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Start with Dukkha Print E-mail
Written by Rev. Ken Yamada   
Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Buddha’s first sermon stated the first truth to consider is “Life is dukkha.” This usually is translated “life is suffering.”

That’s how I started my first discussion group as a minister. According to Buddhism, I said, “Life is suffering.” Immediately, a young woman retorted, “I don’t think so!” After class, she never returned.

Later I realized most people probably don’t think “life is suffering.” In our society, people feel “Life is good,” or “Life is comfortable” or maybe “Life is sometimes easy, sometimes hard,” but not “Life is suffering.”

Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 March 2013 )
Never an Expert Print E-mail
Written by Rev. Ken Yamada   
Thursday, 26 January 2012

Once at a lecture on Buddhism, someone sitting across the aisle recognized me and said, “Sensei, why are you here? Don’t you already know this stuff?”


I don’t really so I welcome the opportunity to learn more. To me, following the Buddhist path is about constantly deepening our understanding of ourselves, and in turn, growing our appreciation for life. It’s a process that continues throughout our entire life. There is no “end.” No one ever becomes an “expert.”


Last Updated ( Sunday, 29 January 2012 )
Open Your Eyes Print E-mail
Written by Rev. Ken Yamada   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Imagine a spiritual truth seeker living on a mountain, waking early to meditate, eating the simplest food, practicing the most arduous disciplines and leading a life of severe deprivation. The path leading to higher awareness must be difficult indeed.


Don’t be fooled, it’s really easy!


It’s no joke, if what Shinran Shonin says is true. Allow me to explain.


Last Updated ( Sunday, 16 October 2011 )
Medical care and Buddhism Print E-mail
Written by Rev. Ken Yamada   
Wednesday, 02 March 2011

A thousand years ago, a kind of Buddhist last rites in Japan became popular—family members gathered around a dying person, together chanting “Namu Amida Butsu.” These deathbed rituals helped send the person to the Pure Land, they thought.


Maybe it’s time to bring back these rituals.


I’m joking, but calmly contemplating the Pure Land isn’t such a bad idea considering the more common end-of-life scenario—over-reliance on medical technology.

Meaning of Dana (Giving) Print E-mail
Written by Rev. Ken Yamada   
Wednesday, 22 September 2010

In our society, it’s important to get a return on investment, to make every dollar count, to get something for your money. That’s how we’re taught to think and that’s the capitalist way.


This makes sense and we’d have a tough time if we thought otherwise. But this attitude tends to seep into other aspects of life, giving us a feeling that we are wasting time or expending too much energy on something that doesn’t much affect me or is unnecessary to my personal happiness.


Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 September 2010 )
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