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#38 初めまして "Nice to meet you all."

Bishop. Yuju Matsumoto 松本優樹

Title: "Nice to meet you all."


"Nice to meet you all." I would like to greet you all. I am pleased to have the opportunity to write a column every other month starting with this month's issue. I look forward to working with you. Since today is the first issue, I would like to introduce myself. I am 66 years old, born in 1956. I was born in Kagoshima Prefecture. My father was a company employee, but I was fortunate enough to get involved in the study of Buddhism. Currently, I have left everything in charge of my temple in Japan to my deputy (really, I have left my own place alone), and I am currently serving as chief inspector at the U.S. branch of the Koyasan Shingon Sect. I have been working at the Koyasan Betsuin since 2020, as the previous chief priest had to return to Japan and I was suddenly called upon.

 Today, I would like to talk a little about the topic of names. Shakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, was born about 2,500 years ago in India. He was born to Shuddhodana, the father, and Maya, the mother, as a prince of the Shakyas, a tribe ruled by the Shakyas. At the time of Buddha's birth, there were about 500 small countries in India. It is said that Shakyamuni was one of these small countries.

 When he was born, the Buddha was given the name "Siddhartha Gautama" in Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language. The meaning of this name is that "go" means "cow" and "tama" means "the best". "Siddhartha" can also be divided into two parts: "Siddhi" means "attainment" and "Artha" means "purpose". How wonderful the Buddha's name " Siddhartha Gautama" means "the topmost cow that achieves its goal"! But this name of Buddha was apparently not his real name. On a stone monument erected by King Ashoka in India, it is written that "Buddha's name was Siddhartha Gautama," but since it is written about a very famous person in India at that time, it is probably an exaggeration. The name of Buddha's mother, "Maya," means "illusion or magic," because she gave birth to Buddha. Because the mother died within a week of giving birth to the Buddha, the later people gave her such a name. Also, the son "Rahula" means "something which is an obstructive or inauspicious person". It must have been difficult for people in the past to accept that the Buddha, who was supposed to be a saint, had a son. No parent would give such a name to their son. These are all names that appear in sutras, and we don't know the real names nowadays.

 I suggest that you reflect deeply on the meaning of your name given to you by your parents. Your name is the best present your parents gave you at the beginning of your life.

 Come to think of it, once upon a time there was a parent who named his child "Devil" in Japan...


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