Buddhism: Not Just for Sundays

by Joanie Martinez

Buddhism is not just for Sundays or a separate part of our lives. I've come to understand it as a process of learning from our day to day life's experiences. It's not often an easy thing to practice, especially when you have kids!

Initially I came to West Covina Buddhist Temple for our children, but soon realized that Buddhism still had a lot to offer us as adults. Through listening, and through the sharing of feelings, thoughts, and experiences, I have become more aware of the spiritual aspect of Buddhism, and how the Dharma can tune you into finding meaning in life and all its changes. As I listen to the teachings, I am often reminded of the saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." I see how Buddhism can take our self-centered focus on things and help us understand a larger scope of life. I hope that our children will learn the compassion that our Jodo Shinshu sect emphasizes, especially with each other! I hope that they will develop a healthy attitude towards all situations that life brings them. And I hope that they will experience a realization of gratitude for the life that sustains and nurtures all of us. A mother's dream!

Like many families here, we are actively involved with various organizations, mainly through our children. You may have noticed that our family comes in 2 cars to church. Johnny needs to leave with Brion by 11:30 a.m. to drive him to a Nishi Boy Scout patrol meeting. Needless to say, we face conflicts in schedules at times where we have to choose one organization's activities over another's. And this has led us into thinking about our priorities. Johnny has said that as Brion and Russell get older, one of these days they will no longer be playing basketball, or soccer, or be in Scouts, for they will outgrow these things. However, the one thing they will not outgrow is Buddhism, and what it can offer throughout their entire lives. So we feel it's worth coming in 2 cars, the effort in time, energy, and commitment to be active Sangha members...if we don't go crazy first!

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