‘Right’ Meditation, Subject of Talk at Honoka’a Hongwanji
The public is invited to a guest presentation by visiting professor, author and Buddhist scholar, Dr. Kenneth K. Tanaka, on Sunday, Aug. 5, at 4 p.m. at Honoka’a Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. Dr. Tanaka will take a look at complementary forms of meditation in his talk, “Mindfulness Meditation and Nembutsu Meditation: Working Together for a Happy and Meaningful Life in a Turbulent World.”
Over 18 million people in the U.S., about 18% of the population, use some form of meditation on a regular basis, according to a recent study by the National Institutes of Health. Meditation may reduce blood pressure, ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, help with insomnia and more.
Mindfulness Meditation, in particular, has become a popular practice in today’s culture, finding applications from locker rooms to board rooms, classrooms, hospitals, prisons and senior care facilities. More traditionally, however, practitioners study the philosophy of Mindfulness Meditation in a deeper way in order to fully experience its benefits.
“Learning more about the philosophy will enhance the effectiveness of mindfulness practice and help the practitioners to better understand the nature and cause of suffering and how to minimize suffering for oneself and for others,” said Dr. Tanaka.
More traditional Nembutsu Meditation focuses on imagery of the Pure Land (an idyllic celestial world, symbolic of enlightenment).
“We visualize such features as the jeweled trees and the pond, which are symbols of Oneness or True Reality. They are not to be taken literally.” said Dr. Tanaka.”Then we will visualize actual important people in our lives who give meaning to our lives as well as the blessings of nature such as air, water and food that sustain us physically, etc. Nembutsu meditation will also involve the recitation of the sacred name that is the source of our spiritual liberation.”
Presently Professor Emeritus, Musashino University, Tokyo, Dr. Tanaka was born in Yamaguchi, Japan, and moved with his family to Silicon Valley when he was 10. He graduated from Stanford University, did graduate work at the Institute for Buddhist Studies (IBS), Tokyo University, and earned his PhD at the University of California at Berkeley (Ph.D.). He has taught at IBS and Musashino University, is currently Chairman of the Editorial Committee of the Chinese Buddhist Canon English Translation Project sponsored by the Society for the Promotion of Buddhism (BDK). He is author of “Ocean: An Introduction to Jodo Shinshu Buddhism in America,” and numerous other books, which have been translated into Japanese, Chinese, and Portuguese. He is the 2017 recipient of the Nakamura Hajime Eastern Study Prize, for scholars who distinguish themselves in Indian and Buddhist studies. In April of this year, Dr. Tanaka was also featured in an NHK Educational Television documentary series, “The Age of Kokoro (heart/mind).”
The presentation is free and all are welcome, regardless of meditation experience, faith or religious background. Refreshments will be served following the service, and potluck contributions are encouraged. For further information, visit the temple website or on Facebook, Honoka‘a Hongwanji Mission.