A Pupa’s Molt  

                 Koju Fujieda

                        Ryokeiji Temple

 

   Here in Fukui Prefecture, too, we have .very hot days like summer, and when I recite
sutras on such a day in a normal (winter) robe and feel sweaty, I cannot help wishing for
a robe change customarily starting on June 1.

   If the robe is changed for lighter then, however, will my body and mind changed for better?
My mind will remain unchanged and bothered by worldly matters; no “mind change.”  

When depressed, I happened to find a witty senryu haiku.

      Dress change? Pupa molts to become a butterfly. (by N.M)

   School kids find it a wonderful phenomenon for a pupa to become a butterfly, so at our
Sunday school they learn about the four modes of birth in Buddhism: taisho or birth from the
womb (like mammals), ransho or birth from an egg (like birds and fish), shissho or birth from
moisture (like mosquitos), and kesho or metamorphosis (unthinkable birth from nowhere) .

   Then, some kids ask, “Isn’t a pupa’s molt kesho (metamorphosis) ?” “Yes, it is in a way,
but real kesho in Buddhism is that we humans are to be born in the lotus flower in the Pure
Land through the unconceivable power of the Buddha. The status of our existence, body and
mind and all, will be changed completely into the status of the Buddha’s enlightenment.  It is
as if naphthalene sublimates or evaporates from solid to gas.”

   This talk seems to be too difficult for the school children; they look half doubtful. No problem:
they don’t have to understand it completely now, but the time will come in the future when
they are reminded of this metamorphosis.

My own mind is not changed even in a summer lobe, loaded with deep sin as usual. However,
embraced by the Tathagata’s great compassion shed on me, I only say the nembutsu peacefully,
treading on the way for the kesho birth in the lotus flower of the Pure Land---all by the
Buddha’s working.

A pupa’s molt also is a work by great nature.