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Extending My Deepest Thanks for Dharma Forward Contributions

Once again, may I express my deepest appreciation to all who have contributed so generously to the BCA this past year, and especially to the Dharma Forward campaign.

Last year, we were at 40% toward our goal, and now we are at an amazing 56% with total donations of $8.4 million. As we enter the final years of this campaign, may we continue to push forward to complete our goal of $15 million. I know that we can reach it, with the continued support of all of you, and your respective Sanghas.

Next year will be the 125th anniversary of our Buddhist Churches of America. We have come a long way in those 125 years, building churches and temples, a national headquarters, and a graduate school, the Institute of Buddhist Studies.

In more recent decades, we have established the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley, California, which is a valuable facility for so many aspects of the BCA, from IBS, to our Center for Buddhist Education programs, which include training sessions for future ministers, continuing education for present ministers, and outreach and educational programs for anyone. Where would we be without the JSC? Clearly it is an important asset for us.

One of the four “pillars” of the Dharma Forward campaign is the Facilities & Operations pillar, which will support the maintenance, upkeep, and future renovations of our JSC. As we all know, it costs to maintain our own homes and temples, and the JSC is no different. The Dharma Forward campaign will help to provide funds to be able to maintain and operate our wonderful JSC for decades into the future, which will greatly assist our annual BCA budget.

We are returning to in-person events again and the JSC is once again a busy place. Just in the past month, we have held: training sessions for those preparing for Tokudo ordination; a wonderful workshop on Buddhism and yoga; and our annual youth retreat for high school students.

Our other pillars, Buddhist Education & Programs, Outreach & Technology, and Ministerial Support & Scholarships, are all working on how to best utilize campaign funds for our future.

As we look to our anniversary next year, I would like to focus on our future. What will the future of the BCA look like? Will it continue to reflect diminishing membership and closure of churches and temples, or will it reflect growing and flourishing Sanghas that reach new people?

We are sitting on a wonderful treasure, the Dharma, that can help others in so many ways, from resolving life’s issues, to finding the most meaningful and fulfilling life to live. This treasure can and must be shared. The Dharma will not diminish as we share it with more people. The Dharma is inexhaustible in that sense. It does not weaken, decrease, or lose its value. It continues to flourish, to illuminate the hearts and minds of those who encounter it. That, to me, is our future.


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