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jiho ... 2016/07/31  · This understanding is Jodo Shinshu. My initial encounter with Jodo Shinshu took place at Ryukoku University in Kyoto to study Jodo Shinshu Bud-dhism as an

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Text of jiho ... 2016/07/31  · This understanding is Jodo Shinshu. My initial encounter with...

  • jiho

    Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple

    815 East First Street Los Angeles, CA 90012

    TEL: 213.680.9130 FAX: 213.680.2210


    EMAIL: [email protected]

    No. 435 March-April 2016



    When I was assigned to Betsuin almost 14½ years ago, Betsuin al- ready had four ministers and I remember then we were very busy with fu- nerals and memorial services. Over the years because of the shortage of ministers in the BCA and the decline of our temple membership,

    Betsuin gradually reduced the number of min- isters. However, the number of funerals and memorial services was reduced only slightly. Throughout the years, many of our senior members have past, leaving much of the re- sponsibilities of planning funerals and conduct- ing memorial services to the younger generation, the Sansei. Unfortunately, many of the Sansei are unprepared or unaware of what to do or why we conduct funerals and memorial services. It has become apparent that because of this uncertainty, the way we conduct our services, especially funerals have changed considerably. To be sure, the economy, a more mobile and chaotic life-style, inter-religious marriages plays a part in this change. More so, as Bud- dhists, as Jodo Shinshu Buddhists, we should take the time and understand the meaning and importance of why we conduct funerals and memorial services the way we do. As you already know, Jodo Shinshu Buddhists place a great deal of emphasis on funeral and

    memorial services. However, it wasn’t always the case. When Shakyamuni Buddha passed away, he asked his disciples not to perform a funeral for him, rather he told them to continue their practices. During Shakyamuni’s time and until the late 600 CE, funerals were simply chanting sutras during the cremation. Funerals and memorial services that are con- ducted within our temples today were greatly influenced from Chinese Confucianism. The Confucian ideals of filial piety, also know as an- cestral worship, was one of the virtues to be held above all else, even after death. There- fore, family members of the deceased believed by accumulating merit through virtuous deeds such as offering food, drink, flowers and chant- ing sutras, could then transfer their merit to their loved one. When Buddhism arrived in Japan, it kept many of the memorial traditions from China. Bud- dhist devotees continued to hold memorial service for the benefit of the deceased. In Japan, prior to Shinran, Buddhist memorial services were held for the benefit of the de- ceased in their afterlife. It was thought through conducting services, chanting, making offer- ings … money or food it would appease the souls of the deceased and they would more or less protect you from harm (bachi) or bring you good fortune. So this was about our relation- ship with the deceased in the afterlife and our fortune or misfortune.


    (continued on page 10)


    mailto: [email protected]

  • I live nearby shopping mall so that I sometime go to shopping for my clothes or take my daughters there for shopping. When I visit the mall, I usually stop by at my favorite stores. However, I hardly find my size for clothing. I guess there are many Asian people living around the mall so that smaller sizes are quickly running out. After returning from the mall, I usually go to their websites and purchase my size’s clothes via online.

    Within a week, they are delivered by FedEx or UPS. It is very convenient. When I was a child, I never thought that I would be shopping with a credit card via online. I guess many of you know one of famous online stores called Amazon. Amazon sells not only books but also games, toys, ap- pliances, TV, furniture, jewelry, car, etc. We can purchase most of the things from Amazon. They even sell Buddhist family altar. I was surprised a few month ago by reading an article in Japan- ese newspapers and magazines about “Obousanbin.” Obousan means a Buddhist minister and “bin” means delivery service. Amazon Japan started selling the “Obousanbin” for those who do not have their own temple. If you purchase this, obousan or a Buddhist minister will be coming to your home, gravesite, or mortuary to conduct a memorial service. The basic cost of the obousanbin is 35,000 yen (around $350.00). There are some options such as receiving a Buddhist name or having service twice a day at different locations like gravesite service after a memorial service at home. Of course, they ask you to pay them for additional charges. There are many different schools in Buddhism so that the com- pany has around 400 ministers of seven major schools in their list from Hokkaido to Okinawa, throughout Japan. According to the news, the company was contacted by 8,000 people who were interested in purchasing this service last year. The emphasis of this service by the company is the reasonable cost. Everything is inclusive and there is no need to add any other costs such as minister’s transportation, ofuse for minister, orei for temple, etc. I would like to share my appreciation to the Buddha-Dharma on this interesting service. The expense for a memorial service is not regarded as a cost for the memorial service like a business. The expense for the temple is called “orei,” a selfless monetary donation to temple to express one’s appreciation and gratitude for receiving the precious opportunity for us to observe a memo- rial or funeral service. The expense for a minister is called “ofuse,” a selfless monetary gratuity to a minister who delivers or transmits the mind and heart of Amida Buddha by conducting a service. The term ofuse is a translation of Sanskrit term “Dana.” Dana is characterized by three purities which is no giver, no gift, and no receiver. The giver is free of selfish thought, giving ends at the moment of the act. The giver is no longer tied to the objects in-

    volved in giving. The giver does not expect any gestures of ap- preciation from the receiver. The gift is free from all attachments to the value of the amount or gift. The giver sees no receiver in the sense of attachment of any kinds in interrelationship with the giver. Therefore, Dana practice is called “Kisha.” “Ki”means joy- fulness or gladness and “sha”means throwing away attachment or free from attachment. After Gautama Siddhartha attained enlightenment and became Sakyamuni Buddha, the Buddha started sharing the Dharma to hundreds of thousands people for 45 years. Many of his followers abandoned all of their belongings to become monks and nuns. It was not only monks and nuns but also many lay people took refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha as their spiritual foundation. The lay people supported the monks and nuns with their utmost respect and reverence and provided foods, clothing, and shelter. In this way, the monks and nuns provided the Dharma and the lay people provided the monks and nuns with material goods as their Dana offerings. This is the origin of Dana practice. I recall an interview of a Nisei woman who was interviewed about the history of establishment of temple by a Harvard University research group. Her statement was, “I still remember my father saying that even if you miss a meal, I have to pay my dues to the church.” This thought has stuck with me ever since. I was re- ally moved by his deep appreciation to Buddha-Dharma and his firm commitment and ownership of his temple. His spirit of Dana continues to influence upon our lives. We are truly grateful that Amida Buddha is always delivering his service. It is the Buddha-Dharma. It is delivered to all beings at all times and in all places without any exceptions. Let us express our deep appreciation and gratitude to Amida Buddha for his de- livery service of the Buddha-Dharma and live a Nembutsu life centered by Buddha-Dharma in our daily lives.

    Sakyamuni Buddha and Amida Buddha are our father and our mother,

    Full of love and compassion for us; Guiding us through various skillful means,

    They bring us to awaken the supreme shinjin. (CWS P.380, #74)

    DELIVERY SERVICE by Rev. Koho Takata




    [email protected]


    WHY JODO SHINSHU by Rev. Kazuaki Nakata

    Jodo Shinshu is not a religion such as the Abrahamic religions which at- tempt to persuade individuals with dogmas to bring forth beliefs with- out question or a philosophy such as the recondite wisdom of a great thinker to generate an impression that our daily lives are trivial. Jodo Shinshu is a tool of human science to keep focusing our daily lives as

    the essential core, to analyze the meaning of our existen- tiality, to improve our communication skills in interdepend- ence, and to manage our stress and complication in our daily environment. This is why I adopted Jodo Shinshu as my Operating System. Every summer in June for the “Summer Fuken,” the min- isters of the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) come together for a study session. The Fuken is part of their continuing education programs. Fuken, (FUkyo-KENkyu- kai) is a Japanese term which means a “study session for research and propagation”. Last year, the chairman of the BCA Ministers’ Association, Rev. Jerry Hirano with the sup- port of Bishop Kodo Umezu, asked the ministers to share why they had chosen Jodo Shinshu as their religion. Sub- sequently, in the Fall, the ministers published a handout “Why Jodo Shinshu?” My response to t