Rev. Eishin Kusaba
I was born in an ancient country with a fairly homogenous culture where various traditions and customs originated from Buddhism. At age 5, I came to the USA and was raised in a country that draws strength from its multi-cultural diversity and individualism. It has been a difficult journey.
I can express my encounter with Buddhism as follows:
Incense...drums...chants...I heard the voices of Buddhism calling me...
I had a tremendous need, longing, and desire to end my cycle of suffering and desperately wanted to see others and the rest of the world and particularly myself through the heart of compassion. I have wandered the planes of the earth, followed the whisperings of the wind and was bathed by rains of thunderous clouds throughout my search for release from suffering. My search ended by Ultimate Intervention- I was led to read, listen and recite this holy passage, "Sankie - Mon".
"Hard it is to be born into human life; now we are living in it. Difficult it is to hear the Teachings of the Blessed One; now we hear them. If we do not gain emancipation in this present life, we may not be free from ill-faring in the ocean of birth and death of kalpas..."
人身受け難し今既に受く。 仏法聞き難し今既に聞く。 此の身今生に度せずんば、 更に何れの生に於いてか此の身を度せん。
And thus I began my journey in Buddhism to emancipate myself from the suffering by the act of compassionate understanding of myself as a sentient being and that I am no different than any other sentient being in need of relief from suffering. To emancipate oneself from suffering is a lifetime commitment to all things sacred.
I received Tokudo at the Tendaisyu Hawaii Betsuin Dojo. Now I am walking on a path of Bodhisattva and continuously give helping hands to those who need help, especially the elderly and little children.
Studying Buddhism has given me a deeper meaning of the world and how it presents to us a journey of internal discoveries that calls us to our sacred rituals for the betterment of others.
Through the study of Buddhism and specifically Tendaisyu Buddhism, I am learning to quiet the cacophony of sensory and visual activities we all experience by 'quieting' myself so I may 'listen' as well as 'feel' the quietness of others and to be moved by the stillness and peacefulness of nature.
Tendaisyu Buddhism gives me the daily opportunity to know empirically and to strengthen my commitment that I "begin again" with each breath cycle to lessen suffering through compassionate care and work under the guidance of Rev. Dr. Ryoei Tyler.