THE LIGHT OF THE BUDDHA

Steveston Buddhist Temple
4360 Garry Street Richmond, B.C. V7E 2V2
February 2007


Every Sunday
10:30 am - Dharma Service
11:30 am - Sangha Gathering
FEBRUARY 2007
04 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.
11 (Sun) 10:00 a.m.
11 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.
12 (Mon) 7:30 p.m.
16 to 18 (Friday - Sunday)
18 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.
25 (Sun) 2:00 p.m.
Memorial Service (Shotsuki)
Dharma School (Theme: Compassion, Activity: Baking cookies & making cards)
Nirvana Day (Nehan-e)
SBT Board Meeting
North West Buddhist Convention in White River, Tukwila, Washington
Dharma Service (No Minister)
Fujinkai Dana Day

MARCH 2007
04 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.
12 (Mon) 7:30 p.m.
17 (Sat) 10:00 a.m.
18 (Sun) 10:00 a.m.
18 (Sun) 12:00 noon
25 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.
Spring Ohigan, Memorial Service (Shotsuki) & Installation of New Officers
SBT Board Meeting
BCJSBCF Spring Meeting in Hope
Dharma School Theme: Noble Eight-fold Path
Keirokai
Dharma Service (Rev. Kikuchi - Guest Minster for Seattle Betsiun)


On the early morning January 17, 1995…

I took a holiday recently to spend my time with my family and friends in Japan. During my stay in Japan, unfortunately I caught a cold and had to cancel my short trips with my friends and sisters, and had to stay home. However, after recovering I could go and see some of my teachers and friends. One of my teachers is “T sensei” who is the former Bishop of Hongwanji. His temple is a neighbour of my family temple and I was his secretary at Hongwanji, so when I return to Japan, I always visit his temple and talk with him and receive his advice. On this occasion, he requested me to attend his temple’s daily morning service at 7:00am and give my talk. His congregation is very famous for “devoted” followers and around 40 members attend every morning service. I was very honoured to talk at his temple. During my talk, he looked very serious while listening to me and I was very nervous because he is such a famous Buddhist scholar and also a “strict teacher”. However after my talk he told me with his gentle smile, “Thank you very much! Thank you very much!” I have heard from my parents that T sensei is always worried about me like his daughter since a tragedy that happened 12 years ago…

On the early morning January 17, 1995, I suddenly felt strong tremors in my apartment in Kyoto, where I was living by myself while working at Nishi-Hongwanji temple. I had no idea what happened but after the tremors I turned on the TV. The TV said there was a middle size earthquake around Osaka area that caused minor damages to some buildings. At that moment, nobody could know what happened actually… And nobody knew that earthquake has killed instantly 6,433 people. It was called Hanshin great earthquake…

When I went to Nishi-Hongwanji office, T sensei who is one of the governors from Kobe area, received a phone call from his neighbouring temple telling him his house was completely destroyed and … all his family members had died. Since T sensei’s temple was my neighbour and I couldn’t get through to my family that morning, I had feelings of great despair about them. My head was unconsciously getting full of anxiety and panic and thinking, “Are they alive?” At that time, I was secretary to a bishop and 5 governors of Hongwanji. The bishop recognized my feeling and told me, “You don’t have to work today. You should return to your family temple to be with them!” All public transportation systems were dead and I had to drive my vehicle back to my hometown. I thought even if they were alive, they might have nothing to eat or drink, so I bought water and food, which were fully packed in my vehicle. Normally returning home takes 1 hour by car, however because of the destructive earthquake it took 11 hours to drive through the terrible traffic jam. While reciting, “Please be alive! …”, I drove frantically along little known paths. I was crying and shaking with fright all the way. Although our temple and my house suffered damages, fortunately my family was alive. I was so exhausted from the long drive, but my father said to me, “We are O.K. You should go help T sensei’s temple, because you are his secretary…” I left my home and drove to T sensei’s temple. It takes normally 10 minutes, however because of the chaos and the terrible damages to the city, it took over 1 hour. When I arrived at his temple area, I was shocked at the sight because that was one of the worst-hit areas. It was like hell and seemed completely unreal.

All houses were destroyed like toy boxes and familiar apartments and buildings had squashed floor. When I imagined somebody was still inside, I felt terrible. T sensei’s temple had serious damages, too. His house, gates and walls were completely destroyed, however the temple building remained. When I entered the temple, I found three remains, covered by white cloth. They were all his family members, his father who was a well-known former bishop of Hongwanji, his wife and his only daughter. I felt how cruel it was. After a while T sensei came into the temple and said to me, “Oh, thank you for coming…” His face was so pale and he wore his daughter’s red scarf, which has been pulled out from under the rubble. I started cleaning and preparing for their wake service without saying a word. I felt very sorry and could not stop crying. It was an unusually cold night in the middle of winter.

After that, I helped my father with services for the victims. Countless remains, covered with white cloth, were enshrined in the funeral home’s building. It was as if the remains were telling us the tragedy in silence. I thought countless remains might still be under buildings. I almost fell unconscious from sadness and shock at the sight of “reality” in front of my eyes. Until that moment, I have never really felt the truth of life, “Impermanency - all materials finally lose their forms -”… Everything, which sprouts new lives, must go to the ground someday. I recognized that truth includes me. When I encountered this reality, the teaching of Buddha, which I had understood only in my head, was changed into being my issue deep in my mind.

Now Kobe and the area, and also T sensei’s temple, which had been damaged by the earthquake are completely reconstructed and you cannot see any scars on the surface. However, our minds cannot simply be reconstructed like buildings. Nine months later from that tragedy, my 19 years old younger brother passed away in a car crash although he had survived the earthquake. We really don’t know when and what will happen to us. But it is reality and the truth of the impermanency of life…

Shinran Shonin says as an essence of our teaching in his major work,”Kyogyoshinsho”, the following,

Reverently contemplating the true essence of the Pure Land way, I see that Amida's directing of virtue to sentient beings has two aspects: the aspect for our going forth to the Pure Land and the aspect for our return to this world. In the aspect for going forth, there is the true teaching, practice, shinjin, and realization… We are receiving the teaching from our loved ones who are now Buddhas in the Pure Land. We call them “Genso no Hotoke, Bosatsu”, “Returning Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to lead us to the truth of life”. At the same time we are going towards the Pure Land to become Buddhas through receiving our loved ones directions.

This year is the 13th year memorial for the victims of the Hanshin earthquake and my brother. I feel like it happened just yesterday. Time passes so quickly.

We sometimes say, “Long life is very good”. However, when we consider that to remain in this world means we have to say good-bye to our loved ones one after another, it might not be so simple. In Buddhism, the hardest suffering is parting from loved ones… We have to encounter and bear all sufferings until the end of our lives. However, we must overcome the sorrows and hardships, and continue to live our loved ones lives.

To attend the memorial services and remember our loved ones are great opportunities to think about our own life. When we realize our death is inevitable, we might recognize that our lives are so incidental, which are supported by countless other lives including our parents and ancestors.

When I remember the figures of the victims of the earthquake, and my brother who laid in the casket, I feel the mystery of my life, which is now able to be alive by countless lives supports, and is now led towards the Pure Land by Amida Buddha, my brother and countless returning Buddhas and Boddisattvas beyond the border of “Life and Death”.

Gassho, Masumi Kikuchi


MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT - Larry Ryan

I wish you all a happy belated New Year. The temple celebrated a very successful JoyaE on 31st December. We had quite a few new visitors to the temple, including people from Japan and Taiwan. The Lunar New Year is quickly approaching.

As you read this a number of our temple members as well as Sensei, will be preparing to attend the 60th Annual Northwest Buddhist Convention, hosted by White River Temple. This should give us a greater insight as to how Buddhism is practiced in the U.S.A.

Recently a great number of our members attended a funeral for a seven-month old boy. It was the most emotional event that myself and others had attended. The young parents were aware of the limited time they would have with their child and made the most of it. They were determined to live in the now and to include their son in as many activities as possible. It was obvious that this child’s brief existence had touched a great number of people. There was so much love and compassion in the temple. I think this experience helped most of us re-evaluate our lives and to consider what is really important. It also underlined the Buddhist concept of interdependence.

Steveston Buddhist Temple has donated $500.00 to Richmond Food Bank and $1,000.00 to the Garry Point Cherry Tree Planting Project.


BCC UPDATE JANUARY 2007 FROM THE OFFICE OF BISHOP

May this update find you in good health and spirit in the Compassionate Light of Amida Buddha despite the fact that severe mid winter seems to continue across Canada.

February is the month we commemorate Nirvana Day in our Jodo Shinshu tradition, which comes on February 15th when Shakyamuni Buddha closed his 80 years of human life. Nirvana means blowing out, tranquility, and also the demise of Shakyamuni Buddha.

According to the chapter called the last teachings of the Buddha, lying between two sala trees, he continued teaching his disciples until his last moment. Thus he entered into perfect tranquility after he had completed his work as the world’s greatest teacher. As one of the last teachings, he said to his disciples at Kusinagara, “Make yourself a light… do not depend upon other teaching.”

I couldn’t understand this passage for a long time, for it sounds contradiction. First he said “Rely on yourself… Rely on My Teaching”. However, I recently interpret this passage, “You can rely on yourself if you can become a Buddha in this life. Or you can rely on my teaching if you can’t attain enlightenment in this present life.” Shakyamuni Buddha showed two paths from the beginning; Path of the Sages and Path of the Ordinary. Of course, our tradition of Jodo Shinshu (Pure Land School) is one of the Mahayana movement and it is the Path of the Ordinary. Shinran Shonin discovered and showed us the essence of all Buddha-Dharma in the teaching of Namo Amida Butsu through his personal experience on Mt. Hiei. May you keep this in mind and observe Nirvana Day to thank Shakyamuni Buddha and Amida Buddha as well as Shinran Shonin.


FUJINKAI NEWS - Hiroko Yoshihara

Annual General Meeting, Sunday, Jan. 14th. 22 members and Kikuchi Sensei met for the annual review of events, 2007 tasks and presentation of the treasury report. The only “out of ordinary” event in 2006 was the catering for the book launch of “Fighting for Canada: Chinese and Japanese Canadians in military service” held at Richmond Public Library during Asian Heritage month of May 2006. The members of the three tobans will stay on to do the work required but one or two more volunteers for Toban 3 (Oct.-Jan. 2007) would be appreciated. Telephone contact names are: Miyuki Toyoda and Miyako Kobayashi for Toban 1 (Feb.-May); Jean Koyanagi for Toban 2 (June-Sept.); Michiyo Morishita for Toban 3 (Oct.-Jan 2007). They are ONLY TELEPHONE CONTACTS. We hope to have the ladies who are in the Floater group to be assigned to one of the Tobans (if they are willing) in order to be equitable and also to make it easier for each Toban to phone for extra help. Hopefully, members who are gainfully employed will be available on some weekends.

Dana Day, February 25th at 2 p.m. Although each Fujinkai member will be receiving the invitation with an envelope, this service to open to everyone. The designation of this day of Dana was determined at the 3rd World Buddhist Women’s Convention held in New York City in 1965. The donations received would be used to promote social welfare work. Since 1991 the funds raised in Canada have been forwarded to assist the Jodo Shinshu Clinic/Hospital in Kisii, Kenya.

Soft Goods Drive (used clothing, bedding, towels, and any fabric products). Any amount of soft goods will be collected the week of February 25th. Please phone Hiroko (604) 277-6521 if you have problems with this designated week. If you have any contributions, it may be convenient to bring it on Dana Day. We need a minimum of 75 bags to get payment of $2 per bag. It would be disheartening to get only 70 bags so please do your best. Your reward will be less clutter and an opportunity to buy new replacements!

MOCHITSUKI - Doug Masuhara

A big thank you to the following people for helping out with the mochitsuki : Michiyo Morishita, Tomiko Sakai, Mitsuka Sakai, Sasare Morizawa, Kayoko Nishi, Jean Koyanagi, Itoko Akune, Jeanne Ryan, Sally Masuhara, Nicole Masuhara, Genevieve Iwata, Hiroko Yoshihara, and Akiko Mukai. We hope everyone enjoyed all the wonderful mochi from the Bonenkai.

DHARMA SCHOOL - Genevieve Iwata

Dharma School will be donating $150.00 to the Variety Club Telethon on 10th & 11th February.

Dharma School News

We had first Dharma School Service on the 21st and there were 9 children that attended. They had a great time learning about O-Nenju and making their own to keep. Our next Dharma School Class will be held on February 11th, at 10:00am. We will learn about “COMPASSION” and will be baking “COOKIES” + making “CARDS” for parents. Please join us for our potluck lunch after the service. (Teacher; Alisa Sakamoto)

NENJU REPAIR WORKSHOP

February 11th Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
Material cost: Wrist Nenju $2, Male Nenju $5
(Require RSVP to the temple office 1 week before due to the preparation of materials)

We will have a Nenju Repair Workshop by Rev. Kikuchi. Please bring your own Nenju which needs a change of string. We can repair 2 types of Nenju, “Wrist (Udewa, elastic string) Nenju” or “Male Nenju”. (Unfortunately, we cannot repair Female Nenju on this occasion.)



“KEIROKAI” will be held at the temple on Sunday, March 18th, 2006 at noon. We would respectfully like to invite those who are 70 years old and over. So, please let us know if you know somebody who is going to turn 70 this year. We would ask that those attending to provide their full name as well as Mr. or Mrs.

** Please R.S.V.P. (604) 277-2323 (office) by March 9th (Friday)


CHOIR PRACTICE: Friday, February 9 & 23 and March 9 at 7:00 p.m. We will be performing at the Keirokai on Sunday, March 18th so please bring your CDs for recording new songs!



Please put on your “SHIKISHO” when you attend the service!

For lay members, the Shikisho is a simplified version of Kesa, which is worn over the minister’s robe. Modeled after minister’s wagesa, the overall size has been reduced and two ends tied together by a decorative cord. We have “the BCC Shikisho” with a beautiful maple leaves design. You can purchase it for $35 at the temple. Hongwanji and our temple encourage members to wear the Shikisho whenever participating in services or other Buddhist observances as a proper way of the Jodo Shinshu

2 types of small Butsudan (family altar) are available to purchase!

For all Buddhists, the Butsudan, or family altar, holds a deep spiritual meaning for each family member. The Butsudan and the practice of its maintenance serves as a mirror for each individual to see the true nature of self. For all Shin Buddhists, since the Buddha dharma is intended to enhance daily life, each family should have Butsudan and the family altar is always located centrally within the household, in a prominent place. Its obvious presence encourages practice to overcome ignorance and to listen diligently to the dharma. Now there are 2 types of new small Butsudan are available to purchase. The prices are $100 & $60. Please come and check the showcase in the temple!


February 2007 Newsletter (Nihon-go)

February 2007 Newsletter PDF

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