THE LIGHT OF THE BUDDHA

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


Every Sunday
10:30 am - Dharma Service
11:30 am - Sangha Gathering
JUNE 2007
06 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.
14 (Mon) 7:30 p.m.
17 (Sun) 10:00 a.m.
24 (Sun) 9:00 a.m.
Memorial Service (Shotsuki)
SBT Board Meeting
Dharma School Theme : Appreciation, Activity: Making Sushi
Temple Clean up

JULY 2007
01 (Sun) 12:00 noon
07 (Sat)
08 (Sun)
09 (Mon) 7:30 p.m.
15 (Mon) 2:00 p.m.
OPEN House (Salmon Festival)
Fraser Valley Buddhist Temple Obon
Vancouver Buddhist Temple Obon Service and Bon Dance
SBT Board Meeting
Obon, Memorial Service (Shotsuki) and Bon Dance


DREAMING OF MY MOTHER AT THE TOKYO TOWER

Since I was a child, I often dreamt while sleeping and the dreams were always colourful and strange. When I woke up, I would sometimes confuse the dream and reality if those dreams seemed too real. If the dream is a very happy story, it’s OK. However, if the dream is very sad and real, I feel depressed for a while in my bed.

One early morning, I woke up and realized I had a very strange dream. In my dream, my mother was standing at the top of the Tokyo tower and was looking down at the ground. This dream was a reminder of the events surrounding my brother’s death twelve years ago…

I lost my 19 year old brother in a car accident. He was the youngest and only son among the 5 children in our family. He was supposed to take over my family temple. My brother had just entered Shin Buddhist studies at Ryukoku University and was going to be a minister in the future. Unfortunately, in a tragic automobile accident on October 2, 1995 his life was taken from him suddenly. Not only was his life taken, but the 2 passengers riding in the car with him also lost their lives. The three of them were returning from a day outing at Lake Biwako when the car swerved off the road and hit the center median killing all three instantly. The cause of the accident was careless driving by my brother. Perhaps he was overtired from the day outing and had fallen asleep at the wheel. Regardless of the reason, my family was devastated by the sudden loss. For my parents, it was not only the loss of my brother, but the great guilt they had to bear for the loss of the two passengers, something that none of my sisters nor I could imagine.

Of the two passengers, one was a boy from a temple family like my brother. The other friend was a girl from Tokyo. She had lost her mother at a very young age and was raised by her father. Before her mother had passed away, the girl remembered that her mother was always reading the “Tannisho”. It was this memory of her mother and the “Tannisho” which made her decide to study Shinran’s teachings at Ryukoku University in Kyoto. She left her father in Tokyo to further her studies and learn more about the teaching that moved her mother so deeply…

Unfortunately, the three young students’ dreams were dashed in an instant due to my brother’s carelessness. My parents were shocked and felt deep sorrow when the police called from Kyoto. They whispered with tears, “He was a very good boy and caused no trouble. But now he has caused such a terrible accident…” I’m sure they suffered unimaginable guilt thinking of the parents of the friends and their loss. After the accident, my parents wanted to attend the funeral services for the two friends. By unfortunate coincidence, the funerals were both on the same day. My father was to attend the funeral for the male friend at his family’s temple in the next city. And my mother went to Tokyo to attend the girl’s funeral. That evening, my mother didn’t come back until midnight. We worried about her, but finally she returned home looking exhausted and said, “Sorry about coming back so late… I did some sight seeing in Tokyo. I am tired. I have to go to bed…” She didn’t say much more and went to bed...

Throughout the whole ordeal surrounding the death of my brother, my mother tried not to show her sad feelings to us. She encouraged us to go on living despite our great loss. She never showed her deep sorrow and hardly ever cried in front of us. Everybody worried about my mother because my brother was the fifth child and was the son she had always been hoping for. For my parents, my brother was everything. But my mother didn’t want to create anxiety and stress to those around her.

None of us knew what really happened on that day when she went to Tokyo to attend the girl’s funeral. It was only several years later that I happened to read, by accident, an essay which was written about my mother’s events that day in Tokyo. The essay was taken from a radio interview with my mother. She had appeared on a Hongwanji sponsored radio show without telling any of my family. After reading the essay, I was very shocked and couldn’t stop crying.

According to the essay, my mother went to the funeral place in Tokyo, but the relatives of the girl asked her not to enter and requested she leave without seeing the girl’s father. Feeling completely helpless and full of guilt, my mother couldn’t come home directly. She said she got on a Hato-bus, a sight seeing bus of Tokyo, wearing her black mourning outfit. She went up the Tokyo tower and before she knew what she was doing, she was standing at the edge of the lookout platform contemplating jumping to her death.

At that moment, she felt great sympathy toward the girl’s father’s situation. He had lost his only daughter and the last surviving member of his family. He was now completely alone. In comparison, my mother still had a husband and four daughters. He had lost everything. She was full of guilt and felt responsible for my brother’s failure. She felt she had no right to live and had to atone for it by jumping off the tower.

However, at that moment she remembered her family’s faces that were awaiting her. She realized that through her suicide she could be released from her suffering, but it would cause deeper suffering to her family.

Now after many years… my mother teaches and shares Buddhist Songs, which she has loved since her youth, at Hongwanji and other places. Many people tell me, “How your mother is always cheerful and powerful! What is the source of her energy?” When people see such a cheerful mother, they can never imagine this figure standing on the lookout deck of the Tokyo tower.

There are two kinds of conversions or Eko in our Jodo-Shinshu teaching. One converts us from this Saha world, which is full of attachments, to the Pure Land to become a Buddha. This is “O-so Eko”. We go from this world to the Buddha’s realm by Amida’s power. The other conversion is from the Pure Land to the Saha world to save all sentient beings. This is known as “Gen-so Eko”. We return from the Pure Land to this Saha world as Buddhas. These two conversions are through Amida’s power.

What is this power, which has pushed my mother, my father, my sisters and I forward? Maybe my brother has returned to this Saha world to support us as a Buddha. This might be my brother’s Gen-so Eko. And sometime we, the rest of the family feel, “We should do the work of my brother!” This idea gives us the power, the will and the important reason to live. Shinran Shonin states about the Pure Land and Buddha in his major work, “Kyogyo Shinsho” as 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.” And Shinran Shonin describes further, when we end our life, “One observes all sentient beings in pain and affliction, and assuming various transformed bodies to guide them, enters the gardens of birth-and-death and the forests of blind passions. Sporting freely there with transcendent powers, one attains the state of teaching and guiding.”

We are all now receiving Amida Buddha’s, our ancestors’ and also our loved one’s Gen-so Eko, enabling us to overcome our sufferings.

I feel my brother is saying to me, “Life is so short! Now you know because I have appeared in front of you as just white ashes. Please listen seriously to “Reality of Life” from the Buddhist teaching because I couldn’t listen enough. I’m always with you and please don’t forget to recite the Nembutsu. Because I appear as the Nembutsu!”

Gassho, Masumi Kikuchi


MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT - Larry Ryan

This month I’d like to welcome Keiko Go to the Steveston Buddhist Temple, as temple secretary. She began learning the job on May 9th under the supervision of Chizuru Koizumi. She is completely bilingual and brings a great deal of experience to the job. Please give her a big welcome, but let her do her job without too many interruptions.

I’d like to thank Chizuru for all the hard work she did as temple secretary over the last four years.

We have quite a few temple activities planned for the summer. Steveston will again host the Ryuykoku Gakkuin summer school program, Obon, spring clean up and many others. Please help out however you can.

Kikuchi Sensei, will be hosting this year’s Vancouver Island Obon Tour in August. Kiyo Domai and I will be joining this tour. It would be wonderful to have more Steveston members attend this event. Please contact Sensei or myself for more information.

The recent BCC AGM held in Calgary discussed declining membership in Canada. Ideas were put forth to address this decline. Suggestions were made, such as modernization, open access to the greater community and a greater use of English. Kawamura Sensei perhaps made the most logical suggestion; “Live the Nembutsu”.

The example he gave was that of the Tibetan Buddhists, who started with one non English speaking monk. This individual obviously radiated Hikari. Each of us in the temple should do the same. Lead by example. We should live Buddhism rather than being theoretical Buddhists.

SPECIAL EVENTS COMMITTEES OF STEVESTON BUDDHIST TEMPLE

  1. Keirokai: Kiyo Domai, Hiroko Yoshihara
  2. Open Houses: Sensei, Joyce Ang, Reiko Domai, Alisa Sakamoto
  3. Spring Food Fair: Hiroko Yoshihara, Toban 1
  4. Obon: Larry Ryan (set up), Doc Tomihiro (sound), Herby Koyanagi
  5. Fall Bazaar: Kuni Ikuta, Toban 3
  6. Mochitsuki: Doug Masuhara, Kiyo Domai, Larry Ryan, Elmer Morishita
  7. Bonenkai: Kiyo Domai, Kuni Ikuta, Itoko Akune, Hiroko Yoshihara
  8. Election: Bob Hamaura, Miffy Ogawa, Sam Shinde
  9. 80th Anniversary Committee: Elmer Morishita, Itoko Akune, Larry Ryan, Kiyo Domai
  10. History Book: John Rennie, Mitts Sakai, June Ikuta, Alice Kokubo, Ron Araki
If you have any suggestions including constructive criticism to improve these events or wish to volunteer, please inform the committee members. Also the Rental Committee is open to volunteers to look after rental of the temple facilities including the opening and closing for the user groups. This would free up time for Larry Ryan and Jack Kawabata who work full time and have additional temple duties.

BRITISH COLUMBIA JODO SHINSHU BUDDHIST CHURCHES FEDERATION SCHOLARSHIPS

Post secondary students of any religious affiliation are eligible to apply for two scholarships offered by BCJSBCF in 2007. Complete information re: eligibility, criteria and deadline are available on the bulletin board in the temple lobby or by contacting a temple director.


FROM THE OFFICE OF BISHOP, JODO SHINSHU BUDDHIST TEMPLES OF CANADA

First of all, on behalf of all the ministers and delegates who gathered at our Annual General Meeting in Calgary April 26 to 29, I wish to express my appreciation to Rev.& Mrs. Kyojo Ikuta and the members of Calgary Buddhist Temple for hosting the events in very friendly atmosphere so that we were able to enjoy as well as achieve what was expected. And I also thank everyone for their cooperation and support.

As a result, we have four boards in our organization which has adopted a new name from BCC to Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada; Ministerial Association, Women’s Federation, Living Dharma Center as well as the Central Board.

Recently we have lost some of the temple leaders such as Mr. John Shikatani of Montreal, Mrs. Tomi Suenaga of Hamilton, and Mrs. Hideko Kounosu of Lethbridge. Wishing to extend my sympathies not only to their families and relatives, but also their respective communities where they served for many years.

Here is my Dharma Message for the Month of June.

I turned 65 years old last October. Before getting there, I had looked forward to become a senior citizen, for there seem to be more discounts and benefits such as golf green fee, bowling, movies, public transportation and so on. However, once getting there, I seem to spend more time going to see the doctors and dentists. I guess the life is always like this. Some people say that they would come to listen to Buddha-Dharma when they have more free time. But once they are retired, they say they are too busy to come to the temple. Rennyo Shonin, the eighth Monshu of Hongwanji used to tell his followers that you must make effort to make time to come and listen to Buddha-Dharma. You will have no chance to listen if you are waiting for free time to do so.


FUJINKAI NEWS - Hiroko Yoshihara

The ladies of Toban 1 have been busy preparing for our Food Fair on May 27th. In order to simplify, food tickets were not presold and all items will be sold “cash only”. We hope this does not inconvenience anyone. Toban 2 will be taking over Fujinkai tasks for the months of June, July, August and September. Kazuko Yamashita and Jean Koyanagi are the telephone contacts.

Annual Spring bus trip is planned for Tuesday, June 19th. We will visit Crescent Beach and will have lunch in White Rock followed by a visit to the Cloverdale Casino. A stop at the historic Stewart Farm is a possibility. The 37 seater bus will pick up everyone at the otera at 9 a.m. with return scheduled for 4 p.m. Spouses of members are welcome to come. Please notify Misaye Hamaura at (604) 590-6187 to reserve a seat and also if you would like to eat a restaurant lunch as reservation is essential. DEADLINE: Friday, June 8th.

Used Stamps. The Save the Children representative in Richmond reported to BCCWF that approximately $85.00 was raised from the stamps collected by the Fujinkai chapters in British Columbia and Alberta. This amount would purchase 10 mosquito nets (prevention of malaria).

Jodo Shinshu Hospital in Kenya. A member of the Calgary Buddhist Church, Rocky Oishi, reported at the BCCWF AGM on his recent March visit to this centre. As an engineer, he was involved in a water improvement project in Kenya and made time to visit Mr. and Mrs. Kemunto Osaka. He felt that this was a worthy cause to support. BCCWF members appreciated his presentation of photos of the Kenyan Buddhists in their activities and in their environment as this was the first direct contact that we have had.

BCCWF AGM REPORT - Misaye Hamaura

Miyako Kobayashi, Miyuki Toyoda, Jeanne Ryan, Hiroko Yoshihara and Misaye Hamaura enjoyed attending the BCCWF AGM in sunny Calgary on April 27-29. Friday night was an evening to share ideas and experiences from all temples across Canada, while the Saturday meeting and Sunday workshop were very informative and educational. Our Observers noticed that by joining forces with the other Fujinkai Chapters, we can make a difference, such as in the Jodo Shinshu movement in Kenya. In 2008, the AGM will be held in Vancouver. Perhaps more of our ladies can attend to share ideas and issues concerning all of us. Thank you Fujinkai, for allowing us to attend.

DHARMA SCHOOL TEACHER’S REPORT - Alisa Sakamoto

On Sunday, May 13th we celebrated Mother's Day at the Temple. We all enjoyed a pancake breakfast prepared by the men. Thank you to all those who helped cook the delicious meal for us!

This month's theme was "gratefulness" and the children had the opportunity to paint clay pots to give to their Mothers. Plants and flowers were given out as door prizes and they fit perfectly in the colourful pots. The Dharma school children also learned how to fold beautiful origami flowers. It was quite a complicated craft and for many, this was their first time doing origami but they did a great job!

Next month is Father's Day and we will be learning how to make Sushi. Alisa & Reiko look forward to seeing you all! Please come join in on the fun!

DHARMA SCHOOL TEACHERS’ CONFERENCE REPORT - Reiko Domai

From April 26-29 the Northern California Dharma School Teachers’ League hosted the 56th Annual Conference of the Federation of the Dharma School Teachers at the Doubletree Hotel in Sacramento. Due to the generous funding from the BCJSBCF, Alisa Sakamoto, Genevieve Iwata and I were able to attend this event. Not only were we able to escape the rainy Vancouver weather, but we were able to meet many Dharma School teachers from across the United States and spend time with friends whom we had met at other conferences.

We were also able to take part in a fabulous workshop where we practiced different forms of meditation, participated in self-awareness activities, and collaborated with other Dharma School teachers. The facilitators for each workshop created a very friendly and open environment. The theme for the workshop was loosely based around the keynote speaker’s speech. Dr. Satsuki Ina, the keynote speaker, talked about self-awareness and personal character building. She gave a great analogy between our limitations and a palace. She talked about how, over the years, we continue to shut more and more doors as we are told that we “can’t” or “shouldn’t” do something. We unconsciously limit ourselves, until we are restricted to a single room in the palace. It is in this room that we feel safe and secure, not willing to venture into the other closed-off rooms that once remained open. One of the purposes of the workshop was to open a few doors and venture into those places where we feel somewhat afraid.

We thoroughly enjoyed this conference. It’s always fun to meet other Jodo Shin Buddhists from around North America! Thank you to the BCJSBCF and the NCDSL.

DAY TRIP TO SKAGIT CASINO organized by Senior Club

To all Senior Members of the Temple, we are organizing a day trip to SKAGIT CASINO in Washington, U.S.A. on June 12 (Tuesday). We will be renting a 48 passengers seater bus. Please bring along your family and friends and have a wonderful time!

Date : June 12, 2007 (Tuesday)
Time : Gather at the Temple by 9:00am, bus leaving at 9:30am and returning Temple at 5:30pm (approx.)
Bus fare: C$17 including $1 tip each for a bus driver.
Insurance: Not included
Booking : Contact T. Murao (604)277-2362, H. Sakai (604)277-9140 or T. Miyazaki (604)277-4672 Please feel free to call above numbers for more information.

CHOIR PRACTICE: Friday, June 1st & 22nd at 7:00 p.m.


THINK ABOUT “FUNERAL SERVICE”
June 14 Thursday 10:00 a.m. (Japanese & English)

As time is changing, it seems the forms of the funeral services are also changing. To encourage families to hold the funeral or memorial services at our temple, now is the time to think and discuss about these issues…

We will discuss the following issues:

  • How we can provide comfort to the family members, who have lost a family member and maybe facing difficult times.

  • Do we need a regular “Funeral Toban”, to set up tables and chairs and to clean up after service?
We need to think and reassess the funeral services in the past and present and what would be appropriate in the future. Rev. Kikuchi seeks your input to address our most important ritual, the “Funeral Service”. The meeting and discussion will be informal and bilingual (Japanese & English). The funeral committee is looking forward to seeing many of you to discuss these very important issues regarding the “Funeral Service”.



日本語 (Japanese)

June 2007 Newsletter (Nihon-go)

June 2007 Newsletter PDF

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