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Experience the Benefits of a Larger Sangha Beyond the Temple Level

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Hanamatsuri by taking the opportunity to listen to the Dharma, enjoying the beautifully decorated Hanamido, pouring sweet tea over the statue of the infant Buddha and participating in special activities at your respective temple/church.

In Southern California, the rain began to subside, replaced by partly cloudy blue skies. At my Vista temple, it was wonderful, once again, to experience the familiar hustle and bustle as the Sangha prepared in bringing back the Hanamatsuri Festival.

It was inspiring to see the young — and young at heart — working together, as well as sharing another avenue of our Shin Buddhist practice to newer members, and to express gratitude for being able to receive the Dharma in a beautiful temple with connected efforts to ensure the temple doors remain open for all so that they may also receive our enriching Shin Buddhist tradition.

In the April Wheel of Dharma Bishop’s Message, Rev. Marvin Harada expressed the benefits of being part of a Sangha. At the temple, especially during events like a festival, the benefits are definitely apparent. As Rev. Harada stated, Sangha is virtually everything.

In May, we will commemorate the birth of Shinran Shonin. Gotan-e services will be held at our BCA temples and churches. Some of you may be attending the joint celebration of Shinran Shonin’s 850th anniversary of his birth and 800th anniversary of the establishment of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism at Nishi Hongwanji in Kyoto, Japan.

I am looking forward to seeing the photos and hearing the stories from those who will be attending this auspicious occasion. Following the joint celebration, the World Buddhist Women’s Convention will take place. Members of our Federation Buddhist Women’s League will be in attendance. I wish all safe travels and look forward to hearing about their experiences.

We all have experienced the benefits of being part of a Sangha at the temple level. Have you taken the opportunity to experience the benefits of being part of a greater Sangha?

There are multiple Sangha levels, even within BCA. At the district level, you can meet ministers and members from the other temples. Many of our BCA districts will hold an annual conference or activity. The affiliated organizations also hold seminars and conferences. From Young Buddhist Associations to Dharma Schools to Buddhist Women’s Associations, many gather and look forward to seeing one another.

At the BCA level, there are many opportunities, including Center for Buddhist Education webinars and workshops and BCA Committee programs.

I am truly grateful for all the opportunities I have received to expand my Sangha connections. I have met amazing people and have made wonderful friendships. If you have not done so yet, I encourage to do so. If you are having a similar experience as I am, then please share your benefits of being part of a Sangha with others.


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