THE LIGHT OF THE BUDDHA
Steveston Buddhist Temple
10:30 am - Dharma Service
11:30 am - Sangha Gathering
06 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.|
13 (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
06 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.|
14 (Mon) 7:30 p.m.
27 (Sun) 10:00 a.m.
28 (Mon) 9:00 a.m.
Memorial Service (Shotsuki)
SBT Board Meeting
Dharma School Theme : Appreciation, Activity: Making Sushi
Temple Clean up
In Japan, one of the highlights of Year’s end is said watching “Kohaku Uta Gassen (紅白歌合戦)”, more commonly known as simply "Kohaku". This is an annual music show broadcast on television on New Year's Eve produced by Japanese public broadcaster NHK. Literally "Red and White Song Battle," the program divides the most popular music artists of the year into competing teams of red and white. The "red" team or akagumi (赤組) is composed of all female artists, while the "white" team or shirogumi (白組) is all male. Off couse, I am always on Akagumi red team’s side!
When I watched last year’s Kohaku, I saw very remarkable performance by a male opera singer. The title of the song was “A Thousand of Winds – Sen no Kaze ni natte”. Actually, this song was originally a poem that came about 5 years ago from the U.S. to Japan and recently became very popular. I would like to share with you the original English poem…
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die…
I will quote an explanation about this poem from a website; This poem is commonly called “Do not stand at my grave and weep” and is a popular poem, largely considered to be written by Mary Elizabeth Frye (1904-2004), but of disputed origin. There are other various versions but, with the majority of the work being made up of a selection of images preceded by "I am...", the sense is largely the same. The poem addresses the reader or audience with the voice of a deceased person... According to the most generally accepted theory, that of Frye's writing the poem, it was originally addressed to a German Jewish girl, a friend of the author. The girl's mother had died back in her homeland, but returning to pay her respects was not possible and Frye wrote the poem as part of her condolences.
When I heard this Japanese translated song, “Sen No Kaze Ni Natte”, I was very moved and cried. And at the same time, I suddenly recognized that it truly describes the Pure Land and the many forms by which Buddhas work on us. Our founder, Shinran Shonin states explains the Pure land and Buddha in his major work, “Kyo-gyo-shin-sho” the following.
Concerning the fifth gate of [the virtue of] emergence: with great compassion, 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. This is brought about by the directing of virtue through the power of the Primal Vow; it is called the fifth gate of emergence.
When we end our life, it is said that “we observe all sentient beings in pain and affliction, and assuming various transformed bodies to guide them, enter the gardens of birth-and-death and the forests of blind passions. Sporting freely there with transcendent powers, we attain the state of teaching and guiding.”
This is a state of Buddha. My teacher always told me, “Some people ask me ‘Where is the Pure Land? Does it truly exist?’ I always answer, ‘Yes. It exists. There is only one thing which truly exists, its “the Pure Land”. Not this world which is created by our heads through our self-centered views and thoughts. The Pure Land is everywhere except in our mind which is filled with blind passions…”
One of the Myokonin, famous Nembutsu Follower, Shoma left his words in the following story…
When he became a very popular true Nembutsu Follower, many people visited to see and learn from him the true attitude of a Shin Buddhist. His friends in his village were so honored that one day they asked Shoma, “When you die, we would like to build a big grave to honor your dedication to our village!” But Shoma said, "Thank you for your kindness, but please don’t do it. After my death I won’t be under the grave. (I will be very busy working as a Buddha!)”
Our loved ones have completed their life’s journey in this world. However, like leaves returning to the earth for the next life, they go to the place where they came from to begin a new chapter of their lives. We call this place the Pure Land, our true home. They now return to this world as Buddhas. They are always telling us many teachings through their memories. They are telling us the truth of life, “Interdependency”… “No one can exist without other lives”. We are constantly receiving the teachings from our loved one’s but at the same time we must always ask ourselves what is the purpose of our life here on Earth. …Around us, our loved ones who are Buddhas, tell us in many forms, aspects and ways that we exist as a part of a greater whole, “Oneness of Life”.
Representatives from our temple will have just returned from the annual BCC AGM held in Calgary. This was a great opportunity to share information with other temples and to renew friendships.
The men will be preparing breakfast for the Mother’s Day service. The breakfast will consist of scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, orange juice and coffee and will be served in the gym at 9:30 a.m... We encourage the ladies to attend this event on May 13th. We promise not to poison you with our cooking.
Four of us recently attended Dr. Leslie Kawamura’s lecture at Seattle Betsuin. This was a very interesting seminar titled “An Introduction to Buddhism”. This was a power point presentation with questions and answers held in the Hondo. It was a good opportunity for us to reconnect with Seattle members. I would encourage our members to attend some of these lectures. It gives us a better understanding of our tradition in relation to general Buddhism.
The gardening committee has begun a general cleanup around the temple grounds as well as the minister’s residence. Committee members will be expanding the plantings. Should anyone wish to donate plants, please contact me, Kiyo Domai or Bud Sakamoto know. Any members needing sand for their gardens, please help yourself to the sand pile in the rear parking area.
We continue to have visitors attend our Sunday services. Please extend them a warm Steveston welcome when you meet them.
2007 GENERAL COMMITTEES FOR STEVESTON BUDDHIST TEMPLE
Specific events committees will be listed in the next newsletter.
HISTORY BOOK COMMITTEE - John Rennie
The temple has formed a history book committee whose aim is to document the history of our temple in a book format to be published in December 2008. The committee will meet once a month at the temple after the Shotsuki Service. It will greatly appreciate being able to scan any pictures, letters or other documents pertaining to the temple which our members or the general public might have in their possession. Documents pertaining to the pre-war period is especially requested. Please bring or send your documents to the temple: Attention: History Book Committee.
Probably because of global warming, I heard all kinds of irregular forecasts of spring weather. However, I am sure that we will soon welcome the sudden burst of summer. I hope you enjoy good health and spirit in the light of compassion of Amida Buddha.
After commemorating the birth of Shakyamuni Buddha in April, we have another happy occasion to observe the birth of Shinran Shonin (May 21) called Gotanye or Fuji Matsuri (Wisteria Festival), as wisteria flower is used as Ohtani family crest.
I believe the most outstanding contribution of Shinran Shonin in the Mahayana Buddhism is the interpretation of Shinjin experience. Before his time the shinjin was something that you would raise in your mind before reciting the name of Amida Buddha, but he pioneered in saying that shinjin is directed and given to you by the wisdom and compassion of Amida Buddha.
Take bowing for example. You bow your head before the shrine of the Buddha. The question is whether you bow your head because everyone does or you are moved to bow your head by the awesome working of Compassion.
The difficulty of Jodo Shinshu, however, is the fact that you must listen to the cause and condition of the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha until your head bows down.
Further there are three mottos when it comes to listening. 1) When you listen, you consider this is the first time you listen in your life. 2) When you listen, you consider this may be the last time in your life. 3) This Buddha Dharma is only for you, not anyone else. Continue to have a good listening as a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist.
2007 BCCWF AGM. Misaye Hamaura, Miyako Kobayashi, Jeanne Ryan, Miyuki Toyoda and Hiroko Yoshihara will be representing our Fujinkai at the AGM in Calgary on April 27-29. As this year’s meeting is held relatively close by, more members can participate and learn more about our national women’s organization. Please continue to save used stamps for BCCWF to assist Save the Children organization in helping undeveloped countries.
Hanamatsuri. After many years of boxed lunches, the ladies prepared a simple buffet for the noon meal. The Toban found this to be easier so this may be the plan to follow for other special services meals. Also having a meal together provides an opportunity for members and friends to visit in a leisurely manner.
Annual visitations. Toban 1 will be visiting residents of Japanese descent who live in the various nursing and retirement homes in Richmond. Please let the ladies know whether anyone was missed.
At this year’s Hanamatsuri service the Dharma School children entertained us. Each child drew a picture of a phase in Siddartha’s life, and then told the audience about their picture. As those of you who attended already know, we have some very artistic and entertaining children in our Dharma School! I was impressed with how hard the children worked. Alisa and I made them practice about five times the day of their performance. It seems to have paid off – the kids did a great job! I don’t think they fully realize how much everyone appreciated their performance. We haven’t had a Dharma School presentation for quite a while. It was very refreshing to see so many young faces! I would like to thank all the children who participated as well as the audience for showing their support. The next Dharma School class will be on May 13th, 10:00am. We will learn about gratefulness and make origami & pencil holders.
Everyone is invited for Pancake breakfast at 9:30 a.m. Men will be preparing pancakes, sausages and scrambled eggs along with fruit juice and coffee. This will be their third year of cooking so expect perfection. After breakfast Gotan-e service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Door prizes courtesy of Dharma Service group will be given out so please come for a wonderful morning.
BOOKS AVAILABLE FOR SALE
URGENT ! - The Steveston Buddhist Temple is looking for a Temple Secretary
Preferred bilingual Japanese/English with written Japanese, familiar with MS Word & Excel. Monday to Friday, with flexible hours, Full Time Position
Please submit resume to : Larry Ryan, Temple President, Steveston Buddhist Temple