The 46th BCA FBWA Conference was held on Oct, 14-16, via Zoom, and hosted by the Northern California District Buddhist Women’s Association with the theme of “Winds of Change, Jidai no Shinka ni Kiku” — chosen to reflect the many changes we are facing as we focus on encouraging younger members and all generations to participate in growing our BWAs.
We are grateful to the more than 300 people who registered, including special guests, ministers, presenters, a workshop leader, three individuals under the age of 30, one member of Ichijukai, and one IMOP student from Japan.
Thank you to the Federation of Buddhist Women’s Association (FBWA) cabinet and conference planning committee for their time and energy over the past three years, especially to our FBWA President Peggy Okabayashi for her leadership and advice.
On Friday morning of Oct. 14, two workshops were presented: “Yoga for Health at any Age and Physical Condition: A Complementary Practice to Buddhism” with Bob Matsueda, and “Card Making” with Jennifer Kubo.
In the afternoon, the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS) presented the 2022 Numata Lecture — “Receiving and Giving: Buddhist Women Past, Present and Future,” a public lecture by Dr. Paula Arai. Dr. Arai will join the IBS faculty in January 2023 as the first Eshinni and Kakushinni Professor of Women and Buddhist Studies.
Following the lecture, the Parliamentary Procedures workshop was presented by Gayle Kono. After a short break, the FBWA Representatives meeting was held.
At the meeting, the FBWA Representatives passed the resolution to take $250,000 from the remaining funds from the 2019 World Buddhist Women’s Conference and contribute them via the Dharma Forward campaign to the IBS Eshinni & Kakushinni Professorial Chair established by the FBWA, and to encourage each FBWA chapter to make an annual contribution via the Dharma Forward campaign to support the IBS Eshinni & Kakushinni Professorial Chair fund.
At the opening service on Saturday, Oct. 15, welcome messages were shared from Lady Ohtani Ruzumi, Honorary President Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Buddhist Women’s Federation of Japan; BCA Bishop Rev. Marvin Harada; and BCA President Terri Omori.
Rev. Harada gave the Dharma message. He stated that the Dharma is the foundation of our life. No matter what life presents to us, we can live through crisis, tragedy, troubles and problems. Instead of running away from our problems and issues, we should embrace our problems and issues. Life and all that it entrails, success and failure, sickness and health, joy and sorrow, all make our life what it is, in light of the Dharma.
Following the opening service, the keynote panel discussion featured Rev. Ko’e Umezu (she/her/hers), Rev. Etsuko Mikame (she/her/hers), and Rev. Kaitlyn Mascher-Mace (she/her/hers), moderated by Rev. Candice Shibata.
Over the course of the conversation, the panelists shared their stories about their personal Dharma journeys and their experiences in the Buddhist women’s community and broader Sangha. This discussion hoped to provide insight into the ways in which the next generation of BWA members can honor history and tradition while working toward a new, expansive, and more inclusive vision for the future.
In the afternoon, four workshops were presented. The workshops by Megan and Nicole Doi, Sensei Koichi Mizushima, Rev. Elaine Donlin, and Rev. Michael Endo featured concepts and ideas to engage participation from the younger members as well as everyone.
On Sunday, Oct. 16, the BWA general meeting included a review of the Friday FBWA Representatives meeting and installation of the 2023-2024 BCA FBWA Cabinet. The officers from the Coast District BWA are listed below:
Janice Doi, President
Reiko Murakami, Vice President
Marie Ochi-Jacobs, Recording Secretary (English)
Sumi Tanabe, Corresponding Secretary (English)
Don Fukuma, Auditor
Rinban Rev. Gerald Sakamoto
Rev. Etsuko Mikame
In addition, a new gatha, “With Gassho from the Heart” was introduced at this meeting. Funds to create the new gatha by a resolution passed at the 2021 Representatives meeting. This gatha will be featured in May 2023 at the WBWC in Kyoto, Japan.
The theme for the 47th BCA Federation of Buddhist Women’s Association Conference will be “Ichi-Go, Ichi-E, Each Precious Moment, A Precious Treasure.” It will be held in person on Oct. 4-6, 2024, at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose.