Living the Dharma
by Susan Shibuya 

When my daughter was only 2 years old I brought our family to WCBT. I felt the message of Buddhism to be both the truest and the most enriching. Attending regular Sunday services had not been a part of my husband’s life since the day his Nisei parents told him they would no longer make him attend Protestant services.

I grew up in the Catholic Church when the mass was still in Latin but spent 6 months living in India. I see Hinduism as the mother religion which nourishes worship in many forms. But the form of devotion to a particular god—any particular god—never brought me peace or understanding.

Though I was drawn to the Dharma, there never seemed to be enough time or energy left by Sunday to get my family to attend service together. Still, I continued to read the Gateway and gain inspiration from Rev. Hata’s wise and compassionate writings. For the past few years I’ve been supervising the care of my ageing and ailing in-laws. A few months ago, when my father-in law’s condition was worsening dramatically, I knew I needed to find a way to nurture myself to be able to keep giving. That’s when I saw the notice in the Gateway about the family retreat. My daughter, now 22, agreed with me that it would be a lovely event for us to attend together.

Unfortunately, she came down with one of the bad colds going around and didn’t want to share it with the Sangha, so I came alone. Being a science teacher and an environmentalist I am quite at home with the message of interdependence. But I struggle every day with accepting impermanence. The haiku Rev. Yamada quoted at the retreat made me realize that the struggle is living the Dharma. “The world of dew is the world of dew… and yet… and yet…” This message was especially appropriate for me to hear since my father in law had just passed away.

By reading the Gateway I had come to appreciate that participation in the Sangha is also part of living the Dharma. I was so grateful to be sharing the time and energy and wonderful treats cooked up by a group of people who were all sharing the same struggles, in light of the Dharma, that I didn’t even mind offering a kanwa!

I tried again, this past Sunday, to get my family to share the warmth of the Sangha with me—everyone at WCBT is so very welcoming and kind—but the demands of their lives are too great at this time. However, I will continue to look for an appropriate way to contribute to the Sangha in gratefulness for the wonderful opportunity to share the Dharma that WCBT offers to anyone who can either read or participate in the community of those supporting each other in the search for their path to the living Dharma.

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