2008 New Year's Message from the Bishop

May I send my New Year’s Greetings to all the Nembutsu friends from east and west wishing your good health and spirit in this cold winter. Also I would share grief and sorrow with those who have lost their loved ones. May you find the peace and comfort in the Light of Compassion of Amida Buddha.

If you have a chance to see the statue of the Buddha closely, you will notice that his eyes half open and half closed, which is one of the numerous outstanding features of the Buddha, the Enlightened One. It is called HAN-GAN (half eyes), which symbolizes that he can see himself and also see outside.

It is important for an individual living as a responsible citizen in the society to be aware of what’s going on outside today, while it is good to cultivate the inner peace and tranquility.

However, it seems to me that we are surrounded with such a huge amount of information from radio, TV, newspapers and computer that we have some difficulty to pick and choose right information. This is one big reason that I would like to encourage everyone to have a quiet time before the shrine of the Buddha to meditate and receive the wisdom from the Buddha-Dharma.

One of the priorities in the New Year seems to be the awareness of climate change caused by global warming which may affect the life of each one of us directly or indirectly, as we are closely interrelated to each other.

Let us continue our effort to learn from Buddha-Dharma, while we can think of the best way to cope with climate change to take care of our own planet Mother Earth.

Orai Fujikawa
Bishop, Buddhist Churches of Canada