Orai Sensei’s Message for March 2013 White Path

I wish to share the story that I told at the Nirvana Day Service on Feb 17th.

Agriculture Department in Iowa University once conducted a following experiment: They constructed a wooden box filled with good soil. And they planted a single grain of rye wheat. The researchers gave it a good care everyday with fertilizer, water, and sunshine for several months.

They finally got a tall stalk of rye. Then they broke the wooden box apart, shook all the soil vary carefully with water. And they measured the length of all the roots; big and small ones that had stretched in the soil in order to maintain the rye’s life. Some of them were so fine that they had to use microscope.

As a result, the number that they came up was something no one could believe. The total length of all the roots of a single stalk of rye was 11, 200km.

I still can’t believe that number myself, but it is amazing number and the important thing each one of us to think about is the fact there are millions of ancestors and sentient beings which have sustained our life, so that we are able to be here and now.

In gassho, Namoamidabutsu, Orai Fujikawa








合掌。ナモアミダブツ。釈 往来


Orai Sensei’s Message for February 2013 White Path

It was frosty and chilly morning as we were gathered for Hoonko in memory of Shinran Shonin on January 13th, 2013. The guest minister Rev. George Matsubayashi from Los Angeles told me it was very cold in the motel and he shot the thermometer up to 80F as soon as he entered his room. But it was at least sunny on Sunday and I was very glad to see many people young and old came out to enjoy the service and New Year’s Day party.

Hoonko has been a sort of Thanksgiving Day for the most of the people in Japan observed in the month of November or December after the harvest season. As I was born and raised in the Buddhist Temple, I recall the time when I was a high school student, I used to follow my father Sunday afternoon visiting a dozen homes in a small village by chanting Shoshinge and everybody in the village got together at the last hosting home in the evening to have Hoonko Service and a big supper till late night.  Therefore in Japan Hoonko used to be a sort of community and yearend festival.

It is interesting for us to have Hoonko and New Year’s Party here in Salinas, California.  Also it happened to be our first anniversary as we arrived here on January 17, 2012  from Vancouver.  It was overwhelming feeling for us to have been recognized with the yearend gifts from Buddhist Temple of Salinas, BWA and Dharma School. Thank you very much for your very generous gifts and may we count on your patience and understanding for the New Year.

In Gassho, Namoamidabutsu, Orai Fujikawa, resident minister

二月 白道 メッセージ



カリフォルニアでの報恩講は新年一月、新年親睦会で持ち寄りのご馳走、時と場所は違っても何か共通のものが残っていることはありがたいことですね。また親睦会の終わりには、丁度私たち二人がサリナスへ就任して一周年でもあり、仏教会、婦人会、ダルマスクールからお歳暮など頂き、家内ともどもこの寺報を借りて、御礼申し上げます。七十を超えた老夫婦ですが今年ももよろしくお願いします。 合掌。  釈 往来


Orai Sensei’s Message for December 2012 White Path

Fall and winter season is the time to enjoy all kinds of fruits such as persimmon, fig, apple, pear, pomegranate, and so on. The other day I found a big red persimmon on the table and had a bite with imagination that I used to enjoy in my home town in my childhood in Hiroshima. I got a sharp and stinging taste in my tongue so called SHI-BU-I.  A friend of mine recommended to my wife that we should put them in the plastic bag together with some apples for a few days.  So she did. Then, alas, the persimmons became very soft and tasted very sweet. What a big change occurred in a few days!

This reminds me of the working of Vow Power of Amida Buddha. Although each of us has hard, stubborn, and selfish mind, it encounters with the light of compassion and it can be a soft, flexible, and thoughtful mind. Shinran Shonin created a poem on this point saying, “The sins and obstacles become the substance of merits and virtues. And they are like the relationship between ice and water, and you have the bigger ice and the more water.”

In the course of life you come across many ups and downs; sorrows, grieves, as well as happiness. But through your diligence, endurance, and patience nurtured by the compassion of the Buddha they become the treasures of experience in life or the energy to meet the further challenges.

By the way, although those fruits taste very good, do not eat too much and take good care of yourself as it is getting cold soon.

Namoamidabutsu in Gassho, Orai Fujikawa

十二月 白道 メッセージ




それでも柿を食べ過ぎないようにしましょう。なんでも過ぎるとよくないですから。なんまんだぶつ。釈 往来


Orai Sensei’s Message for October 2012 White Path

After a kind of summer holiday in August we had a good start with Fall Higan/Monthly Memorial Service together with Dharma School registration.  As resident minister it is nice to see 25 young children for Dharma School plus YBA that is the promising future of this temple.

Probably some of you have already noticed that one of the pine trees in the temple yard, which is near the entrance and in front of the statue of Shinran Shonin, has been dying. Although it looks very good with its trunk slanting about 30 degree, the roots are not deep enough so that it hasn’t got enough moisture. Other pine trees are all standing straight with green leaves despite the dry weather in Salinas.

My wife has been picking weeds whenever she doesn’t have much to do and complaining about them popping out in the same spots such as in the hard dirt and pavement cracks. They must have such deep roots that she couldn’t pull out completely.

Talking about the roots, we cannot see them as they are deep under the ground. So are the roots of spiritual tradition of Nembutsu which has been planted by the pioneers since 1924 in Salinas. We had a brief discussion at the Board Meeting last month about the 90th Anniversary of Buddhist Temple of Salinas in 2014. I wish I could stay healthy and join you in that celebration.

In Gassho, Namoamidabutsu, Orai Fujikawa 

十月 白道 メッセージ







Orai Sensei's Message for September 2012 White Path

The other evening we had Buddhist Women’s Association meeting. After preparing the Hondo for the exercise before the meeting, I was in the office and saw a few ladies walking through the garden after parking their cars. Then I spotted one lady paused and bowed at the statue of Shinran Shonin while the others walking on. Naturally I was very pleased to see this. As for myself as a minister, I occasionally pause to bow before Shinran Shonin first time I go to my office, but as I usually I go back and forth many time a day, I don’t do that every time.

I recall my teacher used to tell us students, “Once you come to the temple, you bow at the gate, then bow before entering the Hondo, and then burn incense, recite the nembutsu, and bow to the Buddha. You must behave in the Hondo as if Amida Buddha, Shinran Shonin, and Rennyo Shonin are all present.”

Amida Buddha is present whenever and wherever together with our ancestors including parents and grandparents who have become Buddhas. Therefore Rennyo Shonin stated in the epistle, “As long as you live, recite the nembutsu day and night.”

Let us continue to live each and every day in work or play being embraced by the compassion of Amida Buddha.

In gassho, Namoamidabutsu, Orai Fujikawa    


九月 白道 メッセージ