Friday, April 9, 2010

For my many readers...

Which, including myself numbers two at the moment, thank you two for your kindness! I find myself at a crossroads. Today was Hanamatsuri, and therefore a day of great celebration for Buddhists, not all mind you because we do not all follow the same calendar, but for a good amount of Buddhists nonetheless. Our minister who is from Japan, and supposedly trained in Japan (he is the second son of a temple family, which in Japan means...absolutely nothing) and is therefore considered to be a minister from the day he leaves the womb, did nothing to mark the day besides adding in one chant to our Sunday services on the 4th. I said nothing, because I am primarily the administrative director of the mission, and its president. From my start 15 years ago at Shingon Shu Hawaii I made it very clear that I would not interfere with the practices and methods of any minister assigned to be the resident at our temple. I am fully aware that in all respects this minister is an employee of the Shingon Shu Hawaii and according to its by-laws serving at the pleasure of its board of directors. I have been told on many occasions to get rid of him. Inside I feel that this may not be the best thing to do. Why? For one, is it being Buddhist to give up on someone like that? Of course it may be ridiculous of me to continue thinking that this person will come around and understand that life in Hawaii is very different from Japan. The hierarchy of the ministry there, as well as the position of the Buddhist priest in the community is very different than what it is in Hawaii. For the most part I would hazard a guess that the position attracts far more respect here in the islands than it would in Japan. In Japan if you are merely the son of a minister at the temple, and you are following in your father's footsteps, than your contributions to society at large is small at best. A scholar may be regarded differently, but I know many people who feel that the ministry in Japan is inhabited by those unable to function or operate in the "real world". Now that I am witness to this person's seeming lack of ambition, and careless attitude towards the recognized holy days of our religion, I am not surprised at all that people of my generation and younger have little to do with their neighborhood temple or shrine, which is very sad indeed.
I welcome any thoughts, my dear two readers, and if in fact others are reading this blog as well, as to what the Buddhist thing would be to do...I ask that because I know that sooner or later, I will have to do what an administrator needs to do, personal philosophy notwithstanding.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I wonder what kind of minister you become when you do nothing but pray? Some may argue that this is what a minister is supposed to do, but I disagree. How can you minister people living such a closed existence? Without "doing" do we as humans become empty in our lives? I know of some who are content at being invited out all the time for holiday dinners and such. I would rather cook for my congregation to thank them for all they do for the temple.