It is a great honor to be invited here today. That is because I am a Kannon worshiper and Kannon practitioner.

I certainly believe in the existence of Kannon-sama. I also always recite the name of the Kannon-sama.

Several years ago I worshiped at the Kannon temple in Asakusa after some time. When I was a child, I had visited the temple several times, but it was my first visit since becoming a priest. As you all know, the Asakusa Kannon is one of the largest Kannon holy places in Japan and very famous.

Nearly ten-thousand people visit the Asakusa Kannon each day. While many are tourists, there is power in a temple that is visited by many people for whatever reason. Annually three hundred thousand from all over the world come to the Asakusa Kannon. While probably no one takes notice it, the truth is that their presence is the power of Kannon-sama.

When I visited the Kannon hall, people were overflowing from the main hall and also outside the hall. And on the altar there was a large Sanskrit character that manifested the holy Kannon.

The Asakusa Kannon is a Buddhist statue that is usually kept hidden from the public. That statue cannot be seen by anyone, including the head of the temple. For that reason, in front of that statue there is another statue that everyone can see. We can only see that statue once a year on December 13. That is why the altar is always being covered by the Sanskrit character.

When I looked at the Sanskrit character, tears came from my eyes. I felt the altar as being a radiant energy.

The people who gather at the Asakusa Kannon are from around the world. Among them, there are probably many people who know absolutely nothing about Kannon-sama. Regardless of whether they know Him or not, Kannon-sama accepts any kind of person. It was here that I felt the power of Kannon-sama and His energy of pure love. I knew that this was the reason why so many people visit that temple.

I heard that at Palolo Kannonji, the Kannon-sama is also a very all-powerful Kannon-sama. I heard that many Kannonji members are being saved and protected by the power of the Kannon-sama.

Kannon-sama is a bodhisattva.   There are bodhisattvas that are visible existences and invisible existences. A bodhisattva is an existence that saves suffering people. And a person who forgets his own needs and devotes himself to society and others is a living bodhisattva.

Kannon-sama as a bodhisattva is always trying to save we who are suffering on this earth. Yet please keep this in mind. The real form of the Kannon-sama is a Buddha. Kannon-sama is a Buddha called Shohomyo Buddha. As you all know the Buddha is the founder of Buddhism. Moreover, the Buddha is the Entity of the universe and also our Parent. To directly save we people on this earth, the Buddha manifests Himself as the Kannon Bodhisattva, and is working to save us. Therefore to pray to Kannon-sama is to pray to the Buddha. Furthermore, Kannon-sama changes His form according to human suffering. At one time the Kannon-sama assumes the form of a Buddha, at another time He becomes a deity, and at a different time a person or a child. Through these forms He is working to save us.

In Buddhism, there is no greater compassionate existence than the Kannon Bodhisattva. Why is the Kannon Bodhisattva so kind? As I earlier said, since the entity of Kannon-sama is the Buddha, who is our Parent, His Mind of Love to save all living beings, who are His children, appears. To work to save the deluded living beings, and we who are suffering and unhappy, is the natural state of mind and action of Kannon-sama, who is our Parent.

In the Kannon Sutra, which we read today, it is written to call the name of the Kannon with all your heart. Kannon-sama reacts to our voices that call dearly to Him and He immediately extends His hand of salvation. That is why it is important to call to Him by reciting Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu. If we sincerely pray to Kannon-sama in our mind and recite His name with our mouth, we will be given the power to overcome every unhappiness and suffering of human life. And active power, which brings happiness and light to human life, will come into our lives.

Allow me to share a testimonial or proof of being saved from difficulty by sincerely reciting the name of Kannon-sama. Mr. Ota, a member of the Japanese Diet, in the old days, was an earnest follower of the Kannon faith. During the Great Kanto Earthquake, he was at his company’s factory. A fire started at the factory from the earthquake. He was surrounded by the advancing flames and he resolved to die in the fire. He sincerely recited Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu. As he did so the direction of the wind miraculously changed, and he could escape from the factory and his life was saved.

Sincerely recite the name of Kannon-sama. By sincerely, I mean to do so with all your heart. The prayer of Mr. Ota, who recited the name of the Kannon-sama within the flames, was surely one of true sincerity. When we are faced with difficulty, if we seek help by single-heartedly reciting the name of Kannon-sama, the Kannon-sama will surely answer our prayer. We should not haphazardly recite the name of the Kannon Bodhisattva, but do so with a single heart, a mind of sincerity.

Kannon-sama hears the sounds and voices of the people of the world and frees them from their suffering. This great merit of His is described in the Kannon Sutra. I hope that you will be sure to study the sutra even more. I also hope that you will always feel Kannon-sama. I also ask that you recited Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu in your daily lives, even just once and even just in your mind. I hope that you will not forget the existence of Kannon-sama in your everyday lives. Kannon-sama is always besides you.

By Rev. Takamasa Yamamura. Translated by Mr. Dean Makinodan.

















浅草観音に集まる人々は、世界中の人々です。そのなかには観音さまをまったく知らない人もたくさんいるでしょう。そのようなことに関係なく、観音さまは、どのような人間も受け入れようとする。その観音さまの力、Pure loveのエネルギーをそこで感じました。