On behalf of the Executive Committee of the BCA, I wish all BCA members a Happy New Year!
We probably and hopefully will never see a year like 2020 again. With the development of the vaccine for COVID-19, I am hoping that this new year ends well. Depending on how things go, we may be able to open our temples before the end of the year. Just to be conservative, we should probably not expect holding our annual summer fundraisers (but we will have to see).
I would like to conclude my thoughts on the Five Calamities of 2020 that I talked about last month:
4. The Election
Whatever your political leaning, the last four years have demonstrated that whatever your opinion is, there will always be people who support you and people who are against you. At the time that I am writing this, there is talk about events that both major political parties will be holding on Jan. 20.
It appears that we will have a new president beginning this year. Let’s see if this will be good or bad for our country.
Our BCA temples will benefit from efforts to allow us to meet in person again. However, face masks, handwashing, plastic shields in the temple, and no singing or chanting may still be the case for most of this year.
5. Racial Discord
We saw a major resurgence in the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 after the death of George Floyd on May 25, Memorial Day. How BCA responded to this discord gave rise to the biggest complaint from members or former members who disagreed with the BCA’s stance.
During the protests, we saw police offices and buildings get burned, businesses looted or burned down, and people injured or killed. This type of violent activity was never condoned by the BCA. It is true that many BCA ministers and members supported the Black Lives Matter movement, but the damage done to the local community was not what BCA was supporting.
Some BCA members pointed out that the Black Lives Matter movement seems to advocate social change by any means necessary. The anger felt by the Black community stemmed from the instances of Black lives ending after police interactions.
Let’s be very clear: What the BCA supported in the Black Lives Matter movement was ending discrimination. It was not the idea of bringing about social change through any means necessary, including violence.
Some people may find it contradictory to say BCA supports Black Lives Matter, but does not condone violence. For those people, I would refer them to the basic beliefs in Buddhism. All of us commit acts based on the three poisons: greed, anger, and ignorance. And yet, we are still looked upon as the objects of Amida’s compassion. In the “Tannisho,” Shinran Shonin is said to have said, “Even the good person attains birth in the Pure Land, how much more so the evil person.” Guess who that evil person is? It is none other than me and you.