THE LIGHT OF THE BUDDHA
Steveston Buddhist Temple
4360 Garry Street Richmond, B.C. V7E 2V2
April 2006

Every Sunday
10:30 am - Dharma Service
11:30 am - Sangha Gathering

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

APRIL 2006
02 (Sun) 10:30 a.m
09 (Sun) 10:30 a.m
10 (Mon) 7:30 p.m
27 - 28 (Thurs - Fri)
29 - 30 (Sat - Sun)
Hanamatsuri
April Memorial Service (Shotsuki)
April Board Meeting
BCC Ministers' Meeting (Toronto)
BCC AGM (Toronto)

MAY 2006
07 (Sun) 10:30 a.m
08 (Mon) 7:30 p.m
14 (Sun) 10:30 a.m
19 - 22 (Fri-Mon)
28 (Sun) 11:00 a.m
29 (Mon) 7:00 p.m.
May Memorial Service (Shotsuki)
May Board Meeting
Gotan-e & Infant Presentation Ceremony
BCJSBCF Retreat (Manning Park)
Spring Food Fair & Open House
Bon Odori Practice Begins


SPECIAL SERVICES ON APRIL & MAY

Hanamatsuri (April 2, 10:30am)
Hanamatsuri is literally “Flower Festival.” We celebrate Sakyamuni Buddha’s birthday by offering many flowers! During the service a flower shrine, known as Hanamido, is set up in front of the altar as a symbol of Lumbini Garden. We will offer flowers and pour sweet tea over the image of baby Buddha. We would really love to see you bring your children and grandchildren to this special celebration! And don’t miss this opportunity to listen to the special Dharma talk for all your family members. The guest speaker is Brian Nagata Sensei from USA.

Gotan-e & Infant Presentation Service (Hatsu-mairi) May 14, 10:30 am
Gotan-e is the celebration of Shinran Shonin’s birth. At Nishi Hongwanji, our mother temple in Kyoto, in addition to special services, various events such as Gagaku music, Noh theatre play, and tea ceremony, are held. At our temple, we have “Infant Presentation Service (Hatsu-mairi)” during the Gotan-e Service. Parents formally present their child to the Buddha and Sangha for the first time on this occasion. (Please see the following information.)

Invitation to Infant Presentation Service (Hatsu-mairi)

Do you have a baby or know of a baby who was born in the last two of three years? If you do or if you know someone else who does, please ask them if they would like to attend our Infant Presentation Service at the Steveston Buddhist Temple on Sunday, May 14th at 10:30 a.m.


Manning Park Retreat

For those interested in attending the Manning Park Retreat (May 19-22), registration forms will be in the temple from March 26th. Please note that these registration forms must be handed in to the office before April 17th. You will be able to meet long-time friends from other B.C. temples. Please join us and enjoy a relaxing weekend at the Manning Park Retreat.


2006 BCC Youth Tour to Japan

The 2006 Hongwanji Cultural Youth Exchange in Japan will take place in the middle of July to the beginning of August. (The tour date will be updated and announced soon.) Hongwanji will generously subsidize almost half of the each participant’s cost. This is an excellent opportunity for youths from Brazil, Canada, Hawaii and the USA to gather in Kyoto and explore the historical and cultural heritage of our Jodo Shinshu tradition. Rev. Aoki of the Vancouver Buddhist Temple will be the leader for this year’s tour. The tour is eligible to youth between the ages of 15 and 25.

If you have any interest or questions, please contact Rev. Kikuchi at (604) 277-2323.



WHY DO WE CHANT “AMIDA SUTRA” AT THE SERVICES?

At Shotsuki and memorial services, we gather at the temple and in the presence of Amida Buddha we chant together the Amida Sutra, which describes about the Pure Land where now our loved ones who passed away, are as Buddha.

Why do we chant the sutra? The chanting sutra is the important ritual to pay our respects to our loved ones who passed away, by offering incense. And also it is the time of opportunity to listen to the teaching of Amida Buddha and through the services our loved ones, who are Buddhas, are telling us “What is life?”

It is said Amida Sutra is constructed of 4 parts. The first section describes Amida Buddha’s Pure Land. The second part describes Amida Buddha. The third part describes the method of how to go to Amida’s Pure Land, and the last section describes the innumerable Buddhas dwelling in the six directions urging all sentient beings to accept this sutra, which is protected by all the Buddhas.

As I mentioned, the first part of Amida Sutra describes Amida Buddha’s Pure Land. In the Pure Land, there are seven rows of handrails, decorative nets and trees, which are made of four kinds of precious jewels and extend over the whole world, encompassing everything. There are seven-jewelled lotus ponds filled with water of eight excellent qualities and beautiful fragrance. There is heavenly music and the ground is made of gold and beautiful flowers rain down from the sky six times a day. There are 6 kinds of rare and beautiful birds of various colours, such as white geese, peacocks, parrots, saris, kalavinkas and jivamjivakas. They sing with amazing voices and spread the Buddha Dharma such as the Eight Fold Noble Path and so on.

The next part describes Amida Buddha. In Sanskrit, which is an ancient Indian language; “Amitabha” means “Infinite light” and “Amitayus” means “Infinite life”. Amida is a combination of Amitabha and Amitayus. According to this sutra, the Buddha’s light shines boundlessly and without hindrance over all worlds of the ten quarters. And the lives of the Buddha and the people of his land last for innumerable, unlimited and incalculable kalpas. That is why the Buddha’s name is Amida.

The third part of the Amida Sutra describes how to get to the Amida’s Pure Land. The Sutra says, “whenever men and women of good families hear the name of Amida Buddha, they should mindfully repeat that name and wholeheartedly practice visualization with a mind which is one-pointed and not dispersed for one, two, three, four, five, six or seven days. When that person passes from this life, they will see Amida Buddha and the Bodhisattvas of that land right before their eyes. At the time of their passing, their mind will abide in meditative concentration and will not be deluded or dispersed. That is why they are born in the Land of Utmost Bliss, the Pure Land (Great happiness) Shariputra, perceiving these benefits, I say: All sentient beings who hear this teaching should aspire to birth in that land …”

Actually, this part is the principal part of this sutra. Further, the most important part of this paragraph is “Hearing of Amida Buddha holds fast to his Name with a concentrated and undistracted mind.”

The fourth section describes the praising of this sutra by many, many Buddhas. You may recognize the latter half of Amida Sutra has a repetitious part, repeating the same words six times. The Buddhas of the six directions extend their long, broad tongues and, encompassing with them the universe of a thousand million worlds, pronounce these words of truth: Sentient beings should accept this sutra entitled ‘Praise of the Inconceivable Virtue and Protection by All Buddha.’ In India, people say that someone who has a long tongue is someone who tells the truth! The Buddhas have long tongues to tell us how true and important this Sutra is...

It is said that “Pure Land” is not the world to understand in our heads but the world to feel in our hearts.

When you put your hands together, “Gassho”, please remember you and your loved ones are one.

“Nembutsu”, which is the recitation of “Namo-Amidabutsu”, means “I take refuge in Amida Buddha, who is the Buddha of eternal time, space and boundless compassion”. When you recite the Nembutsu, please remember that we are showing our gratitude to our loved ones, “Thank you for giving us your love and compassion, and thank you for telling us ’The Truth of Life’…”

Our loved ones are waiting for us in the Pure Land as Buddhas and lit light there, saying, “Don’t be afraid. We never disappear… Just return to the Oneness of Life.”

In Gassho,
Masumi Kikuchi


MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT - Larry Ryan

I’m writing this from Palm Desert, California. It is indeed a different world. The streets are wide and the traffic is steady and fast. The people are quite polite.

There is a great number of middle aged and older people everywhere you go. A good number of these people are still working. I don’t know if it is the weather or the culture, but you see a lot of these older people out walking in groups.

The emphasis seems to be on being youthful. There are plenty of radio and television ads for plastic surgery. One radio ad in particular states “Get the youth back that Mother Nature has stolen”. The advertisement goes on to state that you the listener deserves to look younger.

There is constant talk regarding the restful beauty of the desert. The desert has been reclaimed with water, palm trees and lush lawns. There are many of these veritable oasis everywhere you go. Here, meditation seems to take the form of golfing and shopping. Tranquility is found in the lush upscale gated communities.

I miss the serene gardens of our Otera. A group of us have been transplanting plants and bushes, with a view to adding more colour and texture. Once, we’ve added topsoil to the area along the parking lot fence, we will be encouraging members to plant some of their favourites.


KEIROKAI 2006 - Reiko Domai

This year’s Keirokai, an event to honour seniors of the Japanese community as well as those who help with bingo, was well attended. Many who attended were Issei and Nisei pioneers who were responsible for the temple’s establishment. Those over the age of ninety were especially recognized, and a group photo was taken of them.

Following a short service, a bento lunch was served. After lunch, those who attended were able to enjoy the Tatsumi group’s odori performance and beautiful costumes, some fun and challenging exercises, the Steveston Buddhist Temple’s choir, as well as karaoke performances.

This event was a great opportunity for the seniors to socialize with one another, meet Kikuchi Sensei, and enjoy great food and entertainment. A special thank you to all who attended, as well as those who volunteered their time to make this event a success. See you all next year!


MR.MURAO HAD THE HONOUR OF MEETING CROWN PRINCE, NARUHITO

Mr. Toshio Murao had a chance to meet with Crown Prince, Naruhito at the Pan Pacific Hotel on March 20th (Mon). He was invited for this meeting as a representative of fishermen in Steveston. He exchanged a few words with Crown Prince, Naruhito and received a warm greeting.
Mr. Murao said that he had been nervous but Crown Prince, Naruhito made him relaxed with his warm smile.


BCC UPDATE MARCH 2006 FROM THE OFFICE OF THE BISHOP

March, the first month of Spring, is the month to observe Higan in Japanese Buddhist tradition. It is the time to seriously study and listen to the Buddha-Dharma as a precious way of life. I would like to share the fond memory of an old man by the name of Jujiro Ohashi with whom I encountered in my service in Okanagan Valley.

I first met him in the late 1970’s and he impressed me very much because he sat in the first row near the podium, chanted sutra in a loud voice, and listened to my Dharma Talk intently with tears in his eyes. I was puffed up and pleased to watch him nodding with the recitation of the Nembutsu.

After the service, I talked to his wife over the tea and refreshments. She said, “Sensei, It is my husband’s only joy and happiness to come to the Buddhist Temple. He cannot hear very well anymore, but he knows that the minister always talks about the Boundless Compassion of Amida Buddha.”

Honestly speaking, I was a little disappointed to hear that he was hard of hearing, but I really appreciated his attitude to come and participate in the monthly service with joy. He must have been nurtured to be a man of Nembutsu in his early childhood. Today we miss such genuine pioneers of Nembutsu as Jujiro Ohashi. Nanmandabutsu


FUJINKAI NEWS - Hiroko Yoshihara

Dana Day service held on February 19th was an occasion to hear Sensei’s meaningful Dharma talk and to visit with everyone enjoying the refreshments prepared by Toban 1. Thank you for your donations, which have been forwarded to BCCWF for its outreach programs.

Our clothing, bedding and soft items drive will conclude at the end of March. A few more bags and boxes have arrived recently which should raise the number of bags to approximately 80. Your effort is appreciated.

Used stamps and unwanted foreign coins will be welcomed again. These are donated to Save the Children Fund and UNICEF to assist children in developing countries.

Continuation of last month’s thoughts on the connection between Fujinkai mothers and Dharma School and temple attendance: My two children attended Dharma School for several years…my son came until he was ten and my daughter until she was around 16. I brought them as preschoolers because I felt the need to pass on my experience as a child in Alberta. But I have since wondered what influence this participation has had on my children. Surprisingly, this winter gave some hints. My son who lives in Alberta has attended a service at Taber Buddhist Church in company of his uncle and also was taken to a New Year’s dinner with the members. He enjoyed the people. And my daughter wrote a note to us expressing her gratitude for her life and for our guidance. These two events have given me moments of joy, even though I realize that this is only for the present moment as life and conditions change constantly.


DHARMA SCHOOL NEWS – Genevieve Iwata

You are invited to a birthday party! Please come help us celebrate the Buddha’s birthday on April 2nd. Rev. Brian Nagata will be our guest minister and Otoki will be served. We may have a few surprises for the children.

Regular Dharma services are held on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. Join us for lively discussions, tea/ coffee and goodies after services. Our minister is very knowledgeable so come and feel free to ask questions. For more formal discussion, Mr. Roy Akune will conduct sessions for those that are interested.

For those who are planning on going to the retreat, have registered and change your mind about going, you have to let Kelowna know a month in advance (mid April). I think there were problems last year as there were so many last minute cancellations. The lodge will charge us for any cancellations that they don’t get in a timely matter.

If anyone has had a baby in the last year or so, we have an Infant Presentation on May 14th. Please let Rev. Kikuchi know if you would like to be included in this event.


STEVESTON BUDDHIST TEMPLE CHOIR

Please join our choir. Come out and have fun in singing beautiful Buddhist and Japanese songs. Practices every 1st and 3rd (or 4th) Friday of the month at 7:00pm, meet in the Temple.

March 31st (Prep for Hanamatsuri)
April 7th & 21sMay 5th & 26th

We will sing at the Hanamatsuri Service on April 2nd. Please contact Rev. Kikuchi, if you have any questions. (Office Tel: 604-277-2323)

Flowers for the Nokotsudo Memorial Garden welcome.


April 2006 Newsletter (Nihon-go)

MS Word Version: April 2006 Newsletter

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