The One-Word Dharma Talk
There was once a Shin priest in Japan who was very popular. In fact, he had become so popular that some people began to fawn over him, bringing him tea whenever they thought he needed it, or running errands that really didn't need to be done at all. One day two or three people were arguing about who would bring the priest his next cup of tea. In the struggle they broke several teacups.

The priest gathered up the pieces. He ground them up into a powder and used the powder to make vases. But when it came time to put flowers on the shrine, again they broke the vases in the scramble to be the first. Again the priest swept up the pieces and ground them up. He used the powder to make some small dishes for soy sauce. When the priest was eating his evening sushi and sashimi; these too were broken in the rush to see who would be the first to serve the meal. For a third time the priest swept up the pieces made small offering plates for the shrine. These too met the same fate as the other broken items.

The priest swept up the pieces. He then called the temple helpers to stand around and look at the pile of dust. After a few minutes of reflective silence, the priest said, "How many times do I have to do this?"

Those standing around in the silent circle then realized that the priest had just given them his Dharma Talk for the week. It was a one-sentence Dharma Talk, but it was enough!

In these confusing, insecure times we need guidance so we do not lose our way. A famous quote about Shinran is, "There is a man on the path ahead of me carrying a light. That man is none other than Shinran."

The lantern that he carries for us is a one-word, yes one-word Dharma Talk! He gives this over and over again. Namo amida butsu, namu amida butsu.....................

Come to the temple whenever you can and share this one-word Dharma Talk. Our temple is a much loved place, clean and well-lit, full of good people. We will hear Shinran's one-word Dharma Talk together. It will be enough!

Buddha Smiles,

Sensei Ulrich
November 20, 2011