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.

 

Richard A. Stambul, President Buddhist Churches of America

Message from the BCA President

On behalf of the Buddhist Churches of America, I am honored to welcome you to the BCA website. The Buddhist Churches of America is the oldest and largest Buddhist Organization of temples and churches in the United States. We began in America 120 years ago, and we have grown to 60 temples and churches located throughout the United States.

All of us in BCA share a common wish…that BCA provide a foundation for the propagation of Shin Buddhism in America. Jodo Shinshu or Shin Buddhism began in Japan with our venerated founder, Shinran Shonin (1173-1263 CE). We are the keepers and the trustees of that wish: To preserve our Shin Buddhist teachings for our children, our grandchildren, and for future generations. Join us in keeping this wish alive.

As you journey through our web site you will find a vast amount of information: content about our history, links to our graduate school, The Institute of Buddhist Studies, dharma talks, our online bookstore, BCA’s monthly newspaper, The Wheel of Dharma, information about all of our temples and churches, how to donate to BCA to keep the dharma alive and vital, and other valuable information. Check it out!

Thank you for visiting.

In gassho,
Richard A. Stambul, President
Buddhist Churches of America

 

Special Message

With deep sorrow, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the victims, including families and friends, of the latest mass shootings that occurred over the past week in California, Texas and Ohio.

These events have reminded me of the words of Shakyamuni Buddha that describe the condition that we are all living in. He said, “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.” Just as he described, we are living our lives without knowing the true world because of our lack of wisdom. Out of fear and mistrust caused by the spiritual darkness that we live in, we act foolishly and harm each other.

Shakyamuni Buddha also taught us about Amida Buddha, the manifestation of Absolute Wisdom and Compassion, who is calling to us from the True and Real world, working to help us realize that we are all constantly living in this dark state. Namo Amida Butsu is the Amida Buddha’s compassionate calling that is urging us to redirect ourselves towards the guidance of the Light of the True and Real world, instead of solely relying on ourselves who reside in darkness. By encountering this caring and loving heart from the realm of Nirvana, we are able to overcome our inner fear and anxiety, and realize that we are not alone.

Let us pause and reflect on our activities under the light of Absolute Compassionate Wisdom known as Amida Buddha and wish for the world peace and harmony.

Namo Amida Butsu with Gassho,

Kodo Umezu
Bishop of the Buddhist Churches of America


 

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)