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

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

SAVE THE DATE!

HUMANITY THROUGH A BUDDHIST EYE: AN EXPLORATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

June 12 – 14, 2020, Winnipeg, Manitoba 

Williams is a Soto Zen priest and Director of the Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture at the University of Southern California. He is the author of “American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War” 

  • Tour of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights
  • Panel discussions and workshops
  • Discover the rich tradition, culture and diversity of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Service, Manitoba Buddhist Temple

Sponsored by LIVING DHARMA CENTRE, JODO SHINSHU BUDDHIST TEMPLES OF CANADA

Here is the poster.

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
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)