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June 28, 2022

Lives lost

May all beings find comfort and peace of mind in the midst of tragedy and loss. We send forth loving thoughts to those in sorrow and pain. We share in the tragedy of loss. We have all experienced loss, tragedy and separation. When we do, we cry out in sorrow. When we cry and shed tears of pain and loss we join a chorus of thousands of others who have suffered loss. At that moment no one is alone, we are all one as we cry out in sorrow. We are one with those who have cried in the past, with those who cry today and with those who cry tomorrow. 

When the tears dry, the sadness and loneliness is replaced with a deeper appreciation and gratitude for the lives lost. Like the sun that turns tasteless bitter fruit into sweetness, the truth of life transforms our tears of sorrow into the sweet appreciation for having touched the lives of others.

The Buddha promises that lives lost are embraced and they will achieve the birth of going to the Pure Land of the Buddha where they will completely awaken to Buddha-hood. As we mourn the loss of lives over the past months and remember and honor their lives, it becomes the condition where they, having become Buddhas, are helping us to meet and hear the truth of life.

They are helping us understand that no life is lived in vain and that death cannot simply destroy or erase a life. Their lives have meaning that is eternal and has no ending and their lives continue to touch ours.

Lives lost are helping us hear the turning of the wheel of the Dharma (Truth of Life), and because that wheel is continually turning and we are hearing it today, we don’t have to worry about wandering about in darkness or blindness. Instead our continued act of remembering, honoring, cherishing and celebrating the lives lost, is helping us to see how we are connected to and part of their eternal lives.

Rev. Hosei Shinseki leads the Watsonville Buddhist Temple. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent those of the Pajaronian.

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