先月、ボストンの研修会に講師に行ってきました。

 研修が始まってまず驚いたことは、参加者は在家の方にも関わらず、皆がお上人からもらった仏教の名前で呼びあっていたことです。

日本では普通のご信者さんが生前に戒名を付けることは少ないですがアメリカではクリスチャンネームを付けるように、仏教の名前を持つのです。これは仏教本来の形なのですが、素晴らしいアイディアです。

 アメリカ人は名前をとても大事にします。名前というのは自分自身を特徴付ける大切なものです。でも、日蓮宗においては自我を強調するよりも、どうすれば皆が仏になれるのか考える事が大切です。

 仏教の名前を持ち、自己への執着を離れ、周りに対して菩薩行を行じていくことが仏への第一歩となるのです。


In the beginning of August, I went as an instructor to the NONA Weeklong Retreat held outside of Boston. I wanted to see how different or similar the retreats are with Japan. The participants were new to Nichiren Shu way of practice. I was eager to show them the way.

Upon arriving at the retreat center, I noticed that everyone had a Buddhist name given to them by their priest. It was difficult for me to call them by this name instead of their American name. I had to look at everyone’s name tag before talking to them.

I think this is a very good idea, assigning a Buddhist name, not only to be used at the retreat, but at any time when they are at the temple. This shows the dedication to learning and practicing Buddhism. In America, your name is important; it is your own identity that you are different from everyone else, an individual. Me, I, this is the mindset. In Nichiren Buddhism, there is no me or I. It is we. Therefore by having everyone not used their individual name but a given Buddhist name, then they can move away thinking about themselves and think as a group. This is the start of the path in becoming a bodhisattva, not only are they seeking salvation for themselves, but for everyone else as well.