Report on the 127th London Eza

The morning of the 127th London Eza brought a beautiful sunny day, and a number of Dharma friends met in the morning to clean and prepare the building and grounds.

After the service Andrew chaired the meeting, and we welcomed Professor John White to present his talk ‘On Illusion’ which had been previously presented at Shogyoji temple. John explained how we are highly subjective and therefore find it difficult to experience ultimate reality. While science can take us so far, many paradoxes can’t be explained. We only see a small part of the whole, and common to other animals our senses tend to show us parts of reality and hide other parts. He noted that animals also have incredible abilities. We have the illusion of an enduring self and we are attached to different kinds of clinging and discrimination. One participant noted that when we get closer to something find it’s not quite like we thought, and that while true for objects how much truer for ideas or concepts which we tend to be even more attached to!

Rev. Sato explained how this links to Jodo Shinshu in that we tend to think that we have the right understanding, and that while it’s an illusion, we find ourselves in the light of Amida Buddha. It’s important to know that we don’t know, and especially around our categories of good and bad. He reminded us that despite our illusions and misunderstandings, only the nembutsu is true, as Shinran had pointed out.

We welcomed Lori North from Canada who is the president for the Women’s federation of Jodo Shinshu in Canada whose Fraser Valley Buddhist temple is aligned with Nishi Hongwanji. She made a short presentation and enjoyed meeting others. Visitors to Vancouver are very welcome to contact Lori who will be very happy to show them their temple and to help them make contacts in other parts of Canada.

We also welcome Miss Keiko Toro from Japan who teaches Jodo Shinshu to university students in Japan, and is currently enjoying a sabbatical to meet Jodo Shinshu practitioners around the world. She also presented herself, explained about her work and her approach.

Kaori-san gave an update on the recent Garden Open Days which have again provided a wonderful opportunity to meet hundreds of visitors, to share the beautiful garden and to work together as a Samgha for the benefit of ourselves and others.

After closing the formal part of the meeting, guests enjoyed a shared meal and conversation. Many thanks to everyone who made the day possible, whether in preparing food or other practical arrangements and in attending and supporting the event. Thanks also to Japanese Dharma friends at Shogyoji – through their tireless support we continue to have the opportunity to hear the Dharma here in the UK!

Namu Amida Butsu!

Matthew A.