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

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

SEPTEMBER 2006
1 - 3 (Fri - Sun)
09 (Sat) 9-12noon
10 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.
11 (Mon) 7:30 p.m.
16 (Sat) 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
17 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.
23 (Sat) 10:30 a.m.
13th World Women's Buddhist Convention in Hawaii
Craft Fair Registration & Taiko Club Mini Garage Sale
Memorial Service (Shotsuki) and Eitaikyo
September Board Meeting
Public Taiko Drumming Workshop
Fall Ohigan Service
BCJSBCF Meeting (at Hope)

OCTOBER 2006
01 (Sun) 10:30 a.m.
02 (Mon) 7:30 p.m.
15 (Sun) 10:00 a.m.
22 (Sun) 12-2:00 p.m.
October Memorial Service (Shotsuki)
October Board Meeting
BCC Day
Fall Food Bazaar


“PEACE – A STORY OF JIVAM-JIVAKAS”

Sariputra, in that land there are always many kinds of wondrously rare and beautiful birds of various colors, such as white geese, peacocks, parrots, sarikas, kalavinkas, and jivam-jivakas. (“Amida Sutra”)


August 6th is a day of peace in Japan. On the morning of August 6th, 1945 the United States Army Air Forces dropped the nuclear weapon “Little Boy” on the city of Hiroshima, followed three days later by the detonation of the “Fat Man” bomb over Nagasaki, Japan. It is estimated that by December 1945, as many as 140,000 had died in Hiroshima by the bomb and its associated effects. In Nagasaki, roughly 74,000 people died of the bomb and its after effects with the death toll from two bombings around 214,000 people. In both cities, most of the casualties were civilians.


For this issue, I would like to share the question “What is the peace for all lives” from Amida Sutra. I think we hear the news about the disputes all over the world on TV and radio almost everyday, especially about the Middle East and know the area has been in conflict for a long time, among races and religions. When we see the news about the Middle East, we may think we live in a very peaceful country, yet even here there are a lot of murders and suicides. I recently heard that about 10% of all Canadians suffer from depression. What is peace? What is peaceful mind? And how can we create a peaceful world?

In the Amida Sutra, there is a story about a very strange bird, “Gumyo-shi-cho”, or in Sanskrit, “Jivam-Jivakas”. The bird is living in the Pure Land and has two heads with human faces and two minds sharing one body. It sings with such a beautiful voice, the likes of which nobody has ever heard before. It is said that a long time ago, there was one Jivam-Jivakas, with especially beautiful feathers and voice.

After a while, both of heads started thinking, “I know I’m No.1 in this world, but if I could just get rid of the other head then I could become truly No.1 all by myself!” They envied and hated each other day after day. One day, one head came up with an idea. He mixed poison in another’s food to poison him. Of course, he soon died. But since they shared the same body, the poison moved to other side and finally, both died.

After this tragic event, it is said that in the Pure Land, Jivam-Jivakas sings the following song: “The way to destroy others is the way to destroy myself. Respecting and supporting others is the only way to live in peace.”

We often think, “How can I become happier than others?” By only thinking of our own happiness, we often bring unhappiness to others. In this way, aren’t we just pushing unhappiness upon each other unconsciously? Though we may think this only applies to the global world, when we look closely, we can see this in our daily lives. The story of Jivam-Jivakas is not just stories for us to idly listen to, but we must listen to it realizing that it is telling us to reflect at our own selves. Perhaps our environment doesn’t make us act like the bird; however, we must be aware that we each hold a self-centered mind. Jivam-Jivakas shows us the state of “as we are” in daily life.

A most important aspect of living in our world is to feel the sorrow and pain of others like it was our own sorrow and pain, and to cry together in the vibration of all suffering that exists. When we lose tears, and we forget to cry, we create a cruel heart, feeling nothing, even when many people are experiencing ongoing suffering. The cruel heart leads us to isolation, feeling that the suffering of others is “not my business”.

In Buddhism, we often use the word “compassion”, in Japanese JI-HI. JI-HI is constructed by two different Chinese characters. JI is in Sanskrit, maitri which means friendship. And maitri means love of no distinctions and no expectation in return. JI also means mercy, compassion or perfect love. rting others is the only way to live in peace.”

How about HI? HI is in Sanskrit, karuna which means groan or sigh. The groan comes from the people who can feel others sorrow and pain like their own, but they cannot cure or change their condition. In such situations the people groan, “Uh…” because of the extreme painful feeling felt from the bottom of their body. This groan is karuna and ancient people, who translated the sutras, used HI as karuna, which means sadness. Karuna is just crying with tears with groan but no words. Maybe they think they cannot help others by just crying. But sometime such actions may support others through the sharing of sorrow and pain.

Maybe we are lacking such sense? We should open our minds to all beings and feel that the tragic slaughter is not someone else’s business, but is my business. Beyond the border of races, countries and religions we should cry with their suffering and sorrow. The tears naturally make us open toward the world of Oneness, Buddha’s world.

Amida Buddha and our loved ones are telling us very important message from the Pure Land through the story of the Amida Sutra. Through reciting Amida’s name, Namo-Amidabutsu and living in self-reflection, we can begin to live our lives in gratitude and true peace…

Gassho, Rev. Masumi Kikuchi


SPECIAL SERVICES IN SEPTEMBER

Eitaikyo (Perpetual Memorial Service) September 10th, 10:30 a.m.
The Perpetual Memorial Service or EITAIKYO, is a memorial service when we pay tribute to our predecessors, and when we can show our gratitude to all the deceased members of the temple who dedicated themselves to contributing to the growth of our temple’s sangha.

We are very fortunate to have Rev. Esho Sasaki as a guest speaker from Kyoto. Rev. Sasaki is a professor at the Kyoto Women’s University from which Rev. Kikuchi graduated. Rev. Sasaki is also the Executive Secretary of the International Association of Buddhist Culture (IABC), which was founded in Kyoto in 1980 to promote Shin Buddhism throughout the world. IABC publishes many English translations of Shin Buddhism material and hosts the Conference of Jodo Shinshu in Europe and North America. Rev. Sasaki is a Director of the Japanese Association of Indian and Buddhist Studies and a Director of the Nippon Buddhist Research Association. His subjects of studies are Indian Buddhism- Madyamaka thoughts and Pure Land Buddhism - T’an-luan’s thoughts.

Fall Ohigan, September 17th at 10:30 a.m.
“Higan” means “the other shore”. Conducted during the vernal and autumnal equinoxes when days and nights are of equal length, it is a service when practicers should reflect on the harmony of nature and devote themselves to the realization of this harmony in our inner lives.


President’s Message – Larry Ryan

As you read this we are finishing the lazy hazy days of summer. Barbeques are coming to an end as are trips to the beach, camping and road trips.

The exterior painting of the Hondo has been completed. This is the first time since it was built. Crews will continue doing touch up and cleaning around the temple. The washrooms and kitchen floors will receive a deep scrubbing to make them shine. The gardening crew has been working hard to make the Manse grounds more attractive. Increased security for the Manse is also being addressed. All the plants and bushes that were transplanted to the temple grounds have survived and in many cases flourished. Fuki has been planted along the south fence and we are now planning on planting daffodils and perhaps sakura or maples.

Our temple hosted another successful Ryukoku summer program under the direction of Mr. Ken Yokota and his teaching staff. The students this year were very active and eager to improve their English. I was quite impressed with their English and especially with their summation speeches.

Planning and preparation for the Fall Bazaar, BCJSBCF AGM and Etaikyo and Bonenkai are underway.

British Columbia temples are beginning to see a trend of funerals and memorial services being held at funeral homes. The children of our members seem to think that doing so is cheaper and easier. A quick study by the BC temples has shown that this is not the case. The temples have failed to make information readily available to their members as to how the services are organized, explanation of the rituals and how the details can be worked out by the sensei and the funeral committee. Jack Kawabata, Mak Ikuta and Kuni Ikuta are always available to answer your questions and address your needs.

In order to address these issues, Sensei is planning to hold a funeral workshop in September or October.

We have perhaps one of the most beautiful Oteras in North America. It seems a shame to deny a long time dedicated Jodo Shinshu Buddhist the final rite.

My mother died while I was at Hongwanji in 2004. I was fortunate in being able to have a traditional Buddhist wake for her in the chapel at the International Centre in Kyoto. It was very comforting to be surrounded by friends and Senseis chanting and listening to On White Ashes. Though I was thousands of miles away from home, I was at home with Buddha’s great compassion. Please let our friends and family receive the same kind of comfort.


BCC Update - September 2006 - Socho Orai Fujikawa

May this update find you in good health and spirit in the Boundless Compassion of Amida Buddha after busy and hot summer and also in gearing yourself in the preparation for the new season in September.

In our tradition the month of September reminds us of Higan Service which implies the shore of Nirvana/Pure Land in the west. Although we encounter big challenges in how to explain Nirvana/Pure Land to the questions from the general public; such as What is Nirvana? Where is the Pure Land? Why is it in the west?

Universal understanding is that the East is the direction of sunrise which is the beginning of life, growth, prosperity, while the West is the direction of sunset, the conclusion of life and the result of all the activities. The Pure Land is where everything returns and where Amida Buddha, our spiritual parent, welcomes all of us as we are. It is the realm of let-go and settlement. I recall one of my teachers in the spiritual journey told us young students that although he himself couldn’t believe the physical existence of the Pure Land, as he got older, the idea of the Pure Land gradually came into reality and got closer and closer to him.

When you close your eyes, I am sure you have several people in your mind whom you miss and desire to see and talk to again, such as your parents, grandparents, good friends.

In Jodo Shinshu (one of the Pure Land schools) you cannot see them physically anymore, but meet them whenever you cherish them and recite Namoamidabutsu, which is the link between Nirvana/Pure Land and yourself.

So the Nirvana/Pure Land is not far away, but maybe near you or you are within it. Namoamidabutsu


SEPTEMBER 'DESIGNATED MEMBERSHIP MONTH'

We are grateful to our ancestors for bringing Namu Amida Butsu to this wonderful country, Canada. To show our gratitude, we encourage all members to invite their family members, relatives and friends to the Otera to share our Buddhist traditions.

May your spiritual life be enriched through the Dharma talks, services and temple activities. Thank you for joining the Sangha.

Mitts Sakai, Membership Chairman


OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS'

  1. Deadline for the B.C.J.S.B.C.F. Raffle Tickets is Friday, October 13th
    Please return your sold ticket stubs and unsold tickets to the office by deadline. Thank you for taking your precious time to assist in this fund-raising. We sincerely appreciate your help and cooperation.
  2. Fall Food Bazaar on October 22nd from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m.
    Please note that it is CASH SALES only, first come first served. No presold tickets. Watch out for items available and prices in the October issue. - Kuni Ikuta, Fall Food Bazaar Committee Chairperson
  3. Volunteer Painters Needed
    Professional painters will be painting the Hondo’s high exterior trims and soffits but the lower windows and trims that need painting badly could be handled by our members. We are asking for 8 volunteers to spend 2 or 3 days to do the following work:. Helping hands are needed to sand, apply masking tape around the window glass and apply two coats of paint. Lunch will be provided by Otera. The work needs to be done before the wet season and your cooperation would be appreciated. If you are able to help in any way, please phone Kaz Tasaka (604) 277 8916 or Mitts Sakai (604) 273 7603.


TAIKO DRUMMING WORKSHOP

Steveston Tera Taiko will be holding a Public Taiko Drumming Workshop on Saturday, September 16th at the at at the Temple, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Open to adults and children (age 8 and above). Duration: 3 hours. Cost: $15. Family rates available for groups of 3 or more people.

If you are interested in trying taiko drumming, then this is your chance. Please tell your family members and friends to sign up asap. To register or ask questions, please contact Doug Masuhara at (604) 278-7264.


FUJINKAI NEWS - Hiroko Yoshihara

Sunday, September 24th, 2006 at 1:00 p.m., please put aside the time to attend our semi-annual meeting. Topics of discussion:

  1. British Columbia Buddhist Women’s League meeting in November as part of the annual British Columbia Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Churches Federation Convention. As Steveston is the current BCBWL headquarters, we need to go over the agenda in order to have a meaningful event.
  2. World Buddhist Women’s Convention resolutions. There are several resolutions which need to be reviewed and commitment made to follow.
  3. Finances of the Fujinkai.

Please come with your input. It is best to express your thoughts at the meeting and also be up to date directly with Fujinkai affairs.

Clothing, bedding, towels, etc. Drive. We are going to have another one but the approach will be different. If you have any items, please bag and save at your home. We will announce a time when the bags will be accepted at the otera. This will prevent the accumulation that we had last year in the storage area which created problems for the men. This way the bags will accumulate for a few days and pickup will be made. We made $200 with our first drive. Consider this project to be recycling earth’s resources! Thank you.

CHOIR PRACTICE

Please join our choir. Come out and have fun singing beautiful Buddhist and Japanese songs. Practices every 1st and 3rd (or 4th) Friday of the month at 7:00pm, meet in the Temple.

September 15th & 29th
October 13th & 27th

Our choir will perform at the BCJSBCF Convention’s banquet on November 11th.



September 2006 Newsletter (Nihon-go)

September 2006 Newsletter PDF

Newsletter Archives

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