To begin, I would like to express my gratitude for the continuation of the Jodo Shinshu tradition in Canada. One hundred and ten years is a long time for a country with a short history.
I am grateful to have found a place where I feel welcome and at home, and accepted for who I am. Attending the temple has allowed me to explore the Dharma and become more “myself”. Learning about Other Power was a huge help along this path, leading me to the sense of interconnectedness with everything. Other Power has also given me the freedom to be myself: I don’t have to prove anything to anyone and don’t have to be more than who I am in order to meet some ideal of perfection. Without the pressure of striving to be someone else, it is easier to develop compassion for others.
Many temple members have grown up in this tradition, however, folks like me uncover the teachings through open discussion and questions as well as reading. Sharing these perspectives and questions exposes those unfamiliar with these teachings to the Dharma. There are folks now who ask me for opinions on how Buddhism looks at a particular situation, so in this small way, the teachings are causing introspection and awareness in others. I most often explain how there are different schools of Buddhism, since they generally assume Buddhism as the religion of the Dalai Lama, or Zen. One of the most difficult concepts for them to understand is the lack of a “god” figure.
Since becoming part of the temple, I have been able to satisfy my curiosity about some other religions as well through a few interfaith activities. This is part of how Jodo Shinshu is all inclusive of all other belief systems, and how Buddhism encourages questioning and education. I also love the personal and heartfelt aspect of Dharma talks because the heart connection is what speaks the truth to me.
Tanis L. Moore
August 24, 2015