The hybrid 2022 Southern District Buddhist Conference, hosted June 25 by Orange County Buddhist Church, drew more than 230 participants and marked a memorable and joyous return to the temple.
What’s significant about the event is that about 150 individuals gathered in person in the OCBC Hondo to hear former Bishop Rev. Kodo Umezu. The conference began with a Bishop memorial service recognizing the past 14 Bishops (Kantoku/Socho) of the BCA.
In his talk, Rev. Umezu jokingly said that Shinran Shonin talked about “gyakushu” — conducting one’s own memorial service — and suggested that we could add his name to the memorial list with a “coming soon” in parenthesis. This emphasized Rev. Umezu’s point about how valuable, precious, and wonderful life is.
Although masks were required in the Hondo, the smell of burning incense, hearing the sutra chanting and Nembutsu, the kansho, and seeing in person fellow Sangha members, made the return to the temple memorable and exciting.
The service was quickly followed by a Dharmathon for the Japanese-speaking audience in the Social Hall led by Revs. Koho Takata, Ryuta Furumoto, and Hibiki Murakami. The English-speaking audience remained in the Hondo and was treated to Rev. Kodo Umezu’s presentation.