Minister's Corner

Rimban Shindo Nishiyama
Buddha said, “We were born alone, come alone, and leave alone.” This sounds a little sad or negative; however, this is a very strong message for us to live by in this real life: In Japanese, “ICHIGO ICHIE”; in English, “One life time and one meeting”.
  There is a first meeting and there is a last meeting because life is impermanent. However we have the Onembutsu, which we can recite anytime and anywhere with everyone.

The Nembutsu is given by Amida Buddha’s Infinite Wisdom and Compassion to all living beings without any conditions. Shinran Shonin said, “The Nembutsu is true and real.” When we were born, the Buddha’s mind also began with us. It stayed with us, lived together and went together wherever we went. We were not  born  alone  nor  do  we live alone. The Nembutsu, “Namoamidabutsu”, is always living together with you and me anytime and anywhere, like our mother’s love.

I am often asked about the Nembutsu, Namoamidabutsu.  Most people ask, “Sensei, why do we recite the Nembutsu? Or, “What does the Nembutsu mean?”

Do you remember when you first said, “Mother, or Mom, or Mommy, or Okaasan?” When we call “Mom”, there is no question who we are calling.

“Mother” is understood by everyone. We have our own memories about our mothers.  The word “mother” brings loving care, sad tears, delicious bentos, cheerful smiles, and encouragement. We remember with a deep sense of gratitude. Someone told me that when he was in the service in WWII, he found that most soldiers, upon facing death in the battlefield, called out,  “Mom!” before they died. (Sorry but they didn’t call their wives). They all wanted their Mom or they wanted to have their moms as they faced death.

Jikoen Hongwanji’s long time very dedicated member, Mr. Kiyuna passed away on January 1, 2017. Last year in March, I was called by his daughter, Joyce, to visit  Mr. Kiyuna because he wasn’t eating, and the doctor told her Mr. Kiyuna has only a few days to live. So I went to see him and conducted bedside service with chanting. He was sleeping, but when I held his hands, he woke up and looked at me and said, “Sensei, I don’t go yet. I still have jobs at Jikoen”.

The day before he passed away, he told Joyce, “Mom is coming”, so she thought he meant his wife, Sally, so she said,  “ Mom is here”. But he said, “No big Mom is coming to me”.

The Nembutsu is like our “Mom, Mommy, Mama, and Okaasan” for everyone to say or recite easily anytime and anywhere.  When we recite, Namoamidabutsu, full of compassion and unending vows come to us.

We were born alone, come alone, and die alone, but my life and your life are always embraced by Amida Buddha’s great Compassion and Infinite Light and Life. We just recite Onembutsu with deep gratitude and receive it as we are. Namoamidabutsu has every- thing that we need. It’s the calling of the name, which is the path to be reborn into Nirvana. 

As your new Rimban, I am looking forward to seeing all of you Hilo Hongwanji Betsuin members and friends at our Sunday Service. Aloha and Mahalo in Gassho,


Rev. Bryan Siebuhr

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To attend temple services is to listen to the Dharma so we may realize the fulfillment of the purpose of Buddhism; that is, the attainment of enlightenment.  Though this seems rather simple and straightforward to imagine or reflect upon, to deeply actualize this and make it the true center of one's life regardless of any circumstances you encounter is completely different and its depth cannot be expressed in words.  For Buddhism to be a living religion, one who practices and the teachings must be one in the same.  Living religion is therefore not what is written in sacred scriptures; it is only what people practice and how they manifest the ideals of religion in their daily lives toward friends and enemies alike on a moment to moment basis.

Let us take this quote from The Collected Works of Shinran, found on page 93 where Shinran quotes from his teacher Honen's “Essential for Attaining Birth” as our guide:

“Suppose there is a person who possesses a potion that renders him indestructible, so that his foes and adversaries are denied any means of harming him.  The Bodhisattva Mahasattva is like this.  When he has gained the dharma-elixir of indestructibility – the mind aspiring for enlightenment – no blind passions, no maras or adversaries, are able to defeat him. 

A man who wears the ornament of gems that keeps one from drowning can enter into deep waters without sinking and expiring.  One who has acquired the gem that prevents drowning – the mind aspiring for enlightenment – enters the ocean of birth-and-death but does not succumb. 

As a diamond may be immersed in water for one hundred thousand kalpas without destruction or alteration, so is the mind aspiring for enlightenment, which may be submerged in all the karma of blind passions in birth-and-death for endless kalpas, and yet cannot be damaged or destroyed.”

In Gassho

Byran Masashi Siebuhr, Associate Minister


Rev. Daido Baba                                                                 

The Pure Land and Your Daily Life

     You may have heard ministers use the words “Pure Land” in sermons or in discussion groups. Our Hongwanji School of Buddhism is called Jodo Shinshuin Japan.The Japanese word, Jodo, means Pure Land. So the Hongwanji is sometimes referred to as the Pure Land Teaching. The words, Pure Land “Jodo” appears in our school’s name. Therefore, to all Nembutsu followers, the Pure Land should be especially significant. 

     Some of you may think that the Pure Land is just the place where we will be born after death so Jodo Shinshu messages are always only about dying. However, that is not true. Jodo Shinshu teaches us the importance of living the present life sincerely and gratefully. Because of the teachings of the preciousness of life, the impermanence of life, and the unrepeatable life, we should take care of this life respectfully. This means we have to think or be mindful of the relationship of our present life to the Pure Land.  

     If people go to Japan for the first time, they may be confused with the rail system. Japan has so many train stations and lines. People won’t know which train they should take. Sometimes people take the train that goes in the opposite direction. In that situation, people can’t enjoy the way to their destination because they will constantly be worrying about the way. People cannot enjoy shopping along the way to their destination if they only concentrate on reaching the destination. Imagine how you will feel if you don’t have hotel reservations for the day while traveling to an unfamiliar place. Would you enjoy sightseeing along the way? During your trip if you know which hotel you will be staying at, you can enjoy each day. Right? 

     The same thing can be said about our daily life. If we worry too much about our after-life, we cannot enjoy our present life. We may become lost and confused in our daily life. But we, Nembutsu followers, don’t need to worry about the after-life. We are taught about the Pure Land where everyone absolutely will be born through Amida Buddha’s Vows. Amida Buddha prepared and completed his peaceful world for us. When you receive Amida Buddha’s Vow into your heart, he will lead you on the path to the peaceful world. Listen to the Dharma message as being just for you. Think of the Buddha speaking personally to you.

     You are the one who should realize the preciousness of life and the impermanence of life. The meaning of the Pure Land is to live your precious moment fully and gratefully without any suffering or concern. To live daily with security in your heart and mind is the essence of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. Our life after death is already settled by Amida Buddha so there is no need to worry about it. If you cannot facethe reality of death now, someday the reality will absolutely become a part of you. 

     We don’t live looking forward toward our death. However we cannot separate our death from our lives. That’s why we should accept our lives including the reality of death. Therefore, it is important to settle things about our death. If you put it aside, that will create more suffering for a long time. We are shown Buddha’s land as a unique, peaceful, harmonious place where we take care of each other. As we are assured of that, we can live our life in this way. We can create the Buddha’s Land in our present life. 

     The Nembutsu teaching is the teaching for you to live this precious moment. To remind us, we are given Namo Amida Butsu that we can recite at anytime, anywhere. When you recite the Nembutsu, Namo Amida Butsu, you are receiving the power to live gratefully in this life.  Namo Amida Butsu.

There are basic ways to let others know who we are, who to contact and what our situation is, etc., in case of an emergency in the event we cannot communicate our needs. This is especially true for elders and those with medical challenges living alone. Here are some suggestions c/o of our Project Dana we should always have in our wallet or bag another can go to immediately in an emergency:

1. Photo Identification

2. Medicare/Insurance card(s)

3. Medical Prescription Drug card

4. Emergency Contact Name(s) & Phone

5. Doctor’s Name & Phone 

6. List of Medication(s) & dosages (include OTC)

7. Allergies to drug(s), others

If such items can be put TOGETHER in a laminated jacket so anyone needing the information won’t have to look all over for them, it would be certainly helpful. Let a capable family member or advocate help you keep these items together and readily accessible to those who need to know. One day at a time – take care.

Contact the ministers

Contact information: Office phone: 961-6677

Cell phones for emergencies only:

Rev. Bryan Siebuhr: 339-5250

all our office at 961-6677 for arrangements.