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July 25, 2021

Mutual respect

I wish to share the merit of writing this work equally with all beings,

So that we may all awaken aspiration for Bodhi and together attain birth in the Land of Peace and Bliss.

The above English translation was written by a Chinese Buddhist monk by the name of Shan Tao (613-681 C.E.). It was written at the end of a verse he wrote about taking refuge in the Buddha. It has become the closing verse chanted in our temples today. As we can see the wish is for all beings to share, and all beings to attain enlightenment. 

This theme of sharing and inclusion of all beings is consistent throughout the teachings of the Buddha. No one is excluded, irrespective of class, color, sexual preference or otherwise. It speaks to a mutual respect for all beings. The Buddha often talked about the oneness of all beings, saying that we are all the same despite our differences of culture, politics, etc. What he meant by the oneness of all beings is that we share the air that we breathe, we share the earth and all that it gives, we share the same aspirations for happiness and we all share the experiences of loss.

If we can embrace the idea of inclusion of all beings, it generates a mutual respect for our differences and we can celebrate our shared experiences. The Buddha often said, “Your joy is my joy, your suffering is my suffering.” The Buddha, cried, laughed and celebrated with those he came in contact with. He was sympathetic and caring about all forms of life. He respected each person he came into contact with because he saw the potential in everyone to become enlightened.

Real life is not a struggle, not a challenge, not a problem to be solved, but rather an interconnected wonder to behold and enjoy. This means that we should try and see life as it truly is, not what we want it to be, expect it to be or feel is deserved. Life revolves and occurs in the great changes of life and death, loss and gain. Our challenge is to see the world through the eyes of truth. Then one finds meaning in life by connecting to it, or more accurately, seeing that one is connected. If we can grasp this idea of oneness the natural outcome is cooperation and mutual respect.

Namu Amida Butsu.


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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