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‘Dial the Dharma’ Now in Spanish

Beginning in August, the weekly “Dial the Dharma” messages started being available in Spanish — a first.

Arturo Rubio, who is a Minister’s Assistant at the San Diego Buddhist Temple, graciously offered to translate my weekly messages into Spanish. Now our phone system will be: Press 1 for English, Press 2 for Japanese, and Press 3 for Spanish.

For many years, we have thought about providing the Dharma to those whose native language is Spanish. We hope that this will open the door to Shin Buddhism to many who have never encountered it.

During my years of ministry at the Orange County Buddhist Church, we were gradually becoming more and more ethnically diverse. It was really wonderful to see and be a part of. In earlier years, we might have a Japanese American married to a Caucasian, or to a Hispanic person, or to an African American.

But in more recent years, we were having entire families join our Sangha from various ethnicities. Hispanic families, African American families, Indian families, just to name a few.

I remember in one of our adult discussions when I was talking about the life of the Buddha, a new member who was from India spoke up in class and talked about the area of India that we were discussing. He knew it so well since he was from India. I had never had that happen before in one of my classes.

He also shared how most people in India are Hindu, but that his father had “converted” from Hinduism to Buddhism. We commonly think that people in India are Buddhist, but although Buddhism has its origins in India, presently, the country is predominantly Hindu. This member shared how it took a great deal of courage for his father to make such a religious conversion. Now his son was bringing his family to OCBC and following the path of Buddhism in America.

We have a wonderful African American member who lived in Japan, and was so moved by how he was embraced and accepted by the Japanese people. It truly touched his heart and he married a Japanese woman and they were raising their son at OCBC, being involved in Scouts, in Dharma School, and in other youth programs.

There was also a new Hispanic family who began to attend, and now the wife is on the temple board and they just seem to me to be long time members. Recently, their son played the piano at our annual all music service.

We also have LGBTQ+ couples who have found a home at OCBC. At first, I remember some of them asking me privately if you could be LGBTQ+ and Buddhist.

I answered, “Of course,” and added that the Buddhism we practice embraces all people as they are, including the LGBTQ+ community.

I could sense their feeling of both relief and joy upon hearing that, as many had come from religious traditions that did not embrace or accept the LGBTQ+ community.

All of those new and diverse families and individuals, in the beginning, are a bit lost in the services and everything is new and strange, like offering incense, hearing the chanting, and saying that long word, “Namuamidabutsu.” But in time, they all come to embrace the teachings in their heart and mind, and also feel embraced by the Sangha.

What we have to offer people is something universal, something deep and profound, something that goes beyond ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or age.

We offer the Dharma. We offer the teachings of the Buddha that have a universal message, for all of humanity. We offer the teachings of Shinran Shonin, that takes the Buddha’s universal message and carries it to its ultimate fruition, which is to encounter and receive the heart of the Buddha, which is great wisdom and great compassion.


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Sep 14, 2022

This is an eye opening message ! Thank you very much, Rev. Harada!!

- Koko


Sep 13, 2022

Namo Amitabha, It is wonderful to offer Dharma messages in Spanish. Thank you Mr. Rubio. Namo Amitabha.

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