When visiting other temples, I am often asked the question, “How do we keep the youth involved/engaged?”
With flat or declining membership numbers in many of the BCA districts, it is not difficult to see why this has become such an important issue.
As a young temple member, I have also asked myself this question and while I can’t point to a definitive answer, I can provide some context. “Young people are busy.” With school, clubs, sports, friends, internships, jobs and a whole list of other reasons, attending Sunday service is usually an afterthought.
However, this is not to say that Buddhism is no longer relevant to these individuals. Rather, I believe that Buddhism is incredibly important to these individuals, it is just not as accessible. This is part of the reason why we started the Young Buddhist Editorial.
The organization was started with three main goals:
To solve the disconnect between older and younger Buddhists
To increase the understanding of the cultural significance of Buddhism for Asian Americans
To grow interest in Buddhism in the age range of 18-40
With a group of 30 dedicated volunteers from around the United States, we have been able accomplish much in our first year. Let’s take a look at some of our accomplishments:
BCA Affiliate Candidate Organization
1 New Program to Bring Young Adult Buddhist Groups Together in Collaboration
1 Research Group Focusing on Youth and Young Adult Retentions
2 Open Calls
3 Successful Book Clubs
4 Columns for User Submissions
5 Completed Workshops
95 articles on the main site
326 Facebook followers
442 Instagram followers
5,000 People Reached in our First 5 months
While YBE is a Jodo Shinshu-based publication, we have also received comments and messages from those outside of our sect. I am particularly proud of the messages that we receive from readers that do not live in the United States. Furthermore, these messages serve to show how individuals who may never meet in real life are connected by Dharma.
At 5 p.m. PST on Feb. 6, 2021, the Young Buddhist Editorial will be holding our one-year anniversary celebration: “Voices of Resilience.” 2020 has been a year of hardship and change. Racial strife, a global pandemic, political unrest, environmental disasters, 2020 certainly did not pull any punches. Resilience is a theme that is important to us because it inspires strength in the face of great uncertainty. The Young Buddhist Editorial is meant to center the stories and voices of Asian Americans within Buddhism and offer a different narrative from the stereotypical misrepresentation on mass media platforms. Rather than let our story be told by others, our religion has persevered throughout generations of trauma and ignorance.
This live streamed event via Zoom will feature keynote speaker, Rev. Matthew Hamasaki from the Buddhist Church of Sacramento as well as artists and performers from the YBE community. Please join us in celebrating one year of continued resilience as we acknowledge and recognize the power in Asian American voices within Buddhism. Sign up by going to www.youngbuddhisteditorial.com/events.
As the new year rolls around, we look forward to creating new articles, workshops and events.
The support we have received is incredible. Our achievements would not have been possible without all of you, the Sangha. On behalf of everyone at YBE, let me just say Thank You. If you would like to become more involved with YBE, feel free to contact us at: youngbuddhisteditorial.com.
Namo Amida Butsu and Happy New Year!