The Other Shore? You’re Standing on It.

Dharma Talk for Spring Equinox Service (Shunki Higan Hoyo) at Makawao Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in Historic Makawao Town on the beautiful island of Maui in the great state of Hawaiʻi.

The Equinox, when day and night, light and dark, are exactly equal is the perfect time to pause and reflect on the balance between our spiritual and secular lives. Am I am truly living the Life of Nembutsu, the Life of Gratitude?

Namo Amida Butsu


A reflection on my personal reactions to the horrific insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and how as Shin Buddhists, we can try to respond to the relentless images of violence and destruction. From a Buddhist perspective, there are no “winners” or “losers”, no “good” or “evil”, no “right” and “wrong”, just us, ordinary human beings trying to understand the Truth of Impermanence and cope with relentless change. As Shin Buddhists, all we can do is try to respond in gratitude, to respond to hate with love, empowered by the Faith of Shinjin, the Great Compassion and Great Love of Amida that assures us of Birth in the Pure Land. Recorded live on January 10, 2021 at Makawao Hongwanji.

To Vaccine or Not to Vaccine, that is the Question

“To vaccine or not to vaccine, that is the question.”

From a Buddhist perspective, there is no question: get the vaccine! 

Based on the Buddhist principle of ahimsa “non-harm,” protecting oneself and others from infection by receiving a COVID-19 vaccination is intuitively obvious. The Dharma of the Buddha’s Teachings consistently emphasizes causality, empiricism, and logical rationalism, the same principles upon which science is built.

As Shin Buddhists on the path of Nembutsu, we strive daily to practice “other-centric compassion” by washing hands, wearing masks, keeping distance, and staying at home as much as practical. We try to reach out to others, to help others, to smile with aloha, and to say mahalo.

For Shin Buddhists, the Faith of Shinjin, the Heart of Great Compassion gratefully received from Amida is the source of strength and serenity as life unfolds naturally, whether it is a novel coronavirus, political and societal change, or simply when things don’t quite work out as expected.

Culturally as Americans, however, we are trained to think and live life as if, “It’s about ME!”  It’s always about MY EGO (ME). Ego-centric selfishness compels thinking like, 

“I won’t get infected!”

“Even if I get infected, I won’t die, I’ll recover quickly!”

“Other people getting infected and dying? Has nothing to do with me!”

Because I’m the exception, I’m entitled, I’m special, I deserve all the good stuff in life, and none of the bad! And yet, in the back of our rational minds, we know this assertion to not hold true, and this disconnect creates anxiety, fear, anger, rage, and hate that manifests in irrational behaviors.

We know better but do stupid things anyway. This is the human condition.

Shakyamuni Buddha identified this clinging attachment to ME, the primacy of the Ego-Self, as the cause of all suffering, discontent, and dissatisfaction in human life. The Buddha taught that to eliminate the attachment to ME (or eliminate ME) is the end of suffering. This state of being is called Nirvana, the extinguishing of self-centered craving, desire, and attachment.

The challenge is that the Buddha taught renunciation of this world, becoming a monk, giving up everything, and living according to strict discipline by following the Eightfold Path of the Nobles. Not everyone is ready, able, or willing to become a monk!

Thus, Shakyamuni Buddha revealed in the Larger Sutra of the Tathagata of Immeasurable Life the Dharma of the path of Nembutsu created by Amida Buddha precisely for ego-centric, self-centered, ordinary human beings who are dominated by their blind passions, exemplified by anger, greed, and folly. Like me!

Hearing the Calling Voice of Amida, and saying Namo Amida Butsu with absolute sincerity and the awaking the aspiration for Birth in the Pure Land to help others, we gratefully receive Shinjin, the Great Love and Great Compassion of Amida, the Heart of Compassion and the Mind of Non-Discrimination of Amida. And it is gratefully receiving shinjin that assures our Birth in the Pure Land, and thus becoming Buddha.

The argument against the COVID-19 vaccines is primarily driven by fear.

Fear that the vaccine may not work or have serious side effects. Fear that government, the scientists, public health agencies, and/or the media are lying about the vaccine. Fear that the “best days of our lives” are behind us.

Fear is an emotional, psychological, and physiological reaction to external stimulus that the human brain and EGO-self interpret as an existential threat.

Fear is not rational. 

Thus, Fear can only be overcome by Compassion.

It is human nature for me to insist that I, alone, am right.

It is human nature for me to insist on “persuading” someone they are wrong.

It is human nature to resent others who insist upon “telling me what do!”

When both sides of conflict insist they are right and the other is wrong, conflict arises.

In the end, each individual must make up their own mind about whether or not to receive the vaccine, when it is available for them. Each individual must weigh the facts, the body of evidence, authoritative opinions, and make a judgement for themselves.

Personal exceptionalism, or individual liberty, is the American way. And, taken to an extreme, why we have such anger, division, incivility, hate, and rage in our nation today. 

As we’ve observed in the past months, the absolute reality is “personal exceptionalism” can be extremely harmful during a public health emergency.

While individuals have the inalienable right to express their opinions and to make individual choice, the right of individual liberty must not and cannot be allowed to infringe on the equally important rights of others to their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. 

As Buddhists, we must seek the Middle Path, seek to understand the other person’s position, and work together to find balance between extremes.

In my opinion, the science behind the vaccines is valid, and I plan to get the vaccine as soon as possible, when it is available. 

Clearly, there is a risk I might be one of the 5% for whom the vaccine doesn’t work, a risk of known and unforeseen side effects, or the discomfort of post-injection flu-like symptoms.

But as Buddhists, we know that there is “risk” in every aspect of human life! 

As Buddhists, we know the Truth of Impermanence applies to everyone without exception. As Shin Buddhists, we know all we can do is try the best we can in this unrepeatable life, and gratefully leave our Birth in the Pure Land, and becoming Buddha, up to Amida. 

The Faith of Shinjin, the absolute assurance of Birth in the Pure Land, and becoming Buddha gives Shin Buddhists the strength and serenity to adapt, improvise, and overcome the challenges and obstacles created by COVID-19.

If you asked the ex-copywriter in me to develop a t-shirt slogan for these times, it might be something like this: 

Get the vaccine 


Wear a mask 

Until you die.

Which is why I am an ex-copywriter.

Please stay on guard, stay healthy, and have fun, as we begin a new year embraced by Amida’s Great Love and illuminated the unhindered Light of Wisdom.

Let us aspire to be grateful, compassionate, and wise, always giving the gift of kind eyes and gentle words to every person and living being we encounter in this unrepeatable life.

May the year 2021 bring you and your loved ones the best of health, lots of fun, and wonderful encounters with friends and fellow travelers on the Path of Namo Amida Butsu.

Namo Amida Butsu!

Rev. Kerry

Amida’s Absolute Ahola: “…bits of rubble turned into gold.”

Dharma Talk at Makawao Hongwanji, December 6, 2020

Let’s begin with the wisdom of Shinran Shōnin. 

Please join me in putting our palms together in gasshō.

“(Amida) Buddha, in the causal stage, made the universal Vow:

When beings hear my Name and think on me, 

I will come to welcome each of them,

Not discriminating between the poor and the rich and wellborn,

Not discriminating between the inferior and the highly gifted;

Not choosing the learned and those upholding pure precepts,

Nor rejecting those who break precepts 

and whose evil karma is profound.

When beings just turn about at heart and often say the nembutsu,

It is as if bits of rubble were turned into gold.”

— Shinran Shōnin, quoting a hymn by Tz’u-min in Notes on ‘Essentials of Faith Alone’ (CWS, Vol 1, page 456)

Good morning!

Let’s first give context to a few terms in this hymn. 

“Buddha in the causal stage” refers to the Bodhisattva Dharmakara making the 48 Vows, including the Primal Vow (universal vow), and, upon fulfilling all the Vows, becoming Amida Buddha.

“…hear my Name and think on me…” is to hear the Calling Voice of Amida in Namo Amida Butsu. 

Namo Amida Butsu, the Name of Amida, is the embodiment of Amida’s sending virtue for our Birth in the Pure Land, and the perfection of practice.

“…and think on me…” is the literal translation of Nembutsu, “to think on the Buddha.” 

The practice of Nembutsu is simply awakening to, becoming aware of, and truly appreciating the Embrace of Great Love and Great Compassion, Amida’s working in our lives to guide us to birth in the Pure Land.

“…Not discriminating between the poor and the rich and wellborn,

Not discriminating between the inferior and the highly gifted;

Not choosing the learned and those upholding pure precepts,

Nor rejecting those who break precepts 

and whose evil karma is profound.”

This is the “universal” Vow — Amida’s Vow is to save all beings without discrimination, judgement, or preference.

The Mind of Non-Discrimination (also translated as Mind of Absolute Equality) is byōdō shin in Japanese. 

Shakyamuni Buddha taught 2600 years ago that the human mind, as wonderful as it is, is ultimately limited and thus instinctively sees the world in a dualistic perspective: me vs. them, black vs. white, good vs. evil (in a moral sense), etc.

The Path of Discipline, the traditional monastic path to Enlightenment, aims to break free from the Ego, the dualistic mind, the mind of discrimination, through renunciation, self-discipline, meditation, upholding precepts, intensive study of the sutra, relentless practice.

Put another way, if you were not able or capable or in a position to become a monk, excel in your studies, practice relentlessly, meditate for days, etc., you were out of luck.

Enlightenment, the pursuit of Enlightenment, was limited to the wealthy, powerful, wellborn, educated, exceptionally talented people who had the time and resources to devote their lives to monastic practice.

Shinran Shōnin, his great teacher Hōnen Shōnin, and the Nembutsu teaching of Jōdo Pure Land School, shattered this paradigm and disrupted the status quo. 

“When a person realizes the mind of nondiscrimination,

That attainment is the ‘state of regarding each being as one’s only child.’

This is none other than Buddha-nature;

We will awaken to it on reaching the land of peace.”

—Shinran Shōnin, Hymns of the Pure Land, CWS Vol 1, page 350

Shinran’s metaphor in this verse is exceptionally easy to understand: The Mind of Non-Discrimination is Buddha-Nature; Buddha-Nature is the “state of regarding each being as one’s only child.”

It’s really easy to nod our heads in agreement, and instantly want to share this “wisdom” with other people on social media. And then, go on with our normal lives.

“Oh, those crazy selfish people who don’t wear masks! THEY should regard each being as one’s only child!”

It’s easy to point the finger at others, to think “Wisdom” is for other people.

It’s difficult to reflect on oneself truthfully, to see oneself stripped of the Ego-Self in the Light of Wisdom. 

Which is why Shinran’s verse ends with “we will awaken to it on reaching the land of peace” — i.e., when we are born in the Pure Land after we die, and leave behind this human body and mind, and then realize Buddha-nature, become Buddha.

These words are not a criticism nor is an exhortation to “be a better you”. 

Neither is it a pessimistic worldview.

This is a declaration of the truth, a most passionate expression of Shinran’s faith of shinjin!

“We WILL awaken to it on reaching the land of peace.”

There is no doubt in this statement!

Shinran Shōnin’s personal experience of transformation through the faith of shinjin centered on his constant realization that he was incapable of love and compassion, that he was not able to realize his Buddha-nature, the Mind of Non-Discrimination, the Heart of Great Compassion while he was in a human body and dominated by a self-center human heart WHICH IS PRECISELY WHY SHINRAN IS THE OBJECT OF AMIDA’S VOW!

Shinran was of noble birth, highly educated, a passionate teacher of the Nembutsu, and an accomplished religious thinker. And yet, he was constantly aware of his true nature as a self-centered human being.

“The shinjin of the wise is such that 

they are inwardly wise, outwardly foolish.

The heart of Gutoku is such that

I am inwardly foolish, outwardly wise.”

—Shinran Shōnin, Gutoku’s Notes, Fascicle 1, CWS, Vol 1, page 587

These verses were written by Shinran at age 83—what a remarkable degree of self-reflection, self-awareness, and self-honesty! 

As a side note, “Gutoku” is a nickname Shinran used, which translates as “foolish stubble-headed” person, or “foolish failed monk.”

But because Shinran had personally experienced the transformation of the Faith of Shinjin, he had no doubt of his birth in the Pure Land and thus becoming Buddha.

And this subjective experience of being assured of Birth in the Pure Land and thus Buddhahood, breaking free of this world of delusion, or “Salvation” in a Buddhist sense, through the “Other Power” of Amida’s Vow working in one’s life is the source of Shinran’s passion.

“…When beings just turn about at heart and often say the nembutsu, it is as if bits of rubble were turned into gold.”

In Japanese, this is expressed as:

回心 eshin
回 To turn about

心 Heart-Mind

This “turning about of the heart-mind” is the transformative experience of Shinjin, receiving the heart-mind of Amida, the entrusting heart, the Mind of Non-Discrimination and the Heart of Great Compassion.

It may be easier to think of shinjin, “the turning of this heart-mind” this way:

Amida’s Absolute Aloha

In my kotonk understanding, aloha means absolutely unconditional love, absolutely inclusive love, and by sharing this aloha, or having aloha shared with you, changes your heart, and adjusts your attitude.

Being from Los Angeles, aloha has always made me a little uncomfortable. For me, it is very difficult to accept being accepted unconditionally because it forces me to see my true nature as a selfish, ego-centric, self-deluded limited human being!

And yet, I have been accepted with aloha in Hawaii; in fact, aloha showers down on me and Mimy every day in the form of kind and gentle people in the Makawao Hongwanji sangha temple community, spectacular sunrises, rainbows, sunsets, ocean views, and the majesty of Haleakala.

Am I grateful?

I know I’m supposed to be grateful!

To be honest, it’s really easy to take aloha for granted and not make a deliberate and conscious effort to live aloha by sharing aloha with every person and living being we encounter.

“Live Aloha” is a command to other people! 

YOU live aloha first, then I’ll live aloha!

But slowly and surely, having truly received aloha, you experience a change of heart, an adjustment of attitude, and suddenly it’s easy to say mahalo, to feel mahalo simply for the reality that we get to live here, to wonder at the causes and conditions of our life brought us here!

“…When beings just turn about at heart and often say the nembutsu, it is as if bits of rubble were turned into gold.”

Through the working of Amida’s Vow, Namo Amida Butsu, the Nembutsu working in our lives, WE turn about at heart and often say the nembutsu, Namo Amida Butsu!


Because we are “bits of rubble”!

Rev. Dr. Bert Sumikawa once told me, “Easy to see shinjin in others, hard to see shinjin in yourself.”


Because we are “bits of rubble” but we don’t want to admit it to ourselves!

I know, without a doubt, I am “bits of rubble” …after 60 years of life, it’s intuitively obvious that I’m not even close to my “self-image” hahaha!

Despite that, I am desperately concerned about how other people see me, my reputation, my “brand” as a smart, sophisticated, urbane, profound teacher of the BuddhaDharma!

How silly is that! 

How self-centered!

Even Amida laughs with me on that one…

And after we stop laughing at how stupid I can be, I begin to understand Shinran’s words.

Shinran’s key teaching is having received shinjin, we say Namo Amida Butsu in gratitude for the Great Heart of Compassion of Amida Buddha that embraces me, just as I am, and the Infinite Light of Wisdom of Amida Buddha that illuminates the folly, the silliness, the self-centered stupidity of my thoughts, words, and actions on a daily basis!

When I see myself as just “bits of rubble”, it is humiliating and humbling. 

“ME,” my big fat EGO, doesn’t like that.

And yet, I am forced to admit to myself that it is true! I am just “bits of rubble.”

And this is the source of profound gratitude for Amida’s Absolute Aloha that reaches out to me, changing my heart, adjusting my attitude, no matter how far I try to run, and no matter how long it takes.

Good thing Amida has Immeasurable Life and Infinite Wisdom!

Amida has done the heavy lifting for us, Amida is sending us Great Love every day, awakening our Great Compassion, though the gift of Namo Amida Butsu.

All we have to do is gratefully receive the gift of Amida’s Absolute Aloha and let it change us from bits of rubble into gold!

May your day be filled with Amida’s Absolute Aloha!

Namo Amida Butsu!

“A Great Torch in the Dark Night of Ignorance”

Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii Online Dharma Message on November 1, 2020: “A Great Torch in the Dark Night of Ignorance”.

Grateful for the opportunity to give an Online Dharma Message today—because it means I woke up not dead!

In reflection, everything in my life has led me to this moment, every person I encountered taught me something important, every success was due to other people, and every failure because I was angry, greedy, or stupid.

In reflection, the absolute truth and infinite reality of Namo Amida Butsu has always been in my life; it just took my entire adult life for my Ego-Self to get out of the way.

Good thing Amida has Immeasurable Life!

May your day be filled with aloha!Namo Amida Butsu!



This is a Japanese-language “mini” Dharma Talk originally broadcast on KZOO-AM as part of the Hongwanji Hour radio program that Hawaii Betsuin has sponsored for many years.

The English title is “There’s Too Much Time” and my essay on this experience can be found here.

Even after having lived in Tokyo for 25 years, I still need to work on my pronunciation and enunciation in Japanese. I apologize in advance to any Japanese listeners who find my Japanese to be painful on the ears.

Photo Credit: Copyright ©2015-2020 Los Guys Hawaii LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Let’s Make Rainbows

Once upon a time in a magical place called Hawaii, eight islands in the middle of the big blue sea, there lived many happy children who loved to play together. 

One day, the children noticed they were all different colors. 

“I’m black!”

“I’m white!”

“I’m purple!”

The children started arguing.

“I’m best because I am all the colors put together,” said the black girl.

“I’m best because I have no color,” said the white boy.

“I’m best because I’m a mix of red and blue,” said the purple child.

Suddenly, all the children were arguing about who was best.

Nobody was happy because each child insisted they were right, and the other children were wrong.

Just then, Amida Buddha appeared before the children.

“Aloha, children,” Amida smiled and said gently, “why are you arguing?”

The black girl said, “Everyone else is wrong! I’m best because I’m all the colors put together!” 

The white boy said, “Nobody agrees with me! I’m best because I have no color!”

The purple child said, “All I want is to be accepted just as I am! I’m best because I’m a mix of red and blue!”

“I see,” Amida smiled and said kindly, “when did this argument start?”

The children all thought carefully.

“I know,” said the white boy, “we started arguing when we noticed we were all different colors.”

“Yes, that’s right,” said the black girl, “when we noticed we were all different colors, each of us insisted we were best.”

“We used to play together happily until we noticed we were different colors,” said the purple child.

“You children are so wise,” Amida smiled kindly and said gently, “what are you going to do?”

The children said, “We will accept each other just as we are. It’s so silly to insist that the color of our skin makes any difference at all!”

The children started playing together happily, singing happy songs, and dancing happy dances.

Suddenly, each child started shining brightly, just as they are, and, together as one, all the children became a beautiful rainbow that stretched around the world!

Amida Buddha smiled and said, “Mahalo, children. You are so wise. Namo Amida Butsu!”

From that day, all the children lived happily ever after in a magical place called Hawaii, eight islands in the middle of the big blue sea.


“There’s Too Much Time”

When I consider deeply the Vow of Amida, which arose from five kalpas of profound thought, I realize that it was entirely for the sake of myself alone! Then how I am filled with gratitude for the Primal Vow, in which Amida resolved to save me, though I am burdened with such heavy karma.

Shinran Shōnin (1173-1263)
Quoted in A Record in Lament of Divergences
Collected Works of Shinran, Vol. 1, page 679

When I was preparing to become a Buddhist minister, I was given the opportunity to visit a woman in a nursing home who was most comfortable speaking in Japanese.

“Hello, Mrs. N, how do you do? My name is Kerry.”

“Thank you, thank you for coming! Namo Amida Butsu!”

“It’s my pleasure. How are you feeling today?”

“There’s too much time, thank you! Namo Amida Butsu!”

I was very puzzled by this response but kept my mouth shut and just listened, as I was taught by my mentor, Rev. Dr. Bert Sumikawa.

Mrs. N was very happy to talk story about life in a nursing home, how everyone was so nice to her, how wonderful the facility was, and how grateful she was for being there.

When the nurse came to take her to physical therapy, Mrs. N smiled at me and said,

“Thank you for coming, thank you! Namo Amida Butsu!”

“Sure, Mrs. N, I’ll see you tomorrow!”

“Thank you! Namo Amida Butsu! Ah, there’s too much time.”

The next morning, I went back to visit her, hoping to find out what she meant by “There’s too much time.”

I signed in at the front desk and went to her room.

There was only an empty bed.

The duty nurse informed me that Mrs. N was taken to the hospital in the middle of the night, and passed in the early morning light.

Returning home, I pondered what this encounter meant, what Mrs. N was telling me when she said, “There’s too much time!”

Was she literally telling me that, having reached the end of her life, she was bored because she had nothing to do, no places to go, no one to see?

Then, in single thought-moment, I realized she was telling me to wake up to the preciousness of this moment of this day of this unrepeatable life, to not waste time, to receive “shinjin”—the entrusting heart-mind given to us by inconceivable power of Amida’s Great Compassionate Vow. Namo Amida Butsu!

During this lockdown, how often have I longed to return to my “normal” life: always “busy” and bothered, constantly wishing I had “more time.” Things to do, places to go, people to see!

Being forced to stay at home by causes and conditions, I now realize, “There’s too much time!”

“Social distancing” means it is all too easy to become bored, to feel isolated, to feel disconnected from life itself, to become angry, to grumble, to rage, to hate.

And yet, life goes on, just as it is.

In the Infinite Light of Wisdom, I see that beneath the black robes of a Buddhist minister, I remain self-centered, arrogant, and irritable!

I remain karma’s fool, just as I am.

When I go to the temple to check the answering machine, I always say hello to Amida.

Amida smiles at me and speaks to me in the voice of a California surfer.

“Oh, so now you’re bored? Dude, you were always wishing for more time!”

Now that I have been given “too much time,” I want to go back to being “busy”!

Shakyamuni Buddha taught my stubborn attachment to ME (My Ego) is the cause of unhappiness when life doesn’t go the way I want. Thus, many Buddhist paths seek to break free of the Ego-Self through renunciation of the world, discipline, meditation, chanting, and study.

Shinran taught that for bonbu—ordinary human beings filled with blindly self-centered desires and hopelessly attached to the fascinations of this evanescent world—the only path to Enlightenment is Namo Amida Butsu, the Nembutsu, single-heartedly entrusting in Amida’s Compassionate Vow, receiving the gift of shinjin.

In Shinran’s words, Amida created the path of Nembutsu specifically for ME (My Ego) because I lack the dedication, discipline, and endurance to single-heartedly pursue Buddhist practice, even when given “too much time.”

The Infinite Light of Wisdom reveals that given everything I ever wanted, I still bitch and moan about causes and conditions beyond my control.

I am wasting time!

There are so many people I can re-connect with today!

My mom, my brother and sister, my aunties and uncles, my cousins, my old friends from high school, my teachers here and in Japan, and especially all the Sangha members and friends of the temple that I took for granted when I was “busy.”

Mahalo, Mrs. N, for taking the final moments of your life to teach me that, especially during this COVID-19 lockdown, we have been given the gift of “too much time.”

Namo Amida Butsu!

April Fool Every Day

The shinjin of the wise is such that they are inwardly wise, outwardly foolish. The heart of Gutoku is such that I am inwardly foolish, outwardly wise.

Gutoku Shinran
Gutoku’s Notes, Fascicle One
Collected Works of Shinran, Volume 1, page 587

Shinran, founder of Jodo Shinshu, referred to himself as “Gutoku” Shinran. 

“Gutoku” means the “stubble-headed foolish one”. “Gu” means foolish, silly, immature, foolish, ignorant (from bāla in Sanskrit). “Toku” means “stubble-headed” and refers to Shinran’s self-awareness that he was unable to follow the precepts of a Buddhist monk, which include shaving one’s head.

Despite Shinran’s religious transformation through Shinjin, remarkable scholarly achievements, and great success in the propagation of the Jōdo Shinshū teachings, he always displayed a remarkable self-awareness of his true nature as a “bonbu” or a “…foolish being who is forever motivated by blindly self-centered desires, attached the fascination of this evanescent world, and unable to resolve the contradictions of human existence thoroughly. In fact, Shinran says that true wisdom is brought forth only from the heart and mind of the person who as awakened to Amida’s great compassion, and in the light of that compassion, realizes himself to be a foolish being.”(1)

At the core of the religious transformation experienced through Shinjin is an acute awareness one’s self-centered desires and attachments to the fascinations of this world of delusion; that is, awakening to the reality-as-it-is that WE are the “bonbu” who are the object of Amida’s Great Compassionate Vow.

In the midst of the sheer chaos of COVID-19, it is all too easy for me to insist that I am better than others. My need to feel superior to others is driven by my fundamental self-centered nature, that I am wise in comparison to those “other people who are stupid!”

Illuminated by Amida’s Unhindered Light of Wisdom, and embraced by Great Compassion, I see the truth of Shinran’s words, “…I am inwardly foolish, outwardly wise.”

Inwardly, I am karma’s fool, hopelessly selfish, greedy, angry … and yet I put on airs of being a wise Buddhist temple minister, the Hongwanji version of Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid teaching Daniel-san how to “wax on, wax off.”

How silly is that?

Mahalo Amida for making me truly see I am the April Fool, each moment of every day!

Namo Amida Butsu!

Gutoku Kerry

P.S. Stay Home, Stay Well!


(1)  The Collected Works of Shinran, Volume 2, Glossary of Terms, page 187.