Welcome to the Buddhist Churches of America Homepage! Whether you are a visitor looking to learn about Jodo Shinshu Buddhism or a long-time member at one of our 60 temples across the country, we invite you to explore the online home of our BCA community. With churches and temples throughout the United States, we offer many exciting and educational programs for all ages. Founded over 110 years ago by pioneering Japanese immigrants, our Sanghas are vibrant communities embracing people from many walks of life. What brings us together is the desire to live our lives in the spirit of Amida Buddha – the Buddha of immeasurable Wisdom and Compassion. The spirit of Amida Buddha touches all people and gives us the courage to live our lives with peace.  We hope you will find the resources and information you seek here. BCA Mission Statement (new site) TO PROMOTE THE BUDDHA, DHARMA, AND SANGHA as well as TO PROPAGATE THE JODO SHINSHU TEACHINGS.

The Harmony of Human Community Imagine a country lying in absolute darkness with many living beings blindly rushing around. Naturally they will be frightened and lonely as they run about without recognizing one another. Then let us imagine that suddenly a superior person with a torch appears and everything around becomes bright and clear. The living beings find great relief as they look about, recognize one another, and happily share their companionship. When the world of human life lies in the darkness of ignorance, those who have no light of wisdom in their minds wander in loneliness and fear. They do not know how to associate with their fellow humans in peaceful harmony, and they are naturally miserable and afraid. “A superior person with a torch” refers to Buddha assuming human form, and by his wisdom and compassion he illuminates the world. In this light, people find themselves as well as others and are glad to establish human fellowship and harmonious relations. Thousands of people may live in a community, but it is not one of real fellowship until they know each other and have sympathy for one another. A true community has faith and wisdom that illuminate it. A true community is a place where the people know and trust one another and where there is social harmony; it is harmony that gives life and meaning to every community. Paraphrased from The Teaching of Buddha, chapter two.

Message on the Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar

The world news on the escalation of violence against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar is raising questions among people, especially non-Buddhists. Myanmar is a Buddhist-majority country. In the last three weeks since August 25 of this year, over 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh to escape military violence described by the United Nations as ethnic cleansing and described by others as genocide.

No matter what this violence might be called, we deeply deplore the killings, torture, burning of villages and other actions against humanity occurring in Myanmar. What we are witnessing is not an isolated occurrence in our history. Similar events have been happening throughout the history of humankind. We cannot take ourselves out of this picture. We, lacking true wisdom, have been repeating our foolish actions over and over, generation after generation. Without realizing it, I, too, must be doing similar things to others in different ways. When I see and hear of this type of human crisis, I truly, truly understand why Dharmakara Bodhisattva had to establish the Primal Vow for all beings in order to free us from afflictions, pain, and suffering.

We do need to take some actions to stop our harmful behavior, if possible. The first step to doing this is going to the Buddha and listening to the timeless truth of the Primal Vow. The Vow is the dynamic activity of Enlightenment itself trying to reach us. Once we hear and deeply appreciate the Vow, we will be able to live in accord with the compassionate heart of the Buddha, seeing all beings as our brothers and sisters and fellow travelers to the Pure Land.

Let us pause and ponder the intent of the Vow established for all beings, and let us live our lives with the Buddha’s eyes and let us hope that all people will hear the Primal Vow.

Namo Amida Butsu

Rev. Kodo Umezu, Bishop
Buddhist Churches of America


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