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Lions Roar : March 2012
37 SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2012 The body is the bodhi tree; The mind is like a bright mirror standing. Take care to wipe it all the time. And allow no dust to cling. — SHEN-HSIU N OT FAR FROM OSAKA, deep in the forest, there is a 1,400-year-old Buddhist temple called Anraku-ji, which in Japanese means “peaceful, at ease.” But the young priest who took over the care and upkeep of Anraku-ji not long ago, Toshiro Ogama was his name, felt neither truly peaceful nor at ease, and having said something as puzzling as that, it is now necessary, of course, to tell you why. When Toshiro Ogama was fifteen, both his parents were killed in an automobile accident in Kyoto. An only child, he was suddenly an orphan. His parents’ funeral was conducted by a priest in the Pure Land tradition. At the crematorium, they were incin- erated at 800 degrees centigrade. Their bodies burned steadily for two hours. They had a thirty-minute cooling-down period. Finally, their bones were crushed and mixed with their ashes—all total, his parents each weighed two pounds at the end—and they were given back to Toshiro in two white urns. Those containers, which he kept and placed beside the altar at Anraku-ji, led him all his adult life to listen attentively whenever he heard the Buddhist teachings. And what more? ILLUSTRATIONS BY ERIC HANSON Kamadhatu A Modern Sutra A reclusive Zen priest. A beautiful American academic. Illusion falls away and original mind is revealed. A short story by CHARLES JOHNSON