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Butsu Butsu: BCA’s 125th Anniversary Is Our Last Chance to Honor Nisei Members

When the BCA celebrated its 75th anniversary, I was still a teenager.  When the BCA celebrated its 100th anniversary, I was in midcareer, and now with the 125th anniversary upon us, I am now a senior citizen.

I’m sure those of you who participated in the BCA’s grand 75th anniversary remember the thousands of members who joined together to celebrate this most auspicious occasion and perhaps was the last opportunity for us to honor our remaining Issei (first generation) pioneers who sacrificed and dedicated so much to ensure that the Nembutsu teachings would be heard for the past 125 years in the United States.

When you think about the history of the BCA and the Japanese American community and the scar of World War II internment which ended in 1945, it took less than 30 years for the Japanese American community and the BCA to totally reestablish themselves. Look at all the temple buildings and facilities which were constructed in the 1950s through the 1970s. How could our community and the BCA Sangha start over from zero and accomplish what we did?

It is because of the Nisei (second-generation) BCA members, who, despite all odds, remained faithful to this nation and their parents’ desire for the continued transmission of the Nembutsu. They believed in hard work and sacrifice for the sake of our families, our Sangha and our community and they built the foundation of the BCA’s 125th anniversary that we are celebrating this year.

But just look at each of our temples. The remaining number of Nisei members are dwindling so very quickly. This is our last chance to honor and remember each and every Nisei member of our BCA and to thank them for ensuring that the Nembutsu teachings continue to be heard from coast to coast for all who desire to hear the call of Namo Amida Butsu.

The BCA’s 150th anniversary will be in 2049. To be honest, most of the Sansei (third generation) BCA members, as well as myself, will have probably returned to the Pure Land by then.   

Will this year’s 125th anniversary be the final hurrah for Sansei members to celebrate and express gratitude for our Nembutsu heritage? Namo Amida Butsu


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