Dharma Card for August, 2013
The milk from our loving mother
Amounts to one hundred and eighty koku*,
The sutra leaves us such moving words!
(*koku=100 liters in China)
The above tanka poem is inscribed in the monument
at Shorakuji Temple in Sanjo City, Niigata Pref. Mr. Yoshino
expressed his strong impression of the phrase in Bumo-onju-kyo
(Sutra in praise of Parental Love compiled in China). He was also
sensitive to his mother’s deep love as he composed another tanka:
Taking into my bosom the hands of my mother,
who has just departed, I simply warm them tightly,
her child as I am.
He now thought of the milk she raised him with.
Yes, the amount a mother gives to her children is wondrous, and
its quality is also marvelous. How can the white liquid be so nutritive
as to nourish a human body to the full? It is even said to provide
immunity that protects the baby from outside attacks. Moreover, it is
very easy to take in; the baby has only to suck the breast.
Decades ago, I heard a sermon that the nembutsu is just like maternal
milk. The Name of Namuamidabutsu is a hundred per-cent nutritious as it
is composed of all the life and power of Amida Buddha. We ignorant beings
have only to taste it in our mouths without any doubt of our Mother’s love and
we will be raised to be the settled one and then born in the Pure Land to
accomplish enlightenment. However, the point for the child or us is to suck in
the milk or say the nembutsu actually; otherwise all the merit of the milk or nembutsu
will be in vain.
Doesn’t the sermon bear some significance for us?