By YASUO IZUMI BUDDHIST TEMPLE OF SOUTHERN ALBERTA on December 31, 2020.
The year 2021, according to Chinese zodiac, is the year of the cow. The cow is an animal with gentle nature who is closely associated with Buddhism. The fonder of Buddhism is Siddhartha Gautama, who was born in India in approximately 500 BC. The family name “Gautama” means a sacred cow. Someone said, “What!? Gautama means Holy Cow? Oh, it is easy to remember.” Yes, the cow is sacred and holy in India. Therefore, in India people do not kill cows. Of course, they do not eat beef.
Speaking of a cow, there is a humorous and yet thought-provoking story in Japan.
It was a beautiful warm Sunday morning. A somewhat greedy elderly woman hung up a white cloth on a clothesline after she did her laundry. Because it was a bit windy, the white cloth blew off and landed on the back of a cow. The surprised cow who was leisurely strolling broke into a run. The woman saw it and ran after the cow, crying, “Wait, you thief! That’s my cloth!” The cow didn’t heed her. The woman screamed, “Wait, please wait! That is my cloth! I just cleaned it!”
The cow, however, continued to run. Gasping, the woman ran on. Finally, the cow stopped because it saw a crowd of people. The elderly woman finally caught up with the cow. She also saw many people there. She asked one of them why they were gathered there. “Well, this is Sunday,” the person replied. “We listen to a noble priest talk.” The woman never attended the temple service because she did not want to make a donation. But that day she followed many people who enter the temple and listened to the priest’s talk. It was a great talk. The woman forgot all about her cloth. But that was OK. The woman appreciated the cow who led her to the temple to listen to the teaching. From then on she became a faithful follower of Buddha’s teaching.