The Spirit of Day Service  

                 Koju Fujieda

                        Ryokeiji Temple

   The other day I was impressed by a poem “Day Service,” written by a
96-year-old lady Mrs. TS living in Maruoka Town.

          At nine every morning
      the day service car comes,
            I say Namuamidabutsu in the car.

        In the care house
             I say Namuamidabutsu.

        In the bath room
            I say Namuamidabutsu.

        To the care-taking staffs
            I say Namuamidabutsu.

        Naturally, not knowing why,
        I say Namuamidabutsu.

   As there is a day service house near my temple, I know how busy and
attentive the staffs are!  Collecting and sending back the care receivers
in the morning and evening, feeding and bathing in the house, recreation
and exercise, chattering and talks, and attentions for life safety above all
---they cannot rest a while.

   That’s why Mrs. TS are thankful for them saying the nembutsu, but are
all care receivers the same?  Though such people as say, “I want to eat!”
while holding the rice cup in their hand, probably will not feel so, all are
blessed by the warm hand of care welfare system, so both the care
receivers themselves and their families must be thankful for it.

   By the way, in the temple we recite a sutra every morning, which is
called a “morning service” in English. (Why, it sounds like a menu term in
a coffee shop! you may say, but the word “service” in religion means
“worshiping,”  or in Buddhism it is a practice of reciting a sutra in praise
of the Buddha’s wisdom and compassion.) So, such a practice in the
evening is called an “evening service.” Well, then, a “day service” comes
to stand for a Buddhist practice in the day, doesn’t it? 

   Surely, “day service” in the welfare world can mean a Buddhist practice
 the daytime. Both the caretakers and care-receivers should think of the
Buddha’s compassion and feel grateful for Him and everything.

   Thanks to Mrs. TS, I could appreciate the true spirit of day service.










   The boy agreed, and the ogre chanted the latter half of the verse:

   “U I NO O KU YA MA KE FU KO E TE A SA KI YU ME MI SHI WE HI MO SE SU (Getting over the deep mountains of life-and-death, there is an eternal land of peace and tranquility).” Deeply satisfied, the boy inscribed the verse of truth on the trees and stones, and bidding the thanking words, he jumped from the cliff top into the mouth of the ogre, but lo! at that moment, the ogre changed into Indra God, and holding him in the arms, praised the boy’s life-staking search for truth.

   That boy was no other than Shakyamuni Buddha in His previous life, states the Nirvāna Sutra as a famous episode.

   Shakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment in this world of impermanence, and showing his own impermanent body life, passed away into the world of eternal nirvāna on February 15. This way “from impermanence to eternal nirvāna” is the ultimate aim of Buddhists.

      “I’ve been keeping killifishes. Mom and me are trying very hard to rear them, but they cannot be with us for all our lives. So, however hard we try to be kind to them, however hard we try to help them, they die in some time. They are three years old now, so two of them are gone. I am  sad indeed.   (To Grandpa, from Taiga, first grader) .”

What a fresh sense of impermanence! I sincerely hope such children will

learn the true meaning of the IROHA poem and live on a life from

impermanence to eternal nirvāna.