2019 Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada Day – Socho’s Message

“Those who are born first, guide those who come later, and those who are born later, join those who were born before them. This is so that the Boundless Ocean of birth-and-death may be exhausted.” (In “Passages on the Land of Happiness”, by master Tao-ch’o [562-645])

I would like to express my most sincere appreciation to all the Jodo Shinshu Temples of Canada (JSBTC), ministers, ministers’ assistants, national board of directors, and all temple members and non-members for keeping our organization active and accessible. Through observations at the local temples and the national organization, it is very clear that all of the ministers and national board of directors across Canada are working tirelessly for the sake of our temples, for all the members, and for the community at large. May I ask you for your continued support for our ministers and directors.

We had three candidates from Canada, Dr. Roland Ikuta (Lethbridge), Jeff Hains (Lethbridge), and Tanis Morre (Winnipeg),successfully completed their Tokudo ordination at Nishi Hongwanji on July 15th, 2019. They will be assisting their sensei and the temples to propagate Jodo Shinshu in Canada.

On this annual observance of the Jodo Shinshu Day, I would like to share a story of the famous physicist Albert Einstein, who was invited to Japan in the fall of 1922. He was interested in Buddhism and paid a visit to Reverend Jokan Chikazumi, a Jodo Shinshu minister. Einstein asked him about the Buddha Dharma, especially the heart of the Buddha (“Buddha-mind”). It is said that Rev. Chikazumi told him the story of Ubasuteyama (the old custom of abandoning old people, usually women, deep in the mountains). A young man was hurrying along a mountain path carrying his aged mother on his back. Along the trail deep in the mountains, the mother was breaking off tree twigs and dropping them on the path. She was marking the path with a trail of twigs. The young man thought that his mother was leaving a trail of twigs so that she could later make her way out of the mountains. When they arrived at their destination, the son, bidding his mother farewell, was about to leave when she said, “Since I didn’t want you to become lost, I left a trail of twigs for you. Follow it as you make your way back home.” It is said that when the young man heard this, he didn’t have the heart to leave her there and so once again put her on his back and carried her home down the mountain.

For whom is the trail of broken twigs? It is for my child who is hurrying on his way to abandon his parent. This fable reflects the feelings that the aged mother held in her heart. We can clearly see that they were not meant to reproach him for taking her deep into the mountains to abandon her; but rather it was her own abandoning of her “self”, and that as a mother, her sole concern was the safety of her child. Although her son was intending to abandon her, she was receptive and accepting of him, completely as he was. Rev. Chikazumi told Einstein that this commiseration is likened to the Buddha’s compassion. Einstein, when he came to know that according to the Buddha- Dharma, the heart of the Buddha does not pass judgment on whether something is good or evil, he was elated to have encountered this kind of religion for the first time, and said that in order for us to realize true peace that is free of conflict, we must learn from this. I feel that Jodo Shinshu will continue to provide important religious values, not to mention relevance, to society in general.

In gassho,

Tatsuya Aoki
Office of the Bishop, Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada

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

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


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

Featuring Guest Speakers

Reverends Bob and Patti Oshita


Passports are required to cross the border.


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

JSBTC Day 2017 Message from JSBTC President Dave Ohori

On behalf of the JSBTC Board of Directors, I wish to extend my warm greetings to all JSBTC Member Temples, their congregants and friends of the JSBTC. With the extremely hot summer behind us now, the cool rains and autumn colours will be something to look forward to.

On July 10-23, the JSBTC hosted a youth tour to Japan with many interesting places to explore. The main attraction was visiting our Mother Temple Nishi Hongwanji in Kyoto. There were a total of six youth who registered from across Canada. The participants were two from Fraser Valley Temple, one from Calgary Temple, one from Manitoba Buddhist Temple and two from Toronto Buddhist Church. This year the chaperone was Bishop Aoki who took time from his busy schedule to be the tour guide for this trip. This tour leader opportunity was open to all ministers in Canada but due to their schedules no one was able to accompany the youth to Japan. Thank you very much to Bishop Aoki for putting big smiles on the faces of our Youth Delegates and for making available life long memories for the youth who attended.

Rev. Robert Gubenco, who is a member at Calgary Buddhist Temple has expressed an interest in being a Kyoshi minister in Canada. Under the supervision of Rev. James Martin and Bishop Aoki, we should have a Kyoshi minister soon to help with our extreme shortage of ministers in Canada. The JSBTC expresses our gratitude to Rev. Robert Gubenco, Rev. James Martin and Bishop Aoki for their dedication and guidance in fulfilling this need for the future of sustaining Jodo Shinshu in Canada.

Rev. Yoshi (Yoshimichi) Ouchi was assigned to Toronto Buddhist Church last year. He has been working closely with TBC, Rev. Christina and Socho Aoki in adapting to our Canadian culture. He has shown great enthusiasm and he is a true gift to us by being a new minister of the JSBTC. We are very proud in welcoming him in joining our Sangha.

I’m sorry to announce the resignation of Rev. Christina Yanko who is a resident minister of Toronto Buddhist Church. She will unfortunately be leaving JSBTC on Dec 31, 2017. Her husband Dave is an American citizen and he has been called back to the USA for active duty (which he cannot refuse) with the U.S. Coast Guard. I know it was a difficult decision for Rev. Christina to make but we all understand that it is very important to keep the family unit together whenever possible. I am going to miss her wonderful Dharma talks and her glowing smile. Thank you Rev. Christina for the wonderful experiences which you have provided to our Sangha during your appointment in Canada. Many members will be missing you and your family. We wish you good luck and safe travels for you and your family.

The JSBTC Board of Directors appreciates the JSBTC membership for your support for all our Ministers and Bishop Aoki. The JSBTC is a representative of all Jodo Shinshu Temples across Canada and we wish that all members understand that we all have a voice. The Board has been working hard to ensure the health and well being of our ministers and to spread the Dharma of Jodo Shinshu to everyone

In Gassho,

Dave Ohori
JSBTC President (on Behalf of the JSBTC Board)

The Living Dharma Centre Virtual Book Club Update

Thank you to those who have signed up to join us in the LDC’s Virtual Book Club.  This is a gateway to a Virtual Sangha that not only encompasses our country but has reached across the U.S., Hawaii, Europe and Central and South America! We are thrilled to embrace all in our efforts to spread the Dharma.

The summer weather and thoughts of vacation are now upon us and we thought that this is an excellent time for us to offer two books to read along with everyone!

Our next Virtual Book Club Offerings will be two books to choose from.

Firstly, for those serious students of the teachings, we will be looking at “Sermons of a Buddhist Abbot” by Soyen Shaku, translated by D.T. Suzuki. This was originally published about 100 years ago from a series of lectures this Zen Abbot gave while touring and speaking across the United States.  This book contains an illuminating series of talks from this Zen Abbot who explained Buddhism to the Western world by utilizing Western philosophy, religion and psychology to clarify some of the core Buddhistic principles. These explanations the Abbot outlined still help us to this day to understand the Buddhist teachings. Unless you are extremely lucky enough to find a copy of this old book, it is available for free as a PDF file.  There may also be available free downloadable sound files of this book.

Secondly, we have a book that has been suggested by one of our original book club members as a beautiful read: “Birds  Art  Life” by Kyo Maclear, a Canadian author of Japanese and British descent. Here is a quote about the book by Barbara Gowdy “Every now and then you read a book that changes the way you see the world. For me, Birds Art Life is one such book. The writing is marvelously pure and honest and light. At the same time, magically, it is erudite, generous and brimming with meaning and event. Birds Art Life is a book I know I will return to again and again for inspiration and solace”. Kyo Maclear wrote this insightful book as a result oi dealing with the failing health of her father and how she dealt with this tough time in her life. This book is available at Chapters both in-store and on-line for less than $30.

There is no better time for a great read than summertime!! If you are interested in joining our discussions at any time, please email Barb MacCarl at: bm.livingdharmacentre@gmail.com


The Living Dharma Centre