Dharma Card for February



     Let the karmic body

        flow down the Ganges,

            water to eternity.

                             --- Tenko


  Photo by Isamu Tsugo


   Tenko is the haiku name of Ven.Zenge, twenty-fourth

chief abbot of Goshoji Main Temple, Izumoji Sect of

Shin Buddhism. The above haiku was composed when he

visited Agra on his Buddhist tour in India and heard

this sad story.  Shah Jahan, the fifth emperor of the

Mughal Empire constructed the Taj Mahal for his wife who

died in her thirties, but later he was imprisoned in Agra

Fort by his son Aurangzeb and, looking down the reflection

of the Taj Mahal on the Jamuna River, he died in agony.

   Perhaps Ven.Tenko referred to Shah Jahan in his haiku,

but as his attendant, I felt he might allude to himself as a

karmic being. One may wonder how a distinguished character

can be karmic, but Shinran Shonin himself said, When I have

closed my eyes, let my body be thrown into the Kamo River as

food for the fish.  Arent they in the same line?

  Human beings are all karmic regardless of rank and position.

Though karma may appear in various forms, all human karmic evils

are to flow into the ocean of the Original Vow to become the

single taste.  There is no other way of salvation.