Message About COVID-19 from the New Bishop:
As I take office as Bishop of the Buddhist Churches of America, we find ourselves living in an unprecedented time, facing a global pandemic that has hit our nation, state and communities.
In order to do our part to help prevent the spread of the virus, we have cancelled all of our in-person services and gatherings at our churches and temples and are all abiding by the “stay at home” directives.
We deeply miss seeing one another and being able to gather for a Sunday service or to be able to pay our respects to a dear loved one at their funeral service. Our Sanghas are living “communities” and now we must be isolated and apart from each other. It is a painful and difficult time for all.
Many have lost their jobs or their jobs are threatened by recession. Perhaps some of you know or have a loved one suffering from the virus and you were not even able to be with them during their time of need.
It is exactly during times of great duress that over the centuries in our Buddhist tradition many have turned to the Buddha-Dharma, for solace, for peace, for meaning. This time is no different.
Shinran Shonin wrote in one of his poems, or wasan, the following:
When we say “Namu-amida-butsu,”
The countless Buddhas throughout the ten quarters,
Surrounding us a hundredfold, a thousandfold,
Rejoice in and protect us.
p. 355, Collected Works of Shinran
What this poem is saying to me, is not that saying Namuamidabutsu will prevent me from getting the virus, but it is saying that for the person who recites and receives the Nembutsu, that they are embraced within the world of Buddha, the world of wisdom and compassion, no matter what.
If I get the virus, Namuamidabutsu, I am embraced within the world of Buddha. If I don’t get the virus, Namuamidabutsu, I am embraced within the world of Buddha. Either way, get it or not get it, I am one with the timeless truth of immeasurable life and immeasurable light. That is the ultimate source of peace and solace.
Rev. Marvin Harada
Buddhist Churches of America
Welcome to the homepage for the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA)!
The BCA is comprised of 59 churches and temples across the United States that belong to the Jodo Shinshu sect of Buddhism. Using our “Temple Locator” button, you may learn that there is a church or temple near where you live. In 2020, we hope to have our “Virtual membership” system in place so that you can become a member of the BCA even if you live far away from any of our temples. Follow me on Twitter @BCA_President for weekly updates on what is happening in the BCA. On this page, you will find a listing of events taking place across the country dealing with our Jodo Shinshu teachings. You may find something interesting that is taking place near you. Join us! Amida Buddha and the BCA welcome all who are interested.