BCA Bishop Rev. Marvin Harada visited three Eastern District temples — Ekoji Buddhist Temple, Seabrook Buddhist Temple and New York Buddhist Church — as part of his trip to the East Coast to attend the annual National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces in Arlington, Virginia from Jan. 8-11.
Rev. Harada stayed at NYBC from Jan. 14-16 and made the most of every minute during his first visit as Bishop to New York. He had dinner with members of the NYBC Board of Directors, delivered the Dharma message at the Ho-onko service and performed a Kieshiki ceremony, in which Sangha members receive a Buddhist name.
He was also able to visit with some former Orange County Buddhist Church members and tour the Metropolitan Museum of Art with NYBC Minister’s Assistant Cheryl Ikemiya and former OCBC member Lisa Ferguson.
The Kieshiki ceremony on Jan. 15 was a moving and meaningful event. Thirty people received their Homyo Buddhist names. The event demonstrated the extent of NYBC’s outreach in the face of the COVID-19 lockdown and its aftermath and the appeal of Buddhist teachings in the time of crisis.
Many of those receiving names were visiting the temple in person for the first time, but have been attending livestream services and attending Dharma programs on Zoom. Four people participated in the ceremony via Zoom. Nine people traveled from the Albany Buddhist Sangha, another outreach project of the New York Buddhist Church.
For those receiving names and others attending the ceremony, the recital of the names and their meanings were inspirational Dharma messages in themselves.
Those receiving their Buddhist names were as follows:
From the New York City-based NYBC Sangha: Anthony and Yoriko Armstrong, David Brady, Helen Branyan (via Zoom from California), Linda Cantrell, Kazuya Hasegawa, Claudia Kohn, Keiko Ohtaka, Lily Sakai-Johnson, Mikio Sakai, Luis Simo, and John Skelly.
From NYBC Sangha members outside of New York City: Kyle Beers (Pennsylvania), Mathaeyos Decarter (Pennsylvania), Gayle Denaco (New Hampshire via Zoom), Elle Ferguson (Pennsylvania), Lisa Ferguson (Pennsylvania), Matt Kaufmann (Massachusetts), John LoBriglio (Connecticut), Leona Maury (Pennsylvania via Zoom), and Mary Traynor (upstate New York via Zoom).
From the Albany Buddhist Sangha: Gabrielle and Scott DeMarco, Elliot Easton, Ebrahim Helmy, Liam Jeffries, Ben Karis, Julian and Maya Proffitt, and Pierce Randall.
The Kieshiki ceremony was a tangible demonstration of the potential of Jodo Shinshu Buddhist’s teachings to reach a diverse group on the East Coast.
Everyone who participated and the NYBC Sangha members who worked hard to make this event possible were very moved and grateful. It truly was a memorable moment in the history of NYBC.