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MBT Expresses Its Heartfelt Gratitude to Rev. Ron Miyamura for Years of Service

It’s no secret that the Midwest Buddhist Temple (MBT), a Jodo Shinshu temple, is

all about gratitude. 


We are, of course, grateful for The Three Treasures and Amida’s Primal Vow. But on Oct. 29, we also expressed our thanks to our beloved Resident Minister Rev. Ron Miyamura. And when I say we, I mean we — 200 of sensei’s fans traveled from near and far to honor, celebrate and say “goodbye.”


A fantastic spread provided by Aloha Eats was augmented by rice and salads prepared by temple members. And there was pie — actually 32 mostly home-baked pies! Rev. Ron really likes pie!


After a delicious lunch, a brief bio of Rev. Ron was read, followed by a slide show featuring early and not-so- early images of sensei along with heartfelt messages from Sangha well-wishers.


Many tributes followed, first by Cheral Tsuchiya from the Twin Cities Buddhist Sangha, who credited Sensei for sticking with the group’s somewhat unorthodox ways and introducing taiko (as he did for several other temples) to Minnesotans.


Elaine Matsushita read her adaptation of Shel Silverstein’s book "TheGiving Tree," retitled "The Rev. Ron Dana Tree.” Elaine’s perceptive and thoughtful retelling featured illustrations borrowed from Silverstein's book and reinterpreted with a somewhat leafy sensei, perfectly capturing Rev. Ron’s selfless giving to MBT.


Rev. Todd Tsuchiya reflected on his long relationship with sensei and echoed what we were all feeling when he said, “Rev. Ron showed me how to live a life of Namuamidabutsu.”


Then, of course, there were gifts: A $25,000 from the Kono Fund for the BCA's Dharma Forward campaign bestowed by Ron Kono, son of the late Rev. Gyodo Kono, MBT's founding minister; a certificate of appreciation from the BCA awarded by Bishop Marvin Harada; and a gift from MBT’s Women's Association, presented by Jeanne Toguri.


The final gift of the day, this one from MBT and presented by Jason Matsumoto, was magnificent calligraphy written by Shozo Sato. The characters “Bon Soku Shin” express the complex idea that our human limitations simultaneously occur with our Shin Buddhist awakening. This sentiment truly embodies Rev. Ron’s deep understanding of the Dharma and, in particular, Shinran’s teaching.


Then it was time for Rev. Ron to share some thoughts. He thanked everyone for coming and for allowing him to share his life with us. Though he found times that were both difficult and rewarding at MBT, he was grateful for the relationships, including with those who are no longer with us. 


Sensei also assured us that we are not getting rid of him, that he will still be around to support Rev. Todd and MBT in any way possible — with the exception of being Ginza chairman. He made that last part very clear.


A standing ovation followed.


Anyone who knows MBT knows that music is a part of all our events. In honor of Rev. Ron, Ho Etsu Taiko and MBT Taiko performed "Ashura," one of their earliest pieces using one of the drums that Rev. Ron built.


It was a perfect ending to a perfect day, as Rev. Ron accompanied the groups on the conch shell.


There were smiles and tears and laughter and lots of hugs. It was an opportunity to reflect on the meaning and importance of Sangha and

of the inestimable value of a great teacher.


The opening meditation that morning, taken from the “Kyogyoshinsho” and chosen by Rev. Todd, summed up our relationship with Rev. Ron perfectly: 

“Now, encountering a true teacher, I have been able to hear the Name that embodies Amida’s Primal Vow.”

  

We are very grateful for Rev. Ron’s teaching and his friendship and so happy to be able to thank him so spectacularly.


The Sangha is also very grateful to Kristin Park and her team for organizing a wonderful send-off for Rev. Ron, and to Jeanne Toguri and Rich Taura for leading the kitchen crew. Thank you, all!

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