Yesterday, when it was raining, we had visitors from Seattle. After some explanations of Buddhism and temple altar, I asked them if they had any question?
One of them immediately replied, "What is rice for?"
This question is actually the most popular question I had during my staying here for 14 years. Visitors make various kinds of questions like "what is this Buddha? Buddhism?" "Is that real gold?" and so on...but "What is rice for?" is the No.1 popular question.
Do you know what is rice for? Why people bring rice to the temple?
Before I came here, I never thought of this question. For me, it was very natural for people to offer rice to Buddha but gradually I got to know it was not natural for westerners.
For a long time, my answer had been "It was because of a Japanese custom."
Most people got satisfied with this answer. But some people were not. The more questions I had, the more I thought of the possible answer. Now I can answer this kind of question easily and clearly because of the opportunities I had to think about it many times for many years.
I wonder...are you interested in the answer?
My answers may not be always correct, but I try to talk about not only unique ideas but also the process I got them.....
I look forward to seeing you here at Koloa Jodo Mission. The next Sunday service will be held on February 16 at 10:30 a.m.