Yesterday was another special day for me not because of Super Bowl but thanks to visitors.
It happened last evening. When I was at Poipu shore, I received a phone call from my wife.
" We have a visitor from China. Come back to the temple ASAP!"
To be honest with you, I was actually not happy to hear that.
In the morning, I had a Service. After the service, I made Sushi. In the afternoon, I visited old members with Sushi and "Hawaii Buddhism" which was recently published. Then I had some shopping at Lihue for our temple's New Year's Party.
I thought I did enough today for the temple and I tried to call it a day.
I left for Poipu for my own hobby as soon as I came back here from Lihue around 5:00 p.m.
Then I received a phone call from my wife..."Come back ASAP...in 5 minutes!" I was about to take a picture of humpback whale which I had been waiting for at least a week!
So I told her "It's supposed to be Pau Hana! My fun has just begun." *Pau Hana in Hawaiian means "after work."
But she insisted a minister should be back here to meet and welcome them." She reminded me importance of meeting new people. The answer became very clear when she asked me"which is important, whale or visitor?"
As soon as I met a visiting family from China, I knew her judgment was true. They looked happy to hear me say, "Welcome , Ni Hao and Namo Āmítuó Fó. " Soon after I knew they are Buddhists who believe in Amida Buddha.
They prostrated themselves in front of the Buddha and recited " Namo Āmítuó Fó" for a while. And I recited "Namu Amida Bu" together.
Later I explained that we greatly respect two Pure Land masters, one Chinese and one Japanese, who are Master Shan tao (Zendo in Japanese) and Master Honen. Because my pronunciation of "Shan tao" was not good, they couldn't get it. But when I wrote "善導" on the whiteboard, instantly they got it and told me "善導" as "Shan dao."
While chanting Nenbutsu together, I really appreciated wonderful moments, realizing Amida Buddha is universal.
I am from Japan and they are from China, but in front of Amida Buddha, we are just one of human beings. The Nenbutsu gave me the sense of brotherhood. I felt very close to them. In addition, I realized that we are going to the same destination which is Pure Land called "Jodo" in Japanese.
Currently, the relationship between China and Japan is not good, rather dangerous. However, I saw the light and hope in the future through our experiences of chanting Nenbutsu together.