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Oxnard, Pasadena Host 2023 Southern District Conference

The 13 temples of BCA’s Southern District held its 2023 Buddhist conference on Oct. 14 at the Pasadena Buddhist Temple.


The in-person and virtual conference was co-hosted by the Sangha members of the Oxnard Buddhist Temple and the Pasadena Buddhist temples.  


The Dharma-message for the opening service was delivered by Bishop Rev. Marvin Harada. He spoke about the deceased Bishops of the BCA and mentioned that Rev. Kenryu Tsuji, the only one of the past Bishops whom he met personally, had influenced him strongly. 


Rev. Harada said that Rev. Tsuji was the first minister he ever heard describe the six realms of existence in non-literal, realistic terms, and he found Rev. Tsuji’s down-to-earth approach to Buddhist doctrinal terms engaging. 


The keynote English speaker was Rev. Dr.  Kenji Akahoshi, the former minister of the Buddhist Temple of San Diego, who spoke on the importance of living gratefully. 


He urged the audience to see Jodo Shinshu as a religion that says “thank you” instead of “please” as in the petitionary prayer of some traditions. His wife, Mrs. Karen Akahoshi, spoke about finding her own sense of identity beyond being a good daughter and a loyal temple member. 


She also spoke about her tragic loss of her son Kirk, who passed away at the age of 44. While many of us would be devastated by the loss of our child at such an early juncture, Karen Akahoshi found gratitude for the time she had with him. This was a brave, strong, and deep perspective shared by Karen Akahoshi, and everyone was moved by her presentation.


The Japanese language keynote was given in the Pasadena garden classroom by Rev. Nobuo Miyaji, who served the majority of his Kaikyoshi career in the Southern District. He told anecdotes about impressive teachers and lay leaders he encountered. 


A subsequent question-and-answer session was held in both languages. Rev. Dr. Akahoshi and Karen Akahoshi led the English section, and the Japanese language gathering was led by Rev. Miyaji, Rev. Koho Takata, Rev. Hibiki Murakami, and Rev. Dr. Mutsumi Wondra. 


Senshin Buddhist Temple’s Hongwanji Place had a number of books, nenjus and other Buddhist goods on sale.


The conference attendees were treated to a large and delicious bento lunch at the Pasadena temple’s multipurpose Sakai Hall, which was available at the hall and for takeout.


After the lunch, Conference Chairperson Kathy Kumagai led a Southern District Buddhist Women’s Association meeting.


Next year’s Southern District conference will be held on Oct. 19, 2024, and the conference will also commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Buddhist Churches of America. 


It will be hosted by the Buddhist Temple of San Diego on the temple grounds. The English language keynote will be delivered by Bishop Rev. Marvin Harada.


Thank you to everyone who attended the Southern District conference. And, thank you, in particular to the members of the Oxnard and Pasadena temples who worked so hard to present this event. 





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