THE LIGHT OF THE BUDDHA
Steveston Buddhist Temple
10:30 am - Dharma Service
11:30 am - Sangha Gathering
01 (Sun) 10:00 a.m.|
01 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.
09 (Mon) 7:30 p.m.
15 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.
28 - 29 (Sat - Sun)
Dharma School (Theme: Growth, Activity: Planting Sunflowers)
Hanamatsuri Service (Guest Speaker: Rev. Matsubayashi, Seattle Betsuin)
SBT Board Meeting
Memorial Service (Shotsuki)
BCC AGM in Calgary
06 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.|
06 (Sun) 10:00 a.m.
13 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.
14 (Mon) 7:30 p.m.
27 (Sun) 12:00 noon
28 (Mon) 7:00 p.m.
Memorial Service (Shotsuki)
Dharma School Theme : Gratefulness, Activity: Making Origami
Gotan-e & Infant Presentation Ceremony
SBT Board Meeting
Spring Food Bazaar & OPEN House (No Service)
Bon Odori Practice Begins
Last month, I attended the North West convention of the Buddhist Churches of America in Seattle. There were many excellent speakers and I was grateful to be able to listen to such wonderful talks. Only one regret, we didn’t have many attending from Steveston! On the other hand, Vancouver and Fraser Valley had much more than us. I hope our congregation becomes more active like other temple members and make a stronger effort to attend when opportunities come to go to “Listening to the Drama Talks about Nembutsu”.
In Shin Buddhism, the most important practice for us is “Nembutsu with Shinjin, recitation of the Nembutsu with entrusting heart of primal vow” and also listening to the Dharma Talks about “Amida’s Primal Vow”. Without listening to the Dharma Talks, how can we recite the Nembutsu with true entrusting heart to Amida Buddha without any doubt? We don’t have any other practice or any other method. We are the followers of the denomination, “Just Nembutsu”. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, there are many other self-practice Buddhist denominations. However, you should know one thing. There are countless conditions and circumstances and also Amida’s great power behind the fact you come to this temple even though you might feel, “I chose this temple!”
The 100 years’ history of North American Shin Buddhist teaching is very unique and was changed from the original Shin Buddhist teaching and adapted to the North American mindset, which is obviously based on the Christian Ethic. To emphasize this, there are many parts in our English service book which are not truly based on Shinran’s “Just Nembutsu” teaching such as “Golden Chain”, “Six Paramitas” and “Noble Eightfold Path”. They seem to recommend that you rely on “what you do and say” instead of Amida Buddha. I am concerned these teachings might create confusion and seem contradictory. Of course, we should know them as Buddhist terms and as a process to abandon self-power. Shinran acknowledges these self-practices are so difficult to do, truly and perfectly. We just receive Amida’s fulfilled practice through recitation of Nembutsu. It means we have to know in the Nembutsu teaching there is 0% from my side and 100% from Amida’s side. We must see that we have “zero - empty ability” to become Buddha through self-practices, and then we can fully accept Amida’s perfect virtues. This is the way to attain the ultimate Buddhist goal “non-ego” through abandoning our own practices and fully relying on Amida. However, though it doesn’t depend on what we do and say as self-practices to attain Buddhahood, we have responsibilities to ourselves through touching Amida Buddha’s mind which truly wishes all beings’ happiness and the attainment of Buddhahood. And through receiving Amida’s virtue and facing the Pure Land, we are all educated step by step, “Though I am saved by Amida, I feel Amida’s pain which comes from my imperfect deeds and words”. Being honest to ourselves and seeing truly what we are might be a hard and depressing process. But this mixed honest feeling, “Thank you and sorry, Amida Buddha” is the true Nembutsu follower’s mind, - gratitude and shame towards Amida. And living in the Nembutsu is said that “Living towards the Amida’s Light while bearing our own darkness. As the bright light creates the dark shadow, the more we know how bright and great Amida’s compassion, the more we know how dark our delusion.”
By the way, one of the guest speakers of the North West convention, Rev. Sakamoto gave us the small card to all attending at the convention. It has minimum information about Shin Buddhism which you need to memorize.
“The Characteristics of the Dharma – Impermanence, No separate me, Dukha / Nirvana”
“Three Poisons – Hatred, Greed, Ignorance”
“Four Noble Truths – Dukha, Tanha, Nirvana, The Path / Shinjin Nembutsu”
“Two Aspects of Deep Faith – I am bombu, Amida transforms bombu”
I recognised that Rev. Sakamoto put “Shinjin Nembutsu” as “The Path” in the end of “Four Noble Truths” though “Noble Eightfold Path (The Eight Self-Practices to extinguish our sufferings; Having Right View, Thought, Speech, Conduct, Livelihood, Endeavour, Mindfulness and Meditation)” usually comes at the end of it…
Now let’s see how Shinran Shonin expresses about those issues in his Wasan; “Hymns of the Dharma-Ages, GUTOKU's (Foolish Bald headed man’s), Hymns of Lament and Reflection”
Although I take refuge in the true Pure Land way,
it is hard to have a true and sincere mind.
This self is false and insincere;
I completely lack a pure mind. (No. 94)
Each of us, in outward bearing,
Makes a show of being wise, good, and dedicated;
But so great are our greed, anger, perversity, and deceit,
That we are filled with all forms of malice and cunning. (No. 95)
Extremely difficult is it to put an end to our evil nature;
The mind is like a venomous snake or scorpion.
Our performance of good acts is also poisoned;
Hence, it is called false and empty practice. (No. 96)
Although I am without shame and self-reproach
And lack a mind of truth and sincerity,
Because the Name is directed by Amida,
Its virtues fill the ten quarters. (No. 97)
Lacking even small love and small compassion,
I cannot hope to benefit sentient beings.
Were it not for the ship of Amida's Vow,
How could I cross the ocean of painful existence? (No. 98)
With minds full of malice and cunning, like snakes and scorpions,
We cannot accomplish good acts through self-power;
And unless we entrust ourselves to Amida's directing of virtue,
We will end without knowing shame or self-reproach. (No. 99)
Karmic evil is from the beginning without real form;
It is the result of delusional thought and invertedness.
Mind-nature is from the beginning pure,
But as for this world, there is no person of truth. (No. 107)
Since I came to Canada, I was grateful to see very active members who often helped the temple and came to the Sunday service. However, unfortunately I found some of these people haven’t yet reached the point “Just Nembutsu”. There are so much information about other Buddhist traditions through the internet and books. To learn about other Buddhist teachings is fine to review and deepen our understanding of Shin Buddhism. However, this is important. If you mix up everything by just picking out whatever you like and never return to Shinran’s teaching, I recommend not reviewing other Buddhist teachings and other religions that takes you away from the point, “Just Nembutsu” and “the realization of I am ‘bombu’ – an ordinary foolish being.” I sincerely hope our congregation can successfully go beyond self-practice Buddhism to Shin Buddhist teaching though regretfully western society has an opposite mindset. I believe this transformation will give you true meaning to your life, and deeper meaning when coming to the temple.
A delegation from Steveston Buddhist Temple attended the spring meeting of the BC Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Churches Federation in Hope. Due to recent mud slides we had to detour via Aggasiz. This gave us a chance to see a different part of the country as focusing on the now.
The Kelowna Buddhist Temple and its members are in the planning stages of the BCJSBCF convention to be held there in October of this year. Please check the temple bulletin board for hotel information as well as information for golfers. This proves to be an interesting convention. We would encourage temple members to attend.
A disturbing bit of news was shared with us at the meeting. It is alleged that a Christian school in Kamloops is teaching its students that Buddhists are tools of the devil and that all Japanese are Buddhists. This is a far cry from the way our senseis make reference to other religions. Never will you hear a Jodo Shinshu or other Buddhist clerics speak poorly of other faiths. Our senseis are heard quite often urging people to attend their own church, synagogue or temple. Roy Inouye of Kamloops will be investigating this issue. If warranted, Roy will be turning over the information to the British Columbia Hate Crimes Tribunal. In a multi cultural society such as Canada, there is no room for this kind of thing.
On a brighter note, our temple hosted its annual Keirokai to honour the seniors of Steveston. The food and the entertainment were enjoyed by all. I wish to thank the bingo helpers, Fujinkai ladies and many other volunteers for all their help.
You all may have noticed that the daffodils that were planted in the fall are beginning to bloom. We should have quite a few for Hanamatsuri.
Our sensei continues to be quite busy with her regular duties as well as Dharma School and the choir. Please give her your support.
Commemorating Hanamatsuri, the birthday celebration of Shakyamuni Buddha in this month, I would like to relate a story that indicates his great ability and personality as a wise educator and straightforward thinker.
Once there was a group of young couples enjoying picnic in the park with drinks and delicious dishes. However a commotion broke out during the party. What happened was one gentleman had an argument with his wife a few days before, so that he came to the picnic with his new girlfriend who happened to be a thief. In the middle of the enjoyment this woman picked up all the precious items such as jewels, clothes, and cosmetics and sneaked out of the party.
All the men were assembled and divided into groups to hunt for the thief. As one group came into the nearby forest, they encountered the Buddha and his disciples in a meditation session.
The group leader asked the Buddha if he had seen a woman pass by. The Buddha asked why and found out the reason of this commotion. This was the dialogue between the Buddha and the leader.
Which do you think is more important; hunting for the thief or hunting your true self?
What are you talking about?
I am asking which is important; the woman or yourself?
It is said that the group of people were struck by the dignified questioning of the Buddha, and eventually they all became the disciples in the Sangha.
Congratulations to Mr. Sid Ikeda in Toronto who was recently presented with the Order of Japan.
Dana Day donations. A record amount has been received from our Dana Day Service on February 25. This will be Fujinkai’s contribution to assist people outside of our normal day to day life. Thank you for your Dana. After the service, the attendees enjoyed tea, cake and other treats in the classroom.
Soft goods and clothing drive. The kitchen addition was lined with bags for almost two weeks as we counted and recounted, repacked and retied and tried to keep the space tidy. After Kuni made the announcement at Bingo, three players came with their bags which brought the final count to 100 bags ($200). One wistfully thinks “150 bags would have earned $450”. Next time! But for now, thanks to everyone who took the time to gather up their clothing, bedding and linens which were no longer required. We helped the environment by diverting “garbage” (every single item would either be resold “as is” or shredded for sale). In addition our homes have a bit more space.
Hanamatsuri. Toban 1 will be planning a simple buffet lunch after service, so please plan on staying for a meal together and an opportunity to visit with Rev. and Mrs. Matsubayashi and other members.
This coming Sunday, April 1st is our annual Hanamatsuri service which is the Celebration of Sakyamuni Buddha's birthday. We are pleased to have Guest Speaker, Rev. Matsubayashi from Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple, join us for the service. After the Dharma school service, the children will be doing a presentation on Siddhartha's life. We hope to see you all there! Last month Reiko and I had the opportunity to join Kikuchi Sensei at the Buddhist Convention in Washington. It was a great experience as we were able to meet many American Buddhist youths and participate in sessions where we learned about the Buddhist culture and way of life. We hope to organize a Dharma School Youth Committee between us and the states in the future.
Please come to renew your acquaintance with Rev. and Mrs. Matsubayashi. Sensei served as Bishop of BCC for several years and assisted our Temple when we did not have a resident minister. We appreciated his dedication and Mrs. Matsubayashi’s gracious presence. This potluck guarantees good food but more importantly - good company.
Guest speaker is Rev. Ikuta. Do not miss the opportunity to listen to this experienced and deeply respected sensei. Transportation will be provided. Please gather at our Temple by 9:30 a.m. on April 8. Bring a smile to Kikuchi Sensei’s face!
This is another event to simplify your life by clearing clutter and items no longer needed. Tables can be rented for $15 or $25 for two. So far, 11 (possibly 13) tables have already been requested. Application forms and posters are available at the Temple office. Donations will be welcomed. If you are cleaning up your garden and realize that you have too many plants, please send these to the Temple for a plant sale. Please come and browse (buying is optional). It is always fun to see what everyone is selling. Refreshments will be available. Chow mein is in the works.
Hongwanji and BCC Youth Tour July 16-30, 2007
Approximate cost: $1,750 (with subsidy from Hongwanji)