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

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

DECEMBER 2006
02 (Sat) 6:00 p.m.
03 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.
09 (Sat) 9:00 a.m.
10 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.
10 (Sun) 6:00 p.m.
11 (Mon) 7:30 p.m.
17 (Sun) 9:00 a.m.
31 (Sun) 11:00 p.m.
Otaiya Potluck Dinner
Ho-onko & December Memorial Shotsuki
Mochitsuki
Bodhi Day (Jodo-e)
Bonenkai
December Board Meeting
Temple Clean-Up
New Year’s Eve, Year End (Joya-e)

JANUARY 2007
01 (Mon) 10:30 a.m.
07 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.
08 (Sat) 7:30 p.m.
14 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.
14 (Sun) 2:00 p.m.
21 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.
21 (Sun) 1:00 p.m.
28 (Sun) 1:00 p.m.
New Year’s Day Service (Shusho-e)r
January Memorial Shotsuki
January Board Meeting
Vancouver Hoonko & Shotsuki (No Service at Steveston)
Fujinkai AGM
Dharma Service Begins
New Year Engeikai Concert by Senior Club
Steveston AGM


ABOUT SHIN BUDDHIST RITUAL

Lately, we are experiencing terrible weather. When we think about the cause of this extreme weather, we can easily recognize it’s because of us, human beings. According to Shakyamuni Buddha and Shinran Shonin, we are now living in Mappo time, ‘the last Dharma age”. That is the time filled with unlimited desires and selfish minds. And Mappo is the time, when our blind passions destroy nature and finally ourselves. I feel it might be true and so now is the time we really must listen to the Nembutsu teaching which tells us our true state and the path we should follow…

On this issue, I will explain about the ritual of Shin Buddhism. The Religious ritual is said to be an outward form of our natural innermost thoughts and feelings. In Shin Buddhism, it is said that when one receives Shinjin, these forms appears naturally such as the recitation of Nembutsu and Gassho, putting our hands together.

We have to know there are no Shin Buddhist ritual without the expression of gratitude towards Amida Buddha and our loved ones who are now Buddhas in the Pure Land. The teaching or doctrine can be explained by words. Conversely ritual and forms are beyond words. However, these elements, doctrine and ritual cannot be separated. They are essentially one.

The Hondo, the worship hall is different among Japanese Buddhist schools and each altar form represents the uniqueness of the Buddhist schools. Shin Buddhist altar’s central image of reverence is Amida Buddha, represented by a statue or the scroll, or the scroll with the words, “Namo Amidabutsu”, which means “I rely on Amida Buddha”. Amida means “infinite light” and “infinite life” which represents limitless space and limitless time. Amida also means Buddha’s immeasurable Wisdom and boundless Compassion.

In our altar area, the scroll on your far right is “Prince Shotoku” who is called “the father of Japanese Buddhism”. He lived in the 6th century, and established Buddhism as a national religion and built many temples.

To the left of Prince Shotoku is a scroll with “Shinran Shonin” who is the founder of Jodo Shinshu sect in Japan in the 12th century.

Moving further to the left and on the other side of the statue is a scroll of “Rennyo Shonin” who was the 8th Abbot of our tradition and is called “Master of Development of our tradition” The scroll on the far left side shows the “Seven Pure Land School Masters”.

The Buddhist teaching traveled from India to Japan from the 1st century to 6th century. During this travel, the Buddhist teaching was translated, deepened and refined by these extraordinary masters. The 7 masters are 2 Indians, 3 Chinese and 2 Japanese from 2nd century to the 12th century.

These scrolls and statue tell us what is important to us and what we respect in our tradition.

People sometimes ask me, “Why we offer flowers and other offerings in the Naijin?” We follow a form on how to set up the altar and the kinds of offering we need. In the Hondo and Naijin, altar area, we have a certain form as a tradition which was developed over several hundreds years. The form of setting up the Naijin was born from the heart of receiving Shinjin. And the heart of receiving of Shinjin was born from the form of setting up the Naijin. They are related to each other and the forms are important to us Bonbu and the forms educate us to become Nembutsu followers and be humble and sincere.

When we have services, we always chant sutras, such as “The Three Pure land Sutras”, the commentaries by seven pure land masters and written works by Shinran Shonin. We call them “Sutra” which teaches us the Nembutsu teaching.

To chant the sutra is “to praise the virtues of Amida Buddha” and also “to listen to the Buddha’s teaching”. But even for the Japanese speakers, because almost all the sutras were written in Chinese Characters, it is very difficult to understand the meaning of the sutras just by chanting them. I think for the English speakers it may be more difficult.

But we, overseas ministers are trying to explain the meaning of sutras in our Dharma Talks and sometimes we read the English translations after the chanting.

It is very hard to understand the meaning of Sutras by chanting for everyone. However, if we think the chanting sutra is one of the forms of our ritual, we might recognize that the sounds of chanting create a very special atmosphere. And the atmosphere may focus our concentration.

During the chanting, we hear and create the sounds. Through these sounds, we might touch the sense of the Pure Land and have a grateful feeling of being embraced by Amida’s compassion.

As I mentioned, one of the important rituals and forms is “recitation of Nembutsu”, “Namo Amidabutsu” or “Naman Dabu”. There are variations of the Nembutsu recited by many people, by one ’s self, loud ones, silent ones, fast ones and slow ones. It is said that when we receive Amida’s vow and Shinjin correctly, it will appears to us as form of recitation of Nembutsu quite naturally. And we can hear this is a calling voice from Amida Buddha, even though we hear it from our own mouths.

Through 2500 years history from Shakyamuni Buddha and 800 years history from Shinran Shonin, many rituals and forms were born, created and developed. Particularly in Shin Buddhism, the rituals and forms were born from the rejoicing heart to encounter the Nembutsu teaching.

When we see, join and experience any ritual and form, please remember the hearts and minds of Nembutsu followers and Shinran Shonin who were filled with gratitude to receive the Shinjin, the entrusting hearts toward Amida Buddha.

Gassho, Rev. Masumi Kikuchi


BCC UPDATE DECEMBER 2006 - Socho Orai Fujikawa
The Fallen Leaves of Bonno (Blind Passions)

As soon as the month of November comes here in the west coast of British Columbia, we have a lot of rain with darker days. And along with rains the temperature goes down and so do the leaves. As my office/residence is located at the edge of Steveston Park with many maple trees, I have been busy lately cleaning the fallen leaves in the garden as well as on the street. Although it is a good physical exercise for me, it seems to be endless work and battle. First I rake the millions of leaves off the street and then clean in the garden. In the beginning I see inexhaustible number of leaves, but gradually they are hauled into the boxes which are carried away by the garbage truck. Still there are hundreds of them left on the green grass and I try to make a final effort to pick them with my hands. Yet next moment I can see more leaves coming down from the trees by the wind. So I have to pick them up again.

This process that seems to be endless reminds me of the Bodhisattva practice mentioned in the Four Great Vows.

  1. Sentient beings are numerous; I vow to save them all.
  2. Afflictions (Bonno) are inexhaustible; I vow to end them all.
  3. Schools and traditions are manifold; I vow to study them all.
  4. The Buddha Way is supreme; I vow to complete it.

How sacred and beautiful vows they are! Yet here is something to think about.

Those leaves are innumerable, but they are visible and you can clean them eventually if you keep on working. However the so-called Bonno (blind passions) that leads us to the state of confusion, anxiety, and worry is invisible and abundant in number. The source of Bonno is greed, anger, and ignorance and as long as you live as a human, it comes with you. Therefore Bodhisattva has to continue his work to control it.

So the important thing for us Buddhists is to realize the fact that we humans are constantly filled with those blind passions. And at the same time we have to hear the teaching that Namoamidabutsu constantly comes into the battle to work with us to control blind passions.

Hongwanji International Centre will host the first annual Oversea Ministers and Temple Leaders’ Seminar on Nov 30th to Dec 2nd, 2006 in Kyoto. Rev. Y. Miyakawa, Ron Shimizu (Toronto), Ray Nakano (Hamilton) will be the delegates from BCC. This is an excellent opportunity for them to pay tribute to Shinran Shonin as well as to see and understand Mother Temple Hongwanji how it is organized and functioning.

Buddhist Churches of America observed the Dedication Service of Jodo Shinshu Centre in Berkeley, California on October 21st, 2006. It is a huge building with modern facilities such as library, bookstore, classroom, dormitory for guests and students, and lecture hall. Bishop Fujikawa, Jim Hisanaga, Dr. L. Kawamura, and Lori North representing BCC and Living Dharma Centre participated in the celebration.

Hongwanji Assembly had election of the cabinet recently and here are the results:

  • Governor General Bishop Kosho Fujikawa (re-elect)
  • Bishops: Shoei Takeda, Chiko Iwagami, Gijo Suga, Shozen
  • Muranaga, Juho Goto ( International Affaire)


BONENKAI, Sunday December 10th. Service at 5:30 pm. Dinner at 6 pm. Cost: $12 per person before Dec. 1. $15 for a very limited number of late replies. Roast beef dinner will be catered so PROMPT replies are crucial as the caterer requires a week to order her supplies. No ties required. Please RSVP to Chizuru san at (604) 277-2323 as soon as you read this if you wish to come.

As in past years, please bring any non-perishable food stuff (canned goods, dry food) to the dinner. Please support the Richmond Food Bank. Thank you!


We invite members of the Steveston Buddhist Temple to put their names forward to serve on the Board for 2007. If you are submitting the name of someone else, please make sure that you have their permission to do so. We need new people with fresh ideas and energy.

In Gassho Larry Ryan.


MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT - Larry Ryan

Mahalo! That’s about all I can remember from a far distant visit to Hawaii. The BCJSBCF convention was quite a success. Even those who are usually quite negative sought me out and congratulated our temple on our hard work that was done. The lectures and workshops were well attended and most interesting. The BBQ boys did a wonderful job on the pig roasts. The food and entertainment were by far the most interesting to date.

The Youth Group distinguished themselves by chairing the services and organizing the outing and the eco bag sales. I was very pleased, that Alisa and Reiko spoke in Japanese as well as English.

Let me thank all of you who volunteered to make this a most successful event. Thanks for all the time you gave up to attend planning meetings and preparation.

The next main event will be Bonenkai. I hope to see most of you there as well as the New Year’s Eve service.

A number of us will be attending the North West Convention in February 2007. Please check the bulletin board for details.


FUJINKAI NEWS - Hiroko Yoshihara

A busy month has passed with Fujinkai participation in the BCJSBCF Convention with meal preparation and being headquarters for the BC Women’s League. A new structure has been adopted for the League with its Executive coming from various chapters rather than from rotation of chapters. June Ikuta fills the position as chairperson, along with Eileen Fujita (Fraser Valley) as secretary and Jeanne Ryan continuing as treasurer.

During the past weekend we held our Craft Fair which was very successful for the crafters. It was a satisfying day with consistent flow of people during the entire time. Fujinkai sold baking, sushi, chow mein and crafts. On Sunday we had our Eshinni Nikko and Fujinkai memorial service which was attended by over 130.

CLOTH TOTE BAGS (FOR SHOPPING)
These are available at the Temple for $5.00 each. This is a project of the Temple’s Youth Group in their effort to help the environment. There are two original designs.

THANK YOU
Thank you to all who helped with the Fall Food Bazaar. This was the first time that we sold everything on a first come first served basis (no presold tickets) and it worked rather well as the sales were very similar to previous years. It will take another year before everyone is familiar with this system. For the first time we did not send anyone away without any items. Arigato to the Fujinkai and men who spent many hours in the kitchen preparing days, before the event also to our friends who helped during the day of the bazaar. - Kunihiko Ikuta, Fall Food Bazaar Chairperson

MOCHITSUKI
Mochitsuki this year will be done by machine and mochi will only be made for the Bonenkai dinner on December 10th. Sorry, we will not be taking any orders this year. If you would like to come and help or learn how to make the mochi, please come to the otera on Saturday December 9th at 9:00 a.m. Please bring an apron with you.

If you enjoy pounding the rice to make mochi then you should contact Vancouver Buddhist Temple to see when they are doing their mochitsuki. Any questions, please contact Doug Masuhara at 604-278-7264


Dharma School would appreciate any educational toys, games and puzzles to refresh and invigorate its equipment. These should be in fairly new condition. Please contact Genevieve Iwata, Dharma School supervisor (604) 572-7240 or Misaye Hamaura (604) 590-6187.



DHARMA SCHOOL REPORT - Genevieve Iwata

Bodhi Day will be held on December 10th at 10:30 a.m. There will be NO potluck but we will still be collecting non-perishable foods for the Food Bank.

There will be no Dharma Service on December 17th due to the temple clean up. There will be a Dharma Service on December 24th but not on December 31st.

NEW DHARMA SCHOOL WILL BEGIN from 2007!

We will start a New Dharma School (the ages of 6-13) from January 2007 taught by two young teachers, Alisa Sakamoto & Reiko Domai. Please give the colourful fliers in this news letter to your family during the winter holiday’s gatherings! They are planning exciting programs learning Buddhism and Japanese Culture through cooking, doing crafts and so on. To learn Buddhism from the childhood is very important for everyone. Alisa and Reiko are looking forward to seeing the new students!


INVITATION TO EVERYONE FROM THE SENIORS’ CLUB
FOR A NEW YEAR ENTERTAINMENT PARTY

Sunday, January 21st, 2007 at 1:00 p.m. - Steveston Buddhist Temple (Gym)

Time flies and it’s almost the end of the year. You must be getting busier preparing the holiday season. We are having a New Year Entertainment Party as noted above. This year, we all missed your presence due to the declining number of attendees. We are going to enjoy the same program that received good feedback this year. Non-members are also welcome ! Please come and join us !!



December 2006 Newsletter (Nihon-go)

December 2006 Newsletter PDF

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