu in our lives. All our thoughts, words, and deeds manifest the Buddha’s Name which is the activity of wisdom and compassion.
True Sangha is grounded in values. When we live within a community, we naturally care for one another because we are grateful that we do not struggle alone. This was true in the earliest Shin Buddhist communities who struggled to survive in ancient Japan. It was also true for our immigrant ancestors who relied upon the Dharma to survive and flourish in Hawaii. Embracing these values can truly transform our lives enabling us to live in harmony. We face many challenges and these values are even more important in our world today. Even after thousands of years, the living Dharma continues to offer us guidance on how to live true and real lives. As we journey together, let’s remember the values which make our community so special and let’s encourage each other to live out these values daily. I look forward to the opportunity to create Sangha with you. Namo Amida Butsu.