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BCA Sends Huge Delegation to Japan

A total of 780 members and ministers from the overseas districts — including the United States, Canada, South America, and Taiwan — attended the May 10 Joint Celebration of the 850th anniversary of Shinran Shonin’s birth and the 800th anniversary of the Jodo Shinshu teaching in Kyoto.


Participants were delighted to have been able to attend an event that is held once every 50 years.


The largest delegation — 518 members — was from the Buddhist Churches of America, and students of the English correspondence course by the Jodo Shinshu International Office (JSIO), based at the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley, California.


In addition, 167 people from Hawaii, 36 from Canada, 19 from South America, and 40 from the regional district of Taiwan attended.


Simultaneous interpretations were provided, in English and Portuguese in the morning, and English and Chinese in the afternoon. Participants listened to the interpretation through earphones and watched the monitor, as they were deeply moved by the atmosphere of the special observance.


“I was very impressed with my first visit to Honzan,” said Jackie Henderson, a member of Calgary Buddhist Church (Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada). “I was overwhelmed by the spectacle of people from all over the world, who share in the same Jodo Shinshu values and are gathered in the historic Founder’s Hall taking part in the observance.”


Registro Hongwanji Temple member Aiko Yaguiu said: “I am very happy to have been able to come with my mother from Brazil to Hongwanji. The staff with their smiles were welcoming, making me feel warm.”


In addition, two ministers from the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada assisted in officiating the service.


The Confirmation Ceremony, which followed the morning and afternoon sessions, included 61 participants from the overseas delegations receiving their Dharma name.


Brianna Hornig of Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church was among those who received Dharma names.


“Visiting Hongwanji for the first time, I am truly happy to be able to take part in the Confirmation Ceremony together with my mom,” Hornig said. “Having received a Dharma name will become a big support for me that I hope to cherish.”


David Atcheson of Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin, Hawaii, said: “Ten years ago, I visited Hongwanji with my family of three, and this is my second visit to Honzan. In addition to being able to attend the Joint Celebration that I will never again be able to encounter, I was also fortunate to have the opportunity to take part in the Confirmation Ceremony.


“To have been able to reconfirm the hard work of our predecessors who passed on the Jodo Shinshu teaching to the present day, I have nothing but gratitude,” he continued. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sunday services at betsuin could not be held in-person, so it was delivered online, and I was able to help with that. I would like to continue to support betsuin.”


Many of the delegates from the four districts also took part in the 17th World Buddhist Women’s Convention, which was held on May 11-12.


In addition, groups toured Hongwanji-related historic sites and temples in Kyoto, Kanto, Hokuriku, and Kyushu.


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