New Year’s Greeting from Gomonshu Kojun Ohtani

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 United States, were also visited by devastating earthquakes, tsunamis and major hurricanes. Furthermore, the California wildfires last November turned out to be the deadliest in the state’s history, taking the lives of many, while others continue to be missing, and a great deal of people were forced to evacuate their homes. 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 Oct. 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.

Jan. 1, 2019


Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha

(Translation provided by the Hongwanji International Department)


Message from the Bishop

As we welcome the year 2019, I wish you a very Happy New Year under the guiding light of Amida Tathagata. Let us continue to listen to the Compassionate Vow of Amida Buddha.

Shinran Shonin truly appreciated the karmic conditions that led him to the Nembutsu teaching. As we reflect on our own life journey, I am sure each of us has a person or people who influenced us to hear the dharma. They might be our parents, grandparents, siblings, spouses, friends, ministers, or historical figures. Whoever they might be, let us express our deepest appreciation to ones who have brought us to the teaching.

An organization is like a person. It has its own karmic history. For the Buddhist Churches of America, the Buddhist Women’s Association played a very big role in its growth. Issei and Nisei women were really strong, yet warm hearted. I firmly believe that they were able to live through their difficult lives because of their churches and temples, friends, and the Nembutsu teaching.

2019 will be a very busy year for the BCA. The Buddhist Churches of America Federation of Buddhist Women’s Associations will be hosting the 16th World Buddhist Women’s Conference from August 30 to September 1, 2019 in San Francisco. It is entirely appropriate for us to dedicate this year especially to those ladies who have helped all of us, directly or indirectly, to encounter the Nembutsu teaching. Please look at the photos of our Obaachans and reminisce in the past history of our churches and temples. At the same time, let us remember their dedication and contributions. 

Arigato Obaachan. Thank You Grandmother! 


Rev. Kodo Umezu, Bishop
Buddhist Churches of America


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: TO PROMOTE THE BUDDHA, DHARMA, AND SANGHA as well as TO PROPAGATE THE JODO SHINSHU TEACHINGS.


Encountering the Buddha
Gatha II

In the beginningless, endless flow of time, you meet the Buddha but once.
Therefore, discard your worldly attachments and receive the Dharma.

We are all sinking in the sea of suffering and our deprived minds tremble in fear.
But the Buddha with his compassion shows us the Realm of Purity.

In each ray of light, innumerable Buddhas reside, who by countless means work tirelessly to save us all.

The body of the Buddha is pure and serene, he radiates light throughout the world but his Truth is quiet and formless.

The realm of the Buddha is unfathomable and his teachings are limitless, but he speaks with one voice and the voice of the Dharma reaches everything.

And all beings attain Enlightenment.
Each according to his capacity, but all teachings are one.

Many are the joy of the world but none surpass the joy of pure peace.
Untainted Dharma is the Buddha’s domain, from there he views the world with purity of vision.

All the countries of the world occupy less space than a strand of hair.
Truly the compassion of the Buddha is wide as the open skies.

Our pride is as massive as a mountain, but the Buddha destroys it with the power of his skillful means and wisdom.
He worked tirelessly to realize Buddhahood which dispels the darkness of our ignorance.
Pure indeed is the Buddha’s wisdom.

In the infinite past, he transcended the suffering of birth and death. He teaches the way of purity.
The Buddha is the lamp of wisdom.

Ah, birth, old age, sickness and death, misery and sorrow weigh heavily on the human heart.
But, when one sees the Buddha just once, his mind immediately enters the Realm of Purity.

All the countless Buddha worlds are filled with his profound virtues.
Here great numbers of untainted Buddha’s children assemble, always to listen to the voice of the Dharma.
The Buddha is high and lofty but he also resides in very speck of dust.

He shows us numerous practices and uses means beyond our understanding to lead all of his children to the Realm of Purity.

Ah, the pure world of Enlightenment, the ocean of virtue, all beings blessed with the good circumstances to hear the Dharma vow to follow the path and ultimately realize supreme Buddhahood.

(From “BUDDHA-DHARMA” pages xxiii and xxiv)


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