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An Amazing First Month into New Role

The first month into my new role has been amazing! I have had the opportunity to participate in special temple events, meetings and webinars. I would like to acknowledge all who made it possible including the following.

The Stockton BWA observed their Dana Day service on March 27. Each year, the women gather to reflect on this important part of the Six Paramitas, selfless giving. They also welcome and recognize new members to their organization.

Rev. Candice Shibata conducted the service via Zoom. When I hear the word Dana, it reminds me of my Dharma School students. While we were observing Ohigan one year, the class lesson was to discuss the Six Paramitas. After discussing the meaning of Dana, I asked the students, who were 7 to 10-year-olds, to share how they can practice Dana. Instead of listing items they can give, they shared Dana in Action:

Gentle eyes — Look at someone in a nice way to make them feel good.

A smiling face — Smiling will make others happy.

Kind words — Say nice things.

Kind attitude — Be nice, be respectful, show gratitude.

A warm heart — Show you care.

Good deeds — Help others, help at home, and help at temple.

Decorate the hanamido, keep the classroom clean, draw pictures and make “thinking of you” cards for the Sangha.

I learn so much from the children. How do you practice Dana?

The San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist temple members and friends gathered to celebrate the temple’s 100th anniversary on April 16.

This milestone event was initially scheduled last year, however, the Sangha patiently waited to observe in-person. They also acknowledged Rev. Patricia Usuki on her retirement. Everyone was so happy to see one another in person, to honor all who have made contributions toward the existence of the SFVHBT and to say thank you to Rev. Patti.

The Fresno Betsuin Buddhist Temple held their new Hondo dedication over the weekend of April 23-24. COVID safety protocols were followed by holding three small gathering in-person services. The Fresno Sangha’s over 20-year journey of creating a campus with facilities, including a Hondo and Family Dharma Center, has come to fruition.

It was an honor to be present at this auspicious event, to meet the dedicated members and to honor their Issei and Nisei members for their sacrifices to ensure the Jodo Shinshu teachings were available for all in the Central Valley.

The BCA Music Committee, chaired by Kemi Nakabayashi, held a Bon Odori webinar on March 26. Then, on three consecutive Sundays in April, a Taiko webinar was held presented by Kinnara Taiko of the Senshin Buddhist Temple. The Music Committee is one of BCA’s newest committees and is working hard to develop programs to share the Dharma through music.

The Social Welfare Committee, chaired by Celeste Sterrett, collaborated with the Social Welfare Concerns Committee of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission Hawaii by presenting a webinar on April 16. It is wonderful to see joint events in sharing the Dharma with our neighbors across the Pacific.

The Federation Dharma School Teachers’ League held its 71st annual conference on April 23, hosted by the Northern California Dharma School Teachers League. The virtual conference’s theme, “Cheers to Finding a New Norm,” had all participants thinking about how to return to temple after these past two years. I have no doubt that our dedicated, creative DS teachers and staff will figure it out. They adjusted and adapted to various ways in order to stay connected with their students during the pandemic.

Along with our Dharma Friends in Hawaii, BCA stays connected with our Dharma Friends to the north. The Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada held its annual General Meeting on April 23. Thank you to Steven Terusaki, BCA President-Elect and Gayle Noguchi, BCA Director of Operations, for attending the virtual event.

Many of the BCA committees are conducting meetings in preparation for next month’s National Board Meeting. The biannual meeting brings together BCA’s Executive Committee, Directors at Large, the eight District ministerial and lay representatives, committee representatives, and staff as well as the Endowment Foundation, the Institute of Buddhist Studies and the Jodo Shinshu International Office.

Your BCA is busy, a good thing. Thank you all for your Dana in Action, thank you for keeping the Dharma alive!


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