July Dharma Messages

The Story of the Banyan Deer

Once upon a time, in a big forest, there was a wise and kind deer king named Banyan. Banyan was the leader of a large herd of deer. All the deer loved and respected him because he was very smart and always took care of them

In the same forest, there was another herd of deer led by a proud and selfish king named Branch. Branch’s herd did not listen to their elders and thought they knew everything.

One year, there was no rain, and the forest became very dry. There was no water or food, and all the animals were very thirsty and hungry. Banyan remembered a story his ancestors told him about a hidden waterhole that saved them during a drought long ago. He decided to find this waterhole to save his herd.

Banyan gathered all his deer and told them about the secret waterhole. He said”Our ancestors told us about this place. It will be a hard journey, but we must try.” The deer trusted Banyan and followed him through the forest.

After a long and difficult journey, they found the hidden waterhole. It was full of fresh water! The deer drank the water and were very happy. They survived because they listened to their ancestors’ wisdom.

Branch and his herd, however, did not know about the secret waterhole because they didn’t listen to their elders. They wandered around the forest, looking for water, and many of them did not survive. Finally Branch realized his mistake and asked Banyan for help. Banyan, being kind and wise, welcomed Branch and his herd. He shared the waterhole with them and reminded them, “It is important to listen to the wisdom of our ancestors. They have many lessons to teach us.”

Do you know what this story tries to tell us? It tells us that we should always respect and listen to our elders and ancestors. Why? Because their wisdom can help us when things are tough and guide us to make good choices. Isn’t that amazing?

So, next time you hear a story from your grandparents or elders, listen carefully. You never know what important things you might learn! Now, lets celebrate this wonderful wisdom with a dance of gratitude to our ancestors and the Buddha during Obon. Let’s make it a joyful time!

Namo Amida Butsu

Embracing Compassion and Connection:

Buddhist Reflections on “The Man Called Otto”

Hello everyone, how are you? Obon has stared, and I hope you’re enjoying the festivities. This article is for those who enjoy stories about people and their lives today

“The Man Called Otto,” a touching novel by Fredrik Backman, has recently been adapted into an American film titled “The man Called Otto.” The story revolves around Otto, an elderly man who appears grumpy on the surface but harbors a kind heart underneath. Otto’s life takes a profound turn after the death of his beloved wife, Sonya. Overcome with grief and feeling aimless without her, he contemplates ending his own life to be with her again.

Otto’s daily routine involves patrolling his neighborhood meticulously, ensuring everything is in order – whether it’s checking on trash sorting or monitoring parking, he strictly adheres to rules. His reluctance to engage with others often annoys his neighbors.

When a new family moved in nearby, it shattered his daily routines. At first, Otto resisted their presence, feeling deeply irritated by their intrusion into his life against his will. However, through interactions with their daughters, Otto gradually softened. Finding unexpected joy in helping the family, he came to realize that life still held meaning even after Sonya’s death.

The movie explores important themes like loneliness, the power of community, and how unexpected friendships can transform us. It balances funny moments with deep reflections on human nature and the connections that make life meaningful. Tom Hanks, a well-known actor, portrays Otto in the film, capturing both his strict adherence to rules and his gradual opening up to others.

As Otto faces his own mortality and struggles with grief, he begins to hear Sonya’s voice each time he attempts suicide, saying “That’s enough now, darling.” She is calling out to Otto, urging him to continue living. This, along with interactions with Sonya’s former students and other neighbors, profoundly impacts Otto. Through these relationships, he learns valuable lessons about resilience, hope, and the enduring power of love.

“The Man Called Otto” teaches us that our actions and connections with others give life its true meaning, even during tough times. It reminds us that friendships and community support can help us find joy and purpose. This message resonated deeply with the teaching of Shinran, a Buddhist teacher, who emphasized compassion, understanding, and the interconnectedness of all beings.

Let’s celebrate Obon with gratitude, appreciating the connections that enrich our lives and believing in the transformative power of human relationships.

Namo Amida Butsu

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