Thank You and Congratulations!
The Sangha Crafters were upstairs one day when I happened to drop by the office, so I went to see what they were working on. I hope I am not spoiling a surprise…they made the most adorable quilt with an Obon dance scene with little children in yukatas! Each of the volunteers was responsible for one of the children. It made me happy admiring it. The Sangha Crafters create things that bring joy to people’s lives, whether it is a warm scarf, a cuddly fleece blanket or a beautiful quilt on a wall.
The other day I walked into “my” office at the Betsuin and on my desk was a little handmade credit card sized purse with a card that read “Domo Arigato” from Sangha Crafters, “Thank you for being a part of Sangha Crafters which is commemorating its 10th year. Your Dana has provided 7000 items to the community.” I was delighted at receiving such a cute and unexpected gift. I found it ironic that they were thanking me, when I and countless others should be thanking them for all their hard work, spending countless hours creating beautiful handmade items as gifts for the homeless and needy. I certainly didn’t deserve to receive anything because all I did was crochet the borders on a few blankets while watching TV. The little purse I received will serve me as a Dharma lesson, reminding me to be grateful for what I have, –a TV set to sit in front of, two hands that function well, a mother who taught me how to crochet, etc.–and to be willing to share with the less fortunate.
The Sangha Crafters are grateful that they are able to share more with everyone’s participation–7000 items is amazing! That has to average to a couple of hundred items per Crafter. If you know how to crochet or sew (or even if you don’t, I’m sure they will teach you how), I encourage you to join the Sangha Crafters and help them spread the Nembutsu through their gifts. Thank you Sangha Crafters, for your incredible work and Happy 10th Anniversary!
Speaking of “thank you”, Reverend Dr. Kenji Akahoshi spoke at our Gotan-e Service and he thanked the Sangha for their support in his journey to become a minister. Another example, where the table should be turned, and we should be thanking him for all of his efforts to spread Shin Buddhism, teaching the Tuesday night classes, running his retreats and all of his countless contributions to our Sangha, including but not limited to serving as temple president. We realize that Rev. Akahoshi will be leaving us in the near future to pursue his new career, so we have reserved July 21, after the Obon service, as an opportunity to express our gratitude to him and to congratulate him, so please mark your calendars; more details will follow.
Reverend Akahoshi reminded us that rather than “please”, we should be saying “thank you”. Thank you is Namo Amida Butsu. He noted that if you want to see the Nembutsu at work, to go into the kitchen. This is so true. When I go to help the BWA make rice for chirashi or inari, the ladies always thank me for coming. Again, I should be thanking them as they are usually older and frailer than I am and working harder and longer than me. In the hubbub of the kitchen you see people grateful to be there although many are older with arthritic fingers; you see people grateful for the company of each other; you see people thanking each other for coming; you see people who are committed to the cause of raising money for the BWA which will go to spreading the Nembutsu; you see people selflessly arriving at 3:00am to make the first pot of rice; and much more.
“Thank you” often seems too simple when we have so much to be grateful for but it sends a very powerful message. So, when you see the Sangha Crafters and Reverend Dr. Akahoshi please tell them “thank you!”