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

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

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

JUNE 2006
03 (Sat) 9:00 a.m.
04 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.
10 (Sat) 9:00 a.m.
12 (Mon) 7:30 p.m.
25 (Sun) 9:00 a.m.

Garage Sale
June Memorial Service (Shotsuki)
Dharma Workshop lecture by Rev. Miyakawa
June Board Meeting
Temple Clean Up

JULY 2006
02 (Sun) 2:00 p.m.
10 (Mon) 7:30 p.m.
23 (Sun) 11:00 a.m.

Obon, Obon Dance & July Memorial Service (Shotsuki)
July Board Meeting
Temple Picnic


On June 10th, we will be hosting a Dharma Workshop from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Rev. Miyakawa from the Okanagan temples will be the guest lecturer.  He will give three consecutive lectures on the History of Indian, Chinese and Japanese Buddhism with a focus on Pure Land Buddhism.  We will be ordering in an obento lunch at a no-host cost of $10.00.  People will need to pre-register because the obento will be ordered several days ahead.  This will be a very interesting workshop.  Please let Chizuru or Genevieve know if you will be attending.

Pot Luck on Saturday, July 1st at 6 p.m. at the temple, to welcome Akio Miyaji Sensei of BCA, Orange County Buddhist Church.  Everyone is welcome.  Please come and join us that evening.

SPECIAL SERVICES IN JULY

Obon (Kangi-e, Ullambana-gathering) July 2nd, 2:00 p.m.

The Origins of Obon can be traced to the Ullambana Sutra, which relates the story of Mahamaudgalyayana (Mogallana in Pali), the most gifted of Sakyamuni Buddha’s disciples in the area of extraordinary sense perceptions. The story teaches the importance of hearing the Buddha’s teaching and observing the precepts. In realizing the compassion of the Buddha, Mahamaudgalyayana was so overjoyed that he clapped his hands and danced about. This is said to have been the beginning of the Bon Odori (traditional Japanese dances on Obon Day).

Obon, therefore, being an occasion for rejoicing in the awakening offered by the Buddha, is an opportunity to express gratitude not only to ancestors, but to all who have passed on. Therefore, it is often referred to as Kangi-e, “Gathering of Joy.”



BUDDHISM AND CHRISTIANITY

There are many ways to compare between these two religions. Since space is quite limited, and I will touch upon just some of them based on the book, titled “Ocean” written by Dr. Kenneth Tanaka. This book is very good as an Introduction to Jodo-Shinshu Buddhism in America, which has a strong Christian mind-set in the society. This book has many questions from a Christian point and the answers from Dr. Tanaka… I will introduce some of them.

Q - Buddhas and God are different?
A - Yes. Buddha might be human, while God in the Western religions is not human.

Q - Does that mean humans can become a Buddha?
A - Yes. Shakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born as a prince of a kingdom in the Himalayan foothills of Northeastern India around 560 B.C.E. (or B.C.) He realized enlightenment, became a Buddha, at the age of thirty-five. After that, he ministered and taught through Northeastern India for the next forty-five years. He remained actively engaged until his death around 480 B.C.E. So he actually lived on earth. He is neither a deity nor God.

I think the biggest difference between Buddha and God is we cannot become God, but we can become Buddha. Particularly, our Jodo Shinshu, we emphasize more we return Pure Land, Oneness of Life, when we end this life.

Q - Do Buddhists believe in God?
A - Before I can answer that question, I must ask, what is meant by “God”? People have many ideas about who or what God is. Until I understand this, it is hard for me to answer. If God is defined primarily as cosmic compassion and wisdom, then some Buddhists (particularly Mahayana Buddhists) may be inclined to say they believe in “God”. But that will be a personal decision of a modern Buddhist. As for me, I would exercise a great deal of caution, making such that “God” is clearly defined and acceptable to me as a Buddhist. On the other hand, if God is a supreme personal being who created the universe, live in heaven, watches over me, and knows my thoughts and actions, then Buddhists clearly do not believe in God.

Q - Do you pray?
A - Yes, but not to the same extent or in the same manner as in Western traditions. This is partly because we emphasize reflection more than prayer. The other reason, of course, lies in the absence of a supreme divine being to whom one can pray. I understand there are many kinds of prayer in Christianity, including thanksgiving, blessing, intercession, and invocation. In the Buddhist tradition, too, gratitude (similar to Christian “thanksgiving”) prays a vital role in the thoughts and actions of Buddhists. This is especially true among the Jodo-Shinshu Buddhists for whom gratitude constitutes the primary motivation for much more of their religious and worldly actions. Similarly, Buddhists seek blessings for the happiness of all beings. “May all beings be happy” is the constant refrain in the Loving Kindness Sutra that is most frequently chanted as a blessing by Buddhists if Southeast Asian background. Also, the Buddhists do “intercede” on behalf of others when they hear about misfortunes of others, such as an illness. Particularly the Buddhists of Southeast Asian background mindfully direct their thoughts to others, “May they get well; may they be happy”. But our concern for them should not simply stop here. To pray is easy, but a true test of our concern for others lies in our deeds, such as visiting them at the hospital or assisting the family with the chores during trying time.

So Dr. Tanaka answers… Actually, “pray”, in Japanese “Inoru” is very serious issue to Jodo Shinshu and we still discuss about this issue. Dr. Tanaka seems quite positive toward “pray”. But many scholars disagree with that. So far, officially Jodo Shinshu says “No”. We are still discussing about this top scholar’s level in our Buddhism because Shinran never use the term, pray and he prohibits doing so.

Q - Do you celebrate Christmas?
A - Most American Buddhists celebrate Christmas as a national holiday that promotes charity and goodwill. While we do not put up nativities (display of the birth of Jesus), most put up Christmas trees and exchange gifts, especially when children are involved. As explained earlier, the openness of Buddhism encourages us to look beyond form to see the spirit behind rituals. The spirit of sharing, giving, and appreciation is deeply cherished in Buddhism.

If I have opportunity, I would like to introduce his book again…

In Gassho,
Masumi Kikuchi


BCC UPDATE MAY 2006 - Socho Orai Fujikawa

April is the month of Hanamatsuri, or Buddha Day, for all the Buddhists to commemorate the birth of Shakyamuni Buddha.

May I express my sincere appreciation to the fellow BCC ministers, Board of Directors, and delegates from the temples and churches across Canada for your enthusiastic participation and deliberation at our Annual General Meeting in Toronto on April 27-30.

Everyone who was there will agree with me when I say that the hosting chapter provided excellent preparation and hospitality during the weekend in the new facility. Thank you very much Toronto.

As I mentioned in the greeting of AGM, this 2006 marks our 101st Anniversary and we must start our fresh mission as we are facing many challenges such as aging, decline of membership and shortage of leadership.

Particularly I was happy to be at the town meeting which was held on Sunday afternoon on the future of Jodo Shinshu in Canada. There were many positive opinions expressed by the delegates which will be later reported and considered.

Finally I am happy to report that BCC Living Dharma Centre, our Centennial Project, has stepped forward with Dr. Rev. Leslie Kawamura joining as an interim director during the weekend.


MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT - Larry Ryan

Members of the BCJSBCF temples attended the 18th annual Manning Park retreat that was hosted this year by the Kelowna Temple. 79 members and friends attended from the various BC temples. The weather was warm with occasional rain. The rain did nothing to dampen spirits or activities. This smaller number of attendees kept the gathering informal and enjoyable, allowing us to socialize and get know each other better. There were quite a number of activities for the children and adults alike. Next year’s event will be hosted by Vancouver with the twentieth retreat being hosted by Steveston.

Sensei’s office has recently been redecorated with a view to making it more comfortable, efficient and inviting.

The temple gardening crew continues to redevelop the area along the parking lot fence. We have received a number of plants from members and non-members alike. You will see rhododendrons, fuschias, thyme, rosemary and other colourful plants. In the future we would like plant cherry trees along that whole lane area. This would serve to balance the lovely gardens we have now.

Our temple will be hosting a Dharma workshop on June 10th. This event will be open to the general public so that they too can learn about the Dharma as well as our Jodo Shin Shu tradition. I would encourage as many members to attend as Miyakawa Sensei from the interior will be giving a number of talks on Buddhist history and its influence on our tradition. Obento will be available at $10.00 each.

By the time you read this Steveston Temple will have completed its annual Spring Food fair and first ever Open House. We are hoping to make our temple and Jodo Shin Shu tradition open to the general public. I believe we as Buddhists, have something positive to offer the general public. Each of us must learn more about our faith so that we can explain it to those who are interested. We have a wonderful resource in Kikuchi Sensei and our members.


FUJINKAI NEWS - Hiroko Yoshihara

BCCWF AGM. Representing Steveston Fujinkai, Misaye Hamaura and Hiroko Yoshihara attended the meetings in Toronto. The Toronto Buddhist Church is new with clean and simple lines…a lot of light with a high skylight over the Hondo and an unusual feature of narrow windows running at ground level. We wished that more Steveston members could have attended as the talks were informative and discussion was stimulating. Toronto has now taken over as the new headquarters for BCCWF. 2007 AGM will be held in Calgary. Thank you for giving the two of us the opportunity to attend. More will be reported in the next newsletter.

Book Launch of “Fighting for Canada” (Japanese Canadian and Chinese Canadian soldiers in the World Wars) was catered by our Fujinkai ladies. Toban 1 prepared sushi and manju for the reception. Jean Koyanagi, Chieko Tasaka and Jean Yetman were there to set up and serve the refreshments. Thank you to all of you.

Food Fair will be a memory when this newsletter is received by most of you. Your support is appreciated.

Garage Sale at the Temple is Saturday, June 3 from 9 am to 1 p.m. We are hoping that we will empty some space with the sale of many items. Please join us. Come for coffee and a visit!

LIBRARY NEWS

The spine label on each book serve as a way of locating on the book shelves. The numbers are developed using the Dewey Decimal classification system. The books are then arranged in numerical order.

The following titles are donations and have recently been added to our collection:

Buddha-Dharma: the way to enlightenment. Brian Nagata Sensei, our guest minister for Hanamatsuri service, works for the Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, which compiled this text. Spine label: 294.382 BUD

The Dhammapada with introductory essays, Pali text, English translation and notes. Spine label: 294.382 DHA

The Dhammapada translated with notes. Spine label : 294.382 DHA

Encountering the Buddha : 108 teachings of Buddha / Buddha to no Deai by Toshihide Numata. In English and Japanese. Spine title: 294.363 NUM

The heart of the Buddha-Dharma: following the Jodo Shinshu path. Written by Kenryu Tsuji. Spine label: 294.3926 TSU

Jodo Shinshu : a guide. Hongwangi International Centre. Spine label: 294.3926 JOD

A life of awakening: the heart of the Shin Buddhist path. Written by T. Shigaraki. Spine label: 294.3926 SHI


STEVESTON BUDDHIST TEMPLE CHOIR

Please join our choir. Come out and have fun in singing beautiful Buddhist and Japanese songs. Please contact Rev.Kikuchi for the practice. (office 604-277-2323)


DHARMA SCHOOL REPORT – Genevieve Iwata

Obon dance practices have started and are held on Monday and Fridays at 7:00 p.m. Our Obon will be held on July 2nd and our guest minister will be Rev. Miyaji from Orange County.


Flowers for the Nokotsudo Memorial Garden welcome.


June 2006 Newsletter (Nihon-go)

MS Word Version: June 2006 Newsletter

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