JSBTC Newsletter: Nenju News

Here is the JSBTC Newsletter, Nenju News.

2020 New Year’s Greeting from Office of the Bishop

On behalf of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada, I wish to thank all of you for your support and understanding throughout the year 2019.

While quietly reflecting on 2019, how quickly a year passes.  At such times, I wonder what causes us to lose sight of what is truly of value.  “What is the big picture of life that Buddhism tries to encourage us to keep in mind, as we live?”  When we lose sight of the big picture, without thinking, we just feel we know what we value, and we know what is right. But the essential point of Buddhism is very simple: What we must value most in life… is life itself. We must value this opportunity to live and appreciate this experience that we share together.

My studies for academic advancement through Nishi Hongwanji were successfully completed in June, 2019.   Earlier in the month of April, I started a program to learn Japanese tea  ceremony, “Sado” or “Chado”.   While I was learning how to make and serve green tea, I also learned about the philosophy of the tea ceremony.  There is a Buddhist saying that is closely associated with the Tea Master, Sen No Rikyu (1522-1591).  The phrase is, “Ichigo-Ichie.”  Literally, it means, “One Moment-One Meeting.”  Within the tea ceremony, it implies that our coming together in this moment happens but once in our lifetime; let us appreciate this time together.

Ultimately, in the big picture of things, it is certainly not about winning or losing a hockey game.  It is not about getting what we want or having our way.  Ultimately and most essentially, it is about valuing life and this time we have together. When our Dharma eyes are open, we cannot help but see that we must not take for granted this very moment of life we are living.  As I have often asked, “How many months of Decembers will be ours to enjoy?”  However many, that number is limited.  Realizing this, let us try to live together and work together harmoniously in the spirit of “Ichigo-Ichie.”  Let us live knowing that each day is new and fresh and at the same time, each moment may be our last.  With our Dharma eyes open, let us try to enjoy this winter holiday season, letting go of our complaints, our anger, and resentments and embrace each moment and each meeting with others, knowing that they will never come again.  In Jodo Shinshu, we would call a life of Ichigo-Ichie, “A life of Nembutsu.”

Thank you for your kindness and support throughout the last year.  We look forward to another wonderful year together.   I would like to wish everyone a very happy and healthy Holiday Season!

In gassho,

Tatsuya Aoki

Bishop, Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada

New Year’s Greeting from the Gomonshu

Happy New Year, everyone! At the beginning of this New Year, I would like to extend my best regards to you all.

Last year again, following the year before, Japan, as well as many other countries in the world, was struck with multiple natural disasters. I would like to convey my deepest condolences to those who lost their lives through those disasters and express my sympathy to everyone affected. In addition, we must never forget that armed conflicts and terror attacks as well as severe starvation is making it difficult to live, and lives are being lost every day.

Last September I had an opportunity to make an official visit to the temples of the Buddhist Churches of America as Monshu for the first time. This allowed me to complete the first round of visitations to all of the overseas districts which include Canada, Hawaii, South America, and the US mainland.

Although every temple and district has its own history and background, many of the overseas Jodo Shinshu temples were established and have been cherished by the Japanese immigrants and their descendants. Reflecting on how sincerely our predecessors entrusted themselves to the Buddha Dharma and how importantly they thought of their temples while facing many difficulties such as World War II, I cannot help but feel grateful and even awe for their tremendous efforts as well as many other wondrous circumstances that have allowed the Jodo Shinshu teaching to be handed down to us today.

However, a considerable amount of time has passed since the Japanese emigrated overseas, and the lifestyle of their descendants, as well as the world situation have changed greatly. In accordance with these changes, quite a few people who are not of ethnically Japanese origin have also come to appreciate the teaching clarified by Shinran Shonin, and attend our overseas temples.

What caused this is nothing but the universality of the Jodo Shinshu teaching that transcends time and space. In other words, Amida Buddha’s compassion equally reaches and nondiscriminatively embraces everyone in the midst of all sorts of pain and agony.

In this year, let us continue to listen to the Dharma, considering it is directed to each one of us, and keep moving forward to share it with as many other people as possible.

 

January 1, 2020

OHTANI Kojun

Monshu

Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha

President of JSBTC’s Message re JSBTC Day 2019

Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada (JSBTC) Day 2019

JSBTC or Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada Day is a special
memorial service which is traditionally held by local temples across Canada
in the months of October or November to observe, remember and honour
our pioneers of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism and all who were followers in
Canada. Our first Jodo Shinshu minister arrived from Nishi Hongwanji (our
mother temple in Kyoto, Japan) to Vancouver on October 12, 1905 and
thus the month of October is important in Canada to mark our historical
beginnings.

JSBTC Day allows us all to gather together at our local temples to
collectively express our gratitude to all those who spread the Dharma
Teachings before us.

As is often the case, we can think of things in relation to the past, the present and the future.
We can think of the past in terms of all those dedicated Jodo Shinshu followers and ministers
who have preceded us and remember them for all that they have done to get us where we are
now. Our present thoughts can be centred on our current ministers who guide us in our daily
lives now. For the future, let us remember to provide for our dedicated retired ministers as well
as those ministers who may be considering retirement in the future.

This year, our National Board of Directors want to ensure that a part of any donations kindly
made towards JSBTC Day goes directly to our Ministers’ Retirement Fund. Let us all remember
with gratitude those who have passed before us and share in these quiet moments of JSBTC
Day services together and also remember those in our present and future who we can help to
secure a decent and well deserved retirement. Please kindly check with your local temple for
the date of the JSBTC Day Memorial Service and let us all observe, remember and honour with
gratitude together as one common national sangha.

With Gratitude and in Gassho,

Larry Wakisaka
JSBTC President

*** Please note that due to Canada Revenue Agency and the Canada Not-For-Profit Act, we ask
that if donations are made by cheque, kindly make the payee your local temple and write
in the memo area of the cheque “JSBTC Day”. Any and all donations made to JSBTC Day are
gratefully accepted.

The Gomonshu Sama’s New Year’s Message for 2019

Gomonshu sama Photo

January 1, 2019

New Year’s Greeting

 At the beginning of this New Year, I would like to extend my warmest greetings to you all.

 Last year, Japan was hit by frequent natural disasters like torrential rains, typhoons, and earthquakes. Other countries including Indonesia and the US were also visited by devastating earthquakes, tsunamis, and major hurricanes. I would like to convey my deepest condolences to those who lost their lives through the natural disasters and express my sympathy to everyone affected. We must also never forget that armed conflicts and terror attacks as well as severe starvation is making it difficult to live and lives are being lost every day.

 In my message entitled, A Way of Living as a Nembutsu Follower which I presented on O October 1, 2016, the first day of the Commemoration on the Accession of the Jodo Shinshu Tradition, I have stated, “by trying to live according to the Buddha Dharma, …we can live to the best of our ability, aspiring to live up to the Buddha’s Wish.” In agreement with this proposal, beginning last April, our organization has launched a campaign against poverty under the slogan, “Dana for World Peace— overcoming poverty to nurture our children.”

 Unable to part from our self-centered mentality, we are simply foolish beings, incapable of attaining supreme enlightenment through our own strength. It is all through the salvific working of Amida Tathagata that we are enabled to realize our selfishness. Furthermore, because of this self-awareness, with the hope of responding to the Buddha’s boundless compassion even just a little, we are enabled to aspire for everyone’s happiness and make a sincere effort in dealing with the many difficult problems of bitter reality in this world.

 In this New Year, as we receive the Dharma and recite the Nembutsu, let us make every effort to acknowledge and cope with the reality we face. 

                                                                            OHTANI Kojun                                                                                                                                                        Monshu                                                                                                                                                                   Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha

The Living Dharma Centre’s Virtual Book Club Selection

We introduce our next title: Forgiveness: A gift from My Grandparents by Mark Sakamoto.

This is a beautiful and well written true story of Mark Sakamoto’s grandparents, their survival and forgiveness in dealing with the darkest of times throughout human history when the most unthinkable horrors were being unleashed upon the world: one Canadian Japanese family stripped of their home, livelihood and dignity, and one Canadian boy who suffered intensely cruel and depraved hardships at the hands of the Japanese as a POW.

Through delusion, greed and anger, the horrors of WWII brought grief and hardship to a huge part of the human race, but as this book so beautifully illustrates and as the Buddha taught, you do no cure hate and anger by returning hate and anger, but by love… and forgiveness.

Although the LDC has chosen previous works by Jodo Shinshu scholars as books to read and discuss, this is a departure whereby it explores some of the everyday human aspect of life and conflict, and we will apply the Buddha’s Teachings to analyze and view this book and ultimately help us view our own lives through the Teachings.

Discussions are now open on his book and there is still time to join in to read and respond to the thoughts and views of all.

Foregiveness is available at Chapters/Indigo, Amazon and in ebook format for Kindle and tablets.  Watch for further details on the Living Dharma Centre’s Facebook site, our national website (bcc.ca) and in your local temple’s newsletter or website or Facebook group.  If you are new to the Virtual Book Club and interested in joining us, you can send an email to Barb at bm.livingdharmacentre@gmail.com.

 

Engaged Buddhism Presentation at the Burlington Central Library on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

On Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018, Ray Nakano will be giving a talk on Engaged Buddhism at the Burlington Central Library located at 2331 New St. in Burlington from 7 to 8 pm.

Insights into the teachings of the Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh, global spiritual leader, poet, and peace activist will be presented.   Learn mindfulness exercises to tap into your best self.

 

JSBTC Day 2018 Message from JSBTC President Larry Wakisaka

On behalf of the JSBTC Board of Directors I would like to extend my personal greetings to all JSBTC Member Temples, their congregants, supporters and friends of the JSBTC. Many parts of our Kyodan across Canada experienced very hot temperatures this past summer so perhaps the Fall season will be more seasonal with somewhat cooler temperatures which hopefully will bring out the full spectrum of autumn colours in their full glory for all to enjoy.

The Autumn season also typically signifies that JSBTC Day is soon upon us. This is a day when we all do our best to pay our respects and to commemorate all those who have preceded us in spreading the Dharma. Each Temple in our Kyodan normally selects a day either in October or in early November to celebrate JSBTC Day.

I would encourage everyone to consider attending their local Temples to honour all those pioneers of our faith so that they will be honoured and remembered for many more years to come for all their significant contributions.

Our JSBTC Board continues to work hard to provide the most benefits possible in support of the local temples, their respective memberships, to support the Office of the Bishop and our hard working Bishop Aoki, with our Ministerial Chair Rev. Grant Ikuta and, of course, all our dedicated Ministers who all work so hard to share the Dharma Teachings with all of us.

Our National Board sees Bishop Aoki, Rev. Grant and all our wonderful ministers working incessantly to walk the path of the Dharma with all of us so it is incumbent upon us to ensure that they receive benefits to allow them to also live gratifying lives. Please consider making a donation on JSBTC Day to help enable us to deliver important health and insurance benefits to all our ministers, to provide educational opportunities for them and to also enable us to assist local Temples in their challenge and quest to continue to share the Dharma to our greater communities.

Our elected National Directors look forward to your attendance and support at the upcoming JSBTC Day at your local temple.

With Gratitude and in Gassho,
Larry Wakisaka
JSBTC President (on behalf of the JSBTC Board)

SAVE THE DATE: 2018 Eastern Buddhist League Conference, August 31 – September 2, 2018


TRUE HAPPINESS…

The Shin Buddhist Path
Toronto Buddhist Church
Toronto, ON – Canada

Featuring Guest Speakers

Reverends Bob and Patti Oshita

MORE DETAILS TO FOLLOW

REMINDER:
Passports are required to cross the border.

NEW BOOK BEGINNING MARCH 1, 2018

The Living Dharma Centre Book Club

Image result for dharma breeze book image

This spring we will be reviewing “Dharma Breeze – Essays on Shin Buddhism” by Dr. Nobuo Haneda. A Japanese-born Buddhist scholar, translator, and teacher. Dr. Haneda is the Director of the Maida Institute for Buddhism in Berkeley, California and comes from the teaching line of Kiyozawa-Akagerasu-Maida-Haneda which is important in the powerful way they get us to take a fresh look at things.
The following excerpt is from an article written by Rev. Fred Ulrich after a talk given by Dr. Haneda at the Manitoba Buddhist Temple in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada in1992: (http://www.manitobabuddhistchurch.org/dharma/future-of-shin-buddhism.html)

“Dr. Haneda challenged us to redefine our priorities, to place the emphasis in our temples on the essence of Buddhism, the Living Tradition and “not on the ethnic and cultural elements or part of the Dead Tradition…This is the essence of Buddhism. It is the spirit of the student, the seeker. It is also the creative spirit. The living tradition comes directly from Sakyamuni himself, from his enlightenment which was the insight into the truth of impermanence.” Dr. Haneda goes on to explain that there is a difference between culture and religion: “Culture is not self-negating. It is something that we enjoy. Religion, on the other hand, challenges and negates the self. Culture can give us amusement, comfort and pleasure, but only the Dharma can give us deep joy, rebirth and a fundamental spiritual transformation.”

Dharma Breeze is a straightforward, easy to read book that anyone wishing to learn more about Shin Buddhism should read…..whether you agree with his views or not. The essays are grouped together in four sections: 1. Amida Buddha, .2 The Pure Land, 3. True Practice and 4. General Topics. Beginning March 1 we will spend approximately two weeks on each section, with discussion/posts at the end of each section.

This book is available through Amazon or BCA bookstore (unfortunately, not available through Chapters or in electronic format) so please give yourself enough time to order the book in.

We encourage you to read this book and begin to interact with our world-wide virtual sangha. This book should create some lively discussion!

If you have not already signed up for the club, and wish to join, please contact:
Barb MacCarl        bm.livingdharmacentre@gmail.com
Note: a Gmail account is required to make posts/comments