In viewing the recent increased attacks on Asian American individuals in various parts of the country as well as across the world, we are saddened by these senseless acts. Asian Americans have been the target of discrimination, ridicule, amusement, and now violence at the hands of many individuals of other ethnic backgrounds, yet are somehow expected to stay silent on their mistreatment.
As American Buddhists, this community is no stranger to ostracization and marginalization as was experienced by the incarceration of Japanese Americans in our recent history. Yet, our resilience and strength comes not from anger and resentment, but rather, through the solidarity and self-reflection that humbles us to see the plight of the human condition.
As Buddhists, we center our lives on the Buddha Dharma, the world of Amida Buddha’s infinite wisdom and compassion. Through this understanding, we are the first to admit our limitations as sentient beings who are ignorant of our ignorance, which makes us susceptible to blaming and hurting others for our misfortunes.
However, let us not respond with fueling the flames of anger with more anger, which is inextricably linked to ignorance. The Buddha teaches us that only love conquers hatred and enmity. What we as Jodo Shinshu Buddhists recognize is that this “love” that is being discussed here is first and foremost the Great Compassion of Amida Buddha. As such, it is on this fertile ground in which we take the first steps to extend our hearts out to others. It is on this unifying ground in which we identify the solidarity with other disenfranchised groups. It is on this sacred unity with all other beings that we remind ourselves that we are the links in Amida Buddha’s Golden Chain. Finding solace in the ground of Great Compassion allows us to see more clearly the true state of the world we live in.
Namo Amida Butsu
Rev. Takashi Miyaji
Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church