On June 2, your BCA Executive Committee held a retreat at the Jodo Shinshu Center (JSC). This was an opportunity for the Bishop, the Ministers’ Association Chairperson, the six National Officers, and the BCA Director of Operations to discuss the strategic plan and vision for the BCA.
I am truly grateful to their dedication and concerns for the BCA as well as their vision regarding the future of Shin Buddhism in America. Thank you for two days of your thoughts, ideas and time. A plus side of the retreat: It was the first time where all of us were able to be together in person since the 2020 National Council Meetings!
On June 3, the BCA National Board biannual meeting was held. A few BCA staff members joined the Executive Committee at the JSC as the meeting was held virtually for the BCA ministerial and lay leaders, BCA staff, representatives from the Endowment Foundation, Institute of Buddhist Studies, and Jodo Shinshu International Office.
The National Board, responsible to govern the business of the BCA, consists of the six national officers, the Bishop, the chairperson of the Ministers’ Association, nine Director at Large members, one ministerial representative from each of the eight districts, three lay representatives from each of the eight districts and one representative from each of the affiliated organizations.
Also present at the meeting are the chairpersons of the 15 BCA committees and two ad hoc committees, BCA staff and the hosting districts for the upcoming National Council Meetings.
I would like to share some highlights from the National Board meeting.
Bishop Rev. Marvin Harada reported a new BCA task force on “Buddhism and Spirituality and Psychological Well-Being” has been created. The new task force will help to create a strategy and programs at the local, district, and BCA level to begin to address how Buddhism can help people deal with the myriad of challenges in our spiritual and psychological life.
Rev. Harada also reported conducting the Kieshiki Affirmation Ceremony for 63 members since the beginning of this year. This included a Zoom ceremony for our BCA Individual Members. Rev. Harada continues his outreach with monthly Dharma gatherings for the BCA Individual Members and Texas Sangha as well as weekly Dharma messages in English, Japanese and Spanish through the BCA’s Dial the Dharma. Have you called 1-(800)-817-7918 recently?
Rev. Jerry Hirano, director of the Center for Buddhist Education (CBE), reported on the many programs that have already taken place and planned for this year. Online seminars continue to be offered featuring a broad range of speakers. More in-person events are being offered including Minister’s Assistant Program (MAP) training sessions focusing on the Tokudo aspirants who are planning to receive ordination at the end of the year. CBE also provides opportunities for our future leaders through the BCA Youth Retreat (BYR) programs.
The BCA facilities management team of Bob Matsueda and Pam Matsuoka reported that the elevator modernization project at the Octavia Street (BCA headquarters) building and elevator stop for the Buddhist Church of San Francisco have passed all inspections and are operational. At the JSC, one of six HVAC units has been replaced.
The district reports stated that the temples are holding Dharma services. Many are finding innovative ways to engage their Sangha, fundraising projects are underway, and all plan to hold an Obon event. I am impressed by everyone’s efforts. I realize that it has been challenging to reopen our temples. Many changes have occurred during the past three years of the pandemic. I appreciate the ministers, lay leaders and members for adjusting and adapting in order to keep your temple doors open and the Dharma accessible.
In closing, I wish you all a meaningful Obon season. As you participate in Obon services, activities, and Bon Odori please remember the legacy of temple and Sangha pioneers who came before us. Embrace the Dharma with your hearts full of gratitude and joy.