Dharma School Views – July 2020

“Difficult is it to receive life in human form, yet now we are living it. Difficult is it to hear the Dharma of the Buddha, yet now we are able to hear it. If we do not cross over to the Truth in this present life, in which life shall we cross over? Let us assemble together, and sincerely take refuge in the Three Treasures of the Truth.

“Loving Kindness,” “Acceptance,” and “I am a Link” are themes that the Dharma School has embraced in recent years.  Over the last few weeks and especially in the last few days, these themes have become much more than simple words.  Each year, our Dharma School teachers try to make the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist teachings real, relevant, and applicable for our students.  Even though we are not coming to the Temple to hear and understand the Dharma in person, there are so many teachable moments in which we can collectively learn about and see the true nature of the world as it is.  This is an opportunity to have important and meaningful discussions within our families and with each other about inequality, inequity, injustice, and ultimately shared responsibility.

Both the novel coronavirus and the ongoing acts of violence and systemic racism against minority groups that we have witnessed – and continue to witness – have put a spotlight on the interconnectedness that we share with one another: the actions we can and should take to support each other, especially the most “at risk” and marginalized in our society; the re-examining of our unrealized privilege that informs our worldview; and our individual thoughts and actions that affect the world around us.  There is no better opportunity for our Dharma School students and Sangha to understand and appreciate first-hand the causes and conditions that have brought us to the present moment.  I encourage each and every one of you to reflect upon your thoughts, words, and actions, be mindful of the privileges that we do have with a grateful heart and mind, see and learn about the plight of others, and act to support them.

I would normally stop here and allow for personal reflection based on your own perspective and understanding, but now is the time to speak clearly and unequivocally: Black lives matter.  While I cannot begin to understand the pain and fear that comes with the everyday experience of being black in America and facing deeply-rooted discrimination, I can share in their grief, sorrow, and outrage, see their suffering, listen to their reality, and demand fair and equal treatment and the due process of law.  I hope that you will too.


Namo Amida Butsu,

Brent Izutsu

Dharma School Superintendent

“The excellent, profound, and wondrous Dharma is rare to encounter even in many hundreds and thousands of kalpas (eons). Now we are able to see and hear it, feel and accept it. Let us thoroughly understand the true and real essence of the Tathagata’s Teachings.”