Meditate Online

Have the holidays left you more stressed, than rested?

Here's an easy way to meditate, online. It includes a ringing bell and a program that automatically times the length of meditation you choose. Try it at home or at your office.


myzendo.com

A Zen Life

D.T. Suzuki is often credited with spreading interest in Zen and Shin Buddhism to North America. Interestingly, later in life Suzuki was more inclined to Jodo Shin (True Pure Land) practice on a personal level, seeing in the doctrine of Tariki, or other power as opposed to self power, an abandonment of self that is entirely complementary to Zen practice and yet to his mind even less willful than traditional Zen.
READ MORE ON WIKIPEDIA...

Director Michael Goldberg recently sent us this note about his film, "A Zen Life - D.T. Suzuki." It was one of the films recently shown at the Calgary Buddhist Film Series. The documentary is now for sale:


"A ZEN LIFE - D.T. Suzuki" is a 77-minute documentary about Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (1870-1966), credited with single-handedly introducing Zen Buddhism to the West.

D.T. Suzuki was highly successful at getting Westerners to appreciate the Japanese mentality, and Japanese to understand Western logic. The effect he had on Western psychoanalysis, philosophy, religious thinking, and the arts was profound. His numerous writings in English and Japanese serve as an inspiration even today. Dr. Suzuki message is all the more important now, in light of contemporary conflicts stemming from divergent ways of thinking.

Gary Snyder calls Dr. Suzuki "probably the most culturally significant Japanese person in international terms, in all of history."

Along with Gary Snyder, there are exclusive interviews of many people, respected in their own right, who knew D.T. Suzuki in person, including Huston Smith, Mihoko Okamura, Dr. Albert Stunkard, Elsie Mitchell,
Robert Aitken, Donald Richie, Wm. Theodore de Bary, and rare footage of Thomas Merton, John Cage, Erich Fromm, and Suzuki himself.

The DVD contains an additional 10-minutes from a hitherto unknown interview of Daisetz Suzuki by Huston Smith. There is also a printed "Supplementary Text" inserted in the case, with quotes from Dr. Suzuki's talks in English never before published.

"A ZEN LIFE - D.T. Suzuki" can be ordered at:
www.martygrossfilms.com

2008 New Year's Message from the Bishop

May I send my New Year’s Greetings to all the Nembutsu friends from east and west wishing your good health and spirit in this cold winter. Also I would share grief and sorrow with those who have lost their loved ones. May you find the peace and comfort in the Light of Compassion of Amida Buddha.

If you have a chance to see the statue of the Buddha closely, you will notice that his eyes half open and half closed, which is one of the numerous outstanding features of the Buddha, the Enlightened One. It is called HAN-GAN (half eyes), which symbolizes that he can see himself and also see outside.

It is important for an individual living as a responsible citizen in the society to be aware of what’s going on outside today, while it is good to cultivate the inner peace and tranquility.

However, it seems to me that we are surrounded with such a huge amount of information from radio, TV, newspapers and computer that we have some difficulty to pick and choose right information. This is one big reason that I would like to encourage everyone to have a quiet time before the shrine of the Buddha to meditate and receive the wisdom from the Buddha-Dharma.

One of the priorities in the New Year seems to be the awareness of climate change caused by global warming which may affect the life of each one of us directly or indirectly, as we are closely interrelated to each other.

Let us continue our effort to learn from Buddha-Dharma, while we can think of the best way to cope with climate change to take care of our own planet Mother Earth.

Namoamidabutsu,
Orai Fujikawa
Bishop, Buddhist Churches of Canada

Immeasurable Light and Life - 2008 New Year's Message from the Monshu

May we all continue to live every moment and every day of this year in appreciation of the Nembutsu.

I wonder how you all spent this past year. There are a number of armed conflicts all over the world and climate change seems to have occurred. Those whose work or daily lives have been directly affected by these things must feel particularly threatened, but even those of us who are not directly influenced feel somewhat anxious. All lives are interrelated, and therefore, armed conflicts or climate change cannot be regarded as the problems of other people. We must address them as issues that concern us all.

Some of you may wonder how peace issues and environment concerns are related with the teaching of the Buddha, or how on earth they are connected with being born in the Pure land to attain Buddhahood. I recognize that the basis of Buddhism is my attainment of enlightenment or my birth of in the Pure land, and so the teaching is not a wonder drug which can immediately solve those problems. Taking into account, however, the fact that the human race has caused serious problems on a global scale by pursuing self-centered desires without careful consideration, you cannot say that Buddhism is not irrelevant to these issues. Buddhists seek enlightenment because actual humans, due to their ignorance and blind passions, constantly cause damage to their own lives and the lives of others, thereby deepening everyone’s suffering. It is said that Bodhisattva, who are regarded as ideal beings in Buddhism, can not feel happy unless all others people also become happy. As we have been given only limited amounts of air and water on this planet, let us make every effort to lead a moderate way of life and realize a society where everyone helps each other, so that all people are able to live life fully and with joy.

OHTANI Koshin
Monshu
Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha

Cafe de Shinran




Looking for quick cup of tea and enlightenment in Tokyo? Why not try a restaurant in the area called “Café de Shinran”. Patrons can enjoy organic food and the temple’s Buddhist atmosphere. By the way, what are those monks drinking?

Tokyo Bouz Collection

Japanese Monks Stage Fashion Show
The fashion show opened with a Buddhist prayer set to a hip-hop beat at the centuries-old Tsukiji Honganji Temple, where nearly 40 monks and nuns from eight major Buddhist sects showed off elaborate robes in an effort to win back believers.

Five monks from each school walked on the runway, then chanted prayers and wrapped up in a grand finale with confetti resembling lotus petals.





READ MORE "JAPANESE MONKS STAGE FASHION SHOW...

Jodo Shinshu Reaches Out

In Japan, Jodo Shinshu Buddhists are reaching out with a fashion show and rap music.


Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple held an innovative and very extraordinary event called Tokyo Bouz Collection. This event is supposed to introduce Buddhism more casually to today’s people to make them feel that Buddhism is relevant by showing live music which is a mix of sermon and rap, bonzes’ costume display and meditation.


Japanese monks try to promote Buddhism through fashion, rap music
International Herald Tribune
December 15, 2007

In the "Tokyo Bouz (monk) Collection" held at Tsukiji Honganji, nearly 40 monks and nuns from eight major Buddhist sects joined in the event aimed at winning back believers.

Following a rap version of a Buddhist sutra, five monks from each school walked on the runway, then chanted prayers and wrapped up in a grand finale with confetti resembling lotus petals.

"We wanted to show the young people that Buddhism is cool, and temples are not a place just for funerals," said Koji Matsubara, a chief monk at Tsukiji.

More than 1,200 years after it first arrived from mainland Asia, Buddhism in Japan is in crisis, priests say. Almost three-quarters of Japan's population of 120 million are registered as Buddhist, but for many, the only time they enter a temple is to attend a funeral. That has sent many of the country's 75,000 temples into financial trouble.

"Many of us priests share the sense of crisis, and a need to do something to reach out to people," said priest Kosuke Kikkawa, 37, one of the organizers of Saturday's event. "We won't change Buddha's teachings, but perhaps we need a different presentation that can touch the feelings of the people today."

The Tsukiji Honganji offers theological seminars in English for foreign visitors, and has fitted its main hall with a pipe organ for Western-style weddings to attract young couples. Some other temples have also introduced cafes, art galleries and other innovations to reach out to young people who are interested in a different lifestyle.

Japan's aging population has meant more funerals, but the declining population and birth rate means fewer young people to share the bill to keep temples afloat.

Buddhist monks traditionally wear simple black robes. But to appeal to more fashion-conscious youth, the monks wore green and yellow clothes, some with gold embroidery. Others wore elaborate, multilayered robes.


"Their robes were gorgeous," said Sayaka Anma, one of the audience in her 20s, after the monks' show. "I was a bit surprised in the beginning, but it was very moving."
READ MORE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE...

Nembutsu Chanting

At the beginning of December, a group from the Buddhist House in Narborough village, just south of the city of Leicester in England gathered for their annual Bodhi Retreat. One of the rituals on this retreat is the wonderful chanting of the "24 Hour Nembutsu". Starting at noon, the group recites the Nembutsu until noon the following day. This was the third year they have held this marathon event.



Here is one person's recollection from the first time the group did it in 2005:

"Its hard to put into words this experience. There is much joy… as one settles into the nembutsu there are periods when everything else falls away; you become a communal act of worship, a coming together of people who share a similar path. The sound of the nembutsu at times almost shimmers around the hall. It is quite beautiful.Then there are times whem bombu nature kicks in. “Why are we doing this… I’m hungry… so-and-so is chanting flat… our team is struggling - why doesn’t someone from the other team swop and help us…. namo amida bu namo amida bu… i’m tired… namo amida bu… namo amida bu….”There’s a whole soap opera going on in one’s head, in each other’s heads and yet it is all held by the communal nembutsu… just as you are, just as it is. There are times when it may feel like the practice is very goal-oriented, about trying to last the whole 24 hours, or as long as one can, and then there are times when you realise that you have completely missed the point, that no one can do this by their own, unaided. That the whole twenty four hours enacts out our dependence; on Amida, on each other. The whole experience is transformed into a collective thank you! "


READ MORE...

Bombers have fan in the Dalai Lama

November 10, Winnipeg Free Press
By Joe Paraskevas

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have received all the inspiration they should need to win their playoff game Sunday. The Dalai Lama, one of the world's holiest figures, has emerged as a surprise Big Blue booster. "Victory to the Blue Bombers," he scribbled in Tibetan with a black Sharpie marker on some Winnipeg Blue Bomber equipment, adding his name to the lore of this city's Grey Cup-seeking CFL team.


Allan Nimmo/Special to the Winnipeg Free Press

The Bombers play the Montreal Alouettes in the East Division semifinal in Winnipeg on Sunday. The exiled Tibetan leader signed the helmet and an official CFL football as he flew to Ottawa two weeks ago.
READ THE ARTICLE IN THE WINNIPEG FREE PRESS...

Meditation Question

A recent e-mail:

Question:

I was wondering if you teach meditation to beginners? Where would I go for this, and when would I come if so. Thank you.

Answer:
We do some meditation in our Sunday Services. I also teach meditation on a biweekly basis for five meetings. That is coming to an end on Nov 8. If you want to drop by at 7pm then to observe that would be ok. The same is true for our Sunday services at 10:30am. some are formal and others are informal, still some are geared to meditation. There are also many groups in the city.

A word of advice:

1. There are many types of meditation. Choose a group and a teacher that suits you and your needs. Don't be afraid to change a few times until you are getting the work you need.

2. Meditation is so popular now that everyone is getting into the act. some teachers are borrowing extensively from Buddhism but do not give credit where credit is due. Other jump on the bandwagon and really don't know what they are doing. There is now money to be made, books to sell, and reputations to have; all at a great price.

3. To use Buddhist meditation is to have Buddhist experiences: awareness of the universal experience of suffering, universal compassion, relativity of all our identity scenarios, oneness with emptiness, moral and ethical groundedness, nirvana (end of ignorance, hatred and greed). Many people are not ready to face these and want a kind of feel-good escapism. They want to borrow status from their teacher and gain a spiritual superiority. This can be very misleading and waste years of effort.

Buddha Smiles
Sensei Ulrich

Birthday Celebration


On October 27th the elders enjoyed a delicious meal at the month end luncheon followed by cake in celebration of Mr. Hisao Kondo’s 90th birthday. Also in attendance for this joyous occasion was his wife Kay and daughters Shirley Teranishi and Brenda Marks.

Makes a Great Bodhi Day Gift!


Makes a Great Bodhi Day Gift!
The Buddhist Churches of Canada calendar is on sale soon. Makes sure to get one for you, your friends, and your family.
This is a preview of the Manitoba Buddhist Temple page. Proceeds go to the BCC Sustaining Fund and the Manitoba Buddhist Temple.

The Latest from Lethbridge

In Alberta, the amalgamation of the southern Alberta temples into the Buddhist Temple of Southern Alberta continues. And with that project, comes the building of a new temple in Lethbridge.

Architect drawings are near completion and construction should start in December. The building is expected to be completed by October 2008.


From the October issue of the Hikari - Newsletter of the Buddhist Federation of Alberta:

As everyone is aware, the Taber Buddhist Church has been sold with possession by the new buyer to take place on October 1st. Monday, September 17th was a sad day for Taber members as a group of volunteers gathered to dismantle the Butsudan. The only bright spot was that The Galt Museum has indicated that it will be honoured to accept donation of the Butsudan and will develop a display where it will be available to members well into the future. The kansho (bell), reputed to have the best sound of all the bells in southern Alberta has been selected for the new temple.

Bush Honours Dalai Lama

October 17, New York Times


Over furious objections from China and in the presence of President Bush, Congress on Wednesday bestowed its highest civilian honor on the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists whom Beijing considers a troublesome voice of separatism.
READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES...

Blessings of the Buddhas

Since it began in March 2001, more than two million people has seen the Relic Tour. This collection of historical Buddhist artifacts comes to Winnipeg on October 27 & 28 at the Hai Hoi Temple at 650 Burrows Avenue. Admission is free.

The exhibition contains more than 500 tiny pieces from at least seven collections of supposed remains of the historical Buddha, as well as another 500 pieces from 29 famous Buddhist saints and disciples ranging from ancient times to the present.


Relics of Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha who lived 2,500 years ago

The tour, organized by a Santa Cruz-based Tibetan monk, Lama Zopa Rimpoche, began in 2001 and was intended to end with the relics being enshrined in the heart portion of a huge, 500-foot-tall statue of Maitreya Buddha devoted to "loving kindness" in Kushinagar, India, where Buddha discarded the last of his earthly coils. This collection of holy relics will tour the world for public display until construction of the Maitreya Buddha statue has been completed. Until then, it is Rinpoche's wish that as many people as possible around the world be given the chance to receive the blessings of Maitreya Buddha and the holy relics.

The Maitreya Project has been controversial. Villagers and farmers are worried about being displaced by the giant statue. The project has also been accused of being materialistic.

Maitreya is the name of the expected next Buddha, and the tour and yet-to-be funded, $200-million statue are part of the Maitreya Project.


Shaku of Wondrous Grace

Yoshimaru Abe was an immigrant who came to Canada from Japan in 1927. He would live the ultimate Japanese-Canadian experience. Facing discrimination during the war and then experiencing hardship while trying to rebuild a life for his family, he was still able to maintain his culture and identity.

Now, a book has been released honouring Yoshimaru Abe. It's called "Shaku of Wondrous Grace: Through the Garden of Yoshimaru Abe" and it introduces us to a man who lived "creatively and simply" while having faith in Buddhism.

"Throughout his life, it was his strong belief in his Buddhist faith, and the grace of his living that enabled Yoshimaru to not only survive, but to flourish as a uniquely accomplished and caring individual." -excerpt from the book, "Shaku of Wondrous Grace"


Book signing by the authors at the Manitoba Japanese Cultural Centre

The book is written by Art Miki, Henry Kojima and Sylvia Jansen. It contains many photos from his life. As well as, many of the sketches that Abe drew and kept.


Sensei Ulrich believes Abe lived his life by the Universal Vow, I refuse to enter Nirvana until all other beings have entered first, before me. In the book, Sensei explains that the irony of this belief is by refusing salvation for oneself alone, one is saved. This is the grace that Abe-san lived in.

In 2006, when Yoshimaru Abe died, he received his Buddhist name from Sensei Ulrich. And now, that name is the title of the book, "Shaku of Wondrous Grace."
CLICK HERE TO GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BOOK...

What Makes Monks Mad

September 30, New York Times


As they marched through the streets of Myanmar’s cities last week leading the biggest antigovernment protests in two decades, some barefoot monks held their begging bowls before them. But instead of asking for their daily donations of food, they held the bowls upside down, the black lacquer surfaces reflecting the light. It was a shocking image in the devoutly Buddhist nation. The monks were refusing to receive alms from the military rulers and their families — effectively excommunicating them from the religion that is at the core of Burmese culture. That gesture is a key to understanding the power of the rebellion that shook Myanmar last week.


READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES...

At our Sunday service today, Sensei Ulrich wanted to discuss the situation in Burma. He wanted to hear our thoughts on religion and politics. Are church and state separate? Sensei told us some of the background on the how monks fit into Buddhist societies. As the monks beg for food in the streets, he described a relationship that evolves between the people, the monks, and the rulers (government). The monks count on the people for food. The people rely on the monks for dharma. The monks listen to the people. The monks become the voice of the people. The government listens to the monks so that they understand what is required of them. Their relationship is a triangle of interdependence and is well explained in the classic "The Buddha" by Trevor Ling (Penquin, 1973).

Unless you have a situation that is corrupt. (See wedding video of multi-million dollar wedding of Thandar Shwe, daughter of Burmese dictator Than Shwe)

The Burmese monks needed to help the people and make a stand. Sensei Ulrich ended our talk by asking us another question, how far we would have to be pushed before we took action?

Show support for the people of Burma.

Bonnie-Blake-Tittaferrante of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhists of Thunder Bay sent us this link to an online petition on Amnesty International web site.

Support the Monks in Burma

Monks’ Protest Is Challenging Burmese Junta
New York Times

BANGKOK, Monday, Sept. 24 — The largest street protests in two decades against Myanmar’s military rulers gained momentum Sunday as thousands of onlookers cheered huge columns of Buddhist monks and shouted support for the detained pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.


Buddhist monks led an protest through Yangon, Myanmar. The Associated Press estimated the crowd to be as large as 100,000 people.

The Buddhist Channel website has created this online petition:

A Petition Campaign for Buddhist Solidarity with the Monks and Nuns of Burma

"Love and kindness must win over everything"

We, the Buddhists of the world, implore the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC, the official name of the military regime of Burma (Myanmar)) to refrain from taking any actions that:

1. Physically harm the Buddhist monks and nuns participating in the protest marches currently taking place in major cities and towns in Burma
2. Infiltrate the protesting groups by pretending to be monks and nuns (via having the head shaven and dressing in monks' robes) and then instigitating violence from within through such pretension
3. Offer poisoned foods as alms (Dana)
4. Arresting and beating up people or persons who offers food and water (dana) to the monks
5. Arresting the protesting monks and treating them like criminals, such as catching the monks by lariats and ropes, tying them up with wires and strapping them onto electrical poles, slapping their cheeks, kicking them with military boots and hitting their heads with rifle butts.

We appeal to the members of the military regime to act in accordance with the sacred Buddha-Dharma, in the spirit of loving-kindness, compassion and non-violence.

We implore the millitary regime to accede to the wishes of the common people of Burma, to establish the conditions for the flowering of justice, democracy and liberty.

We wish to convey our admiration and support to the large number of Buddhists monks and fellow Dharma practitioners for advocating democracy and freedom in Burma, and would like to appeal to all freedom-loving people all over the world to support such non-violent movements.

We pray for the success of this peace movement and the early release of Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Show your support to the Burmese Sangha!


Please copy and print the above and galvanise a signature campaign within your community. Collect your list of signature and together with the message above, send it to the nearest Burmese Embassy in Ottawa.

Embassy of the Union Of Myanmar
Sandringham Building, 85 Range Road, Suite 902-903, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 8J6
Office hours: (Mon - Fri)
Tel: 00-613-232-6434
Fax: 00-613- 232-6435
E-mail: meott@magma.ca

Dalai Lama to Meet Canadian PM

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will meet with the Dalai Lama in October. The meeting has Chinese officials very upset. Especially since the meeting will take place on government grounds.

"We are against the provision of venues by foreign countries to the Dalai Lama's secessionist activities and also against foreign dignitaries meeting with him." -Statement by Chinese officials to the Globe and Mail


The Chinese, who have run a behind-the-scenes campaign to prevent a formal meeting between the Tibetan leader and the prime minister, claim that the Dalai Lama is not a mere religious figure. Instead, they argue that he is a political figure who aims to split their country apart.

The Dalai Lama has had positive results recently on the world stage. Last year, U.S. President George W. Bush signed a bill giving the Dalai Lama a Congressional Gold Medal, once again over Chinese objections. More recently, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to meet with the Dalai Lama at the chancellery in Berlin in September.

By the way, did you know that the Dalai Lama and George W. Bush have the same birthday (July 6). A good reason not to depend on astrology.


The Dalai Lama is welcomed to the White House by President Bush on September 10, 2003. (White House)

BCC Day - October 28, 2007

As we celebrate the achievements of the past year, I would like to thank you, our ministers, members and friends for your extraordinary support of the Buddhist Churches of Canada (BCC).

At the 2007 BCC Annual General Meeting in Calgary, a commitment of $55 per member assessment fee was ratified by the member temples. These commitments are essential for the sustained health of our organization to support many of the programs which otherwise would become the responsibility of individual temples. However, the temple assessment fees are usually not sufficient to meet the demands of today’s rising costs and inflation. Each year, BCC is faced with a deficit.

The Buddhist Churches of Canada established BCC Day with the hope that all temples would observe the day with a service. It was felt that a Sunday in October would be the most appropriate as it commemorates the founding of Jodo Shinshu in Canada in 1905. Envelopes for the BCC Day konshi are distributed to temple members preferably through the monthly newsletters or at the temple itself.

This unrestricted fund enables the BCC to assign funding to areas essential for the propagation of Jodo Shinshu in Canada. This important fund offers BCC the flexibility to address its most pressing needs, while at the same time allows for the chance to participate in unscheduled opportunities as they arise.

In the year 2006, the fund received $11,170.94 and we are most grateful to the many donors who contributed to our success. In 2007, we can top the $15,000 or even more if all of our ministers, members and friends participate with the BCC Service Day konshi.

Your support in this initiative plays a major role in sustaining a healthy and vibrant religious institution. Each one of you makes a lasting difference. On behalf of the Ministers and Directors of BCC, thank you for your confidence and continual support.

In gassho,

Jim Hisanaga, President

True Compassion

The following is a letter sent to the White House in 2001, stating the feelings of all Higashi Honganji ministers regarding the World Trade Center tragedy and their future American foreign policy.

September 24, 2001

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President

The terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C. on September 11th have brought tremendous confusion and suffering. We, the followers of Shin Buddhism, express our deepest condolences to the victims, their families and friends. This tragedy reminds all of us how helpless we are in the face of such a catastrophe where only sadness, pain, and anger remain.

However, while we do not accept any act, terrorist or otherwise, in which the dignity of human life is ignored, we cannot condone any retaliatory acts that can lead to war. Such actions will only result in spreading more hatred and violence throughout the world and lead to the suffering of innocent victims. We therefore urge you to seek a course of non-violent action to detain and bring before a world forum of justice, those who may be responsible for the acts of September 11, 2001. We further urge you to seek a way of building bridges of understanding and reconciliation with all those who have harmed us. In addition, we ask that you do everything possible to defend the safety and rights of citizens here in the United States who may be targeted because of their ethnic or religious background.

Six years ago, in June 1995, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, our Headquarters, Shinshu Otani-ha of Kyoto, Japan, issued an Anti-War Statement which reaffirmed that all followers of our tradition should do our best to work for world peace and walk the same path as all people, regardless of their ethnicity, language, culture, and religion. Buddhism is a religion to free oneself from sufferings, one of which is the attachment to one’s own views and the imposing of it on others. This attachment hinders true dialogue.

The terrorist attacks and the probable American retaliation reconfirm the urgent need for our pledge to be practiced. The primary wish of all humanity, past, present, and future, is to live peacefully in a world free from discrimination. Only through realizing this universal wish, may all human beings be united as one.

It is our fervent hope that America display her greatness by looking deeply into the nature of all suffering and showing true Compassion.

Respectfully,

Ministers of Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temples
(North America and Hawaii Districts.)

Shinran Shonin - A Symbol of Peace

On the anniversary of 9-11, we looked for a symbol of peace and harmony. We found this video taken at the New York Buddhist Temple. In such a big and busy city, it is interesting to see Shinran standing there all alone. The statue of Shinran Shonin survived the bombing of HIroshima. It was brought to New York as a symbol of peace. The person who posted it says that children usually leave paper cranes at his feet.


The New York Buddhist Temple is led by Sensei Nakagaki. He has been called upon to lead the lead the Buddhist and interfaith community during the memorials of 9-11.


Sensei Nakagaki and Socho Ogui at the 9-11 ceremony, 2002

Every year, since 9-11, the New York Buddhist Temple has Memorial Floating Lanterns Ceremony. It is an ancient Japanese custom of floating lighted lanterns in waterways. It symbolizes respect for the lives of people who have gone before us (Obon). It is a quiet and serene ceremony that provides a place to reaffirm our commitment to building a peaceful future and to pay respect to the lost lives at the World Trade Center.


9-11 Memorial Floating Lanterns Ceremony in New York

READ MORE about Sensei Nakagaki in this article by the New York Times Magazine.

Calgary Buddhist Film Series

Seven films in four days. In you are in the Calgary area, go, see, and participate in the Calgary Buddhist Film Series. Each film will be followed by discussion moderated by Buddhist teachers, including Sensei Ulrich of the Manitoba Buddhist Temple. Did we happen to mention that admission is FREE!

Niigata Earthquake Relief

On July 16, 2007, a powerful earthquake magnitude 6.8 struck the northwest Niigata region of Japan. There were several deaths and numerous injuries. Buildings were destroyed. The earthquake created havoc to large manufacturing facilities such as Toyota, Mazda and Honda and caused minor damage to the electrical transformer at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant. The earthquake also affected 80 Jodo Shinshu Temples in the region.


Tasukei Campaign
Hongwanji, the headquarters of Jodo Shinshu in Kyoto, has asked Canadians to assist these temples by contributing to the Tasukei Campaign. Your support will make a tremendous difference and will be wisely spent to rebuild these wooden structures. To help, make a donation to your local temple by October 16, 2007. Tax deductible receipts will be issued.

More from the Simpsons

Another big event this summer was the Simpsons movie. Forget about Homer and Bart, Lisa is the real hero of the Simpsons. She's the heart and soul of the family. She's smart and compassionate. She's a musician, a vegetarian and a Buddhist. Here's more from the Simpsons episode, "She of Little Faith."


More from this episode is posted on an earlier blog page.

Shin Buddhist Conference in Calgary

Forget the Stampede, Calgary was the place to be this summer to learn more about Shin Buddhism.

During the August long weekend, scholars from around the world attended the 13th Biennial International Association of Shin Buddhist Studies Conference. The event was hosted by Dr. Leslie Kawamura and the University of Calgary. Dr. Kawamura is also the Director of the Living Dharma Centre which is a part of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada.

The gathering was open to all sects of Pure Land Buddhism, so not everyone there was Jodo Shinshu. This made for some interesting discussions between the various forms of Pure Land teachings from several countries. There were also very creative presentations. They included one on humour in Buddhism and in particular in Buddhist texts. It was presented by a Sensei from a remote part of Australia. A very isolated Buddhist, humor was his way of coping with his situation.

Many students attended from the Institute of Buddhist Studies located in California. They were interested in discussions about the past and the present situations in Buddhism.

Following the conference, one of the delegates, Dr. Kenneth Tanaka was invited to give a special presentation at the Calgary Buddhist Temple. Dr. Tanaka wrote the book "Ocean" which has become a classic in Shin Buddhism.

His personal feelings about Amida Buddha came through as he described the beauty of the giant redwoood trees in California. He explained that to appreciate and care about nature and the environment, we can also appreciate Amida in our daily lives. He believes that living a life of gratitude throught the Nembutsu, reciting "Namu Amida Butsu" will lead you to access the truth and vitality in Shin Buddhism.

Q: Why couldn't the Buddha vacuum under the sofa?
A: He had no attachments.

Throughout his talk, Dr. Tanaka lightened the mood with Buddhist humor while enlightening the audience on Shin spirituality. The event ended a weekend of listening and sharing the dharma.
MORE FROM THE CALGARY BUDDHIST TEMPLE...

First Slurpee

Not sure many of you know this, but Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada is the Slurpee capital of the world. We have retained the title for eight years in a row. Besides sales of over 8,000 drinks per store, per month, a spokesperson for 7-11 says one of the reasons for the Winnipeg winning the title is, where else would someone be drinking a Slurpee in -40'C weather.

7-Eleven began selling Slurpees, then called Icees, in its stores in the United States in 1965. Despite its history in North America, this eighteenth-generation Jodo Shinshu priest recently had his first one. Socho Koshin Ogui Sensei has been a resident of the United States since 1962, but he he seems to be enjoying his first Slurpee.


courtesy bcayouth.org

Socho Ogui became minister of the Cleveland Buddhist Temple in 1977 and of the Midwest Buddhist Temple in Chicago in 1992. In 2004, he was appointed Socho (Bishop) of the Buddhist Churches of America and has been instrumental in the ongoing revitalization and outreach efforts of that organization. THe is the author of "Zen Shin Talks", and now lives in San Francisco.

For an interesting article on Socho Ogui's view on Jodo Shinshu and meditation, read this recent article from tricycle Magazine.

Jodo Shinshu In Montreal

For an interesting historical look at Jodo Shinshu and how it came to Canada, here is a report conducted by students at McGill University. The Montreal Religious Sites Project was set up to give the public an understanding of our multicultural society in Canada. They did this by documenting the religious sites of the ethnic and religious minorities in the city of Montreal.

The project was conducted by Prof. Victor Sogen Hori, who was ordained in Japan as a Zen monk in 1976. He is a professor of Japanese religions in the Faculty of Religious Studies at McGill University. Hori was the guest speaker at the Buddhist Churches of Canada annual general meeting in 2006.

The reports were done by students as part of a course in Religious Studies. In most cases, several students studied a single religious site. Moarco Ovolio reported on the Montreal Buddhist Church.


Ovolio writes in his conclusion:

The difficult situation that the MBC (Montreal Buddhist Church) finds itself in today is largely a consequence of the fact that the experience and function of Jodo Shinshu in North America has been more or less the opposite of other Buddhist schools that migrated here in the twentieth century, such as Zen and Tibetan Buddhism. Where others were welcomed by and opened up to affluent North American culture, Jodo Shinshu was the focal point of an oppressed, alienated and far from wealthy demographic. Even its Christianization, paradoxically, was part of the effort to preserve a Japanese national consciousness. However, with this experience receding further from the present reality for Japanese Canadians and turning more and more into history, Jodo Shinshu temples and churches no longer need to function as the anchors of their communities’ social life and culture. If the Montreal Buddhist Church and others like it are to survive, they will have to shed the skin of their former functions and discover a new niche in North American society.

It's something to think about as we continue into the future.

Prof. Hori is currently working on a major exhibit at the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, titled "Buddhism in Canada."

Uma's Dad

Summary only available when permalinks are enabled. Read More...

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

In response to Sensei's Dharma talk on "A Thousand Winds," we received this e-mail:

I read through the temple website recently and was stunned to find my favorite poem! I first heard the poem featured at a funeral of a character on the TV soap, Coronation Street. I researched a bit and found that the author is supposedly Mary Elizabeth Frye (1904-2004) but no one is really sure she wrote it originally.


It was neither published nor copyrighted by Frye, although she was the only living person to credibly claim its authorship. Frye is near universally cited as the author, and her literary significance is based almost entirely upon it, but other sources, including traditional native American origins, have been suggested over the years.

Read her obituary from The Times.

Thanks for your help!

Copying Sutras to Boost Brain Power

This article by Jeff Wilson was found on the Tricycle Blog:

One aspect of aging that many Japanese greatly fear is memory loss. To combat this scourge, a number of Buddhist options have appeared. A popular one is pillow covers blessed by Buddhist monks to ward off dementia. These items are purchased at temples and taken home to be put on your bed pillows. As you sleep on them, the power of the Dharma helps ward off senility and other mental problems. Perhaps this is the religious equivalent of students putting their textbooks under their pillows so they'll pass a test the next day.
The Japan Times carried a story about another strategy. Some temples, such as Honjuin, a Tendai temple in Tokyo, offer Sutra copying to visitors in order to prevent memory loss. This is an ancient practice: laypeople have been sponsoring the copying of Sutras or doing it themselves for centuries in an effort to bring about all sorts of results, medical and otherwise. But now there seems to be some science to back the practice up. Dr. Kawashima Ryuta of Tohoku University discovered that copying Sutras promotes brain activity in senior citizens.

Want to try it out yourself? You don't even have to go to temple. Higashi Honganji, one of the largest Buddhist denominations in Japan, offers English-speakers the chance to copy a holy text online. Technically, it's a commentary, not a Sutra, though the text itself (Tannisho) is revered above many Sutras in the Jodo Shinshu tradition. Higashi Honganji doesn't promise memory retention, only that it can help settle your mind.

Jeff Wilson is a contributing editor to Tricycle magazine and the web site, Killing The Buddha. A Ph.D. candidate in Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he is dual-trained in Buddhist Studies and American Religious History. Jeff is a certified Lay Teacher in the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist tradition.

Another Wonder

Here is an e-mail received this week:

I would nominate the Elora and Ajanta caves in India as potential Buddhist wonders of the world. There is a Hindu element there as well, but you can't really escape that in India. I've been there and have been in awe of what these stone carvers have done. It's all made of one rock and has been carved into the cliff. Nothing was brought in. The other interesting feature is that is shows a transition in Buddhist thinking where originally the depiction of living beings was forbidden, and then later approved and utilized.





A first-hand account is always good. Thanks for your e-mail.

Seven Buddhist Wonders

On July 7, the New Seven Wonders of the World will be announced in Lisbon, Portugal. Only one of the ancient wonders of the world (pyramids of Giza) still survives, so history lovers are being invited to choose a new list of seven.

But what about a list of the Seven Wonders of the Buddhist World? What would you nominate? If you want to make a suggestion click on the "Comments" below the posting. Here are seven choices in no particular order:


1. Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, China
This was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama. The 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala, India after a failed uprising in 1959. Today the Potala Palace is a state museum of China. It is a popular tourist attraction, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Lumbini's Garden, Rupandehi District, Lumbini Zone of Nepal
The birthplace of the Gautama Buddha, Lumbini, is the Mecca of every Buddhist, being one of the four holy places of Buddhism. Lumbini is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The holy site of Lumbini has ruins of ancient monasteries, a sacred Bodhi tree, an ancient bathing pond, the Asokan pillar and the Mayadevi temple, where the precise place of birth of Buddha is located.

From early morning to early evening, pilgrims from various countries perform chanting and meditation at the site. It is said in the Parinibbana Sutta that Buddha himself identified four places of future pilgrimage: the sites of his birth, enlightenment, first discourse, and death. All of these events happened outside in nature under trees. While there is not any particular significance in this, other than it perhaps explains why Buddhists have always respected the environment and natural law.

3. Bamyan Buddhas, on the Silk Road in Afghanistan
In March 2001, the Taliban destroyed the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world. The statues were embedded in a mountain on the famous Silk Road. They claimed that they were false idols contrary to their Islamic beliefs.

In the summer of 2006, Afghan officials were deciding the timetable for the re-construction of the statues. While they wait for the Afghan government and international community decide whether to rebuild them, a $1.3 million UNESCO-funded project is sorting out the chunks of clay and plaster, ranging from boulders weighing several tons to fragments the size of tennis balls.

The government has also approved the proposal of the Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata to mount a $64 million sound-and-laser show starting in 2009 that would project Buddha images at Bamiyan, powered by hundreds of windmills that would also supply electricity to surrounding residents.

Bamyan was the site of several Buddhist and Hindu monasteries, and a thriving center for religion, philosophy, and Greco-Buddhist art. It was a Buddhist religious site from the second century up to the time of the Islamic invasion in the ninth century.

The site was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site along with surrounding cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamyan Valley.
Read BBC Report, "Artist to recreate Afghan Buddhas...

4. Borobudur Temple, near Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia
In 1814, the British Lieutenant Governor of Java sent a survey team to verify reports of an impressive monument located at the center of the island of Java. For six weeks, a crew of 200 men labored to clear away the soil, volcanic ash and vegetation that buried the said sanctuary, unearthing what turned out to be one of the greatest archaeological finds of the modern era.


The largest Buddhist temple in the world comprises six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues.

Evidence suggests Borobudur was abandoned following the fourteenth century decline of Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms in Java, and the Javanese conversion to Islam. It was rediscovered in 1814 by Sir Thomas Raffles, the British ruler of Java.

The monument is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Borobudur is still used for pilgrimage, where once a year Buddhist in Indonesia celebrate Vesak at the monument, and Borobudur is Indonesia's single most visited tourist attraction.

5. Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto, Japan
Among 20 locations short listed for the worldwide vote for the new Seven Wonders is the the Kiyomizu Temple.

Although Kiyomizudera was founded in 780 AD, the present buildings date from 1633. Kiyomizudera's architecture has been imitated by lesser temples all over Japan and it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

The expression "to jump off the stage at Kiyomizu" is the Japanese equivalent of the English expression "to take the plunge." This refers to an Edo period tradition that held that, if one were to survive jumping from the terrace, one's wish would be granted. This does appear plausible: the lush vegetation below the platform might cushion the 13-meter fall of a lucky pilgrim, though the practice is now prohibited. 234 jumps were recorded in the Edo period and of those, 85.4% survived.

6. Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion Temple), Kyoto, Japan
Acutally covered in gold, this Zen temple was formally known as Rokuonji. In 1397, construction started on the Golden Pavilion as part of a new residence for the retired shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. Kinkakuji was converted into a Zen temple after Yoshimitsu's death in 1408.

The Golden Pavilion functions as shariden, housing sacred relics of the Buddha and is covered in gold leaf. The present building dates from 1955 as the pavilion was burnt by a fanatic monk in 1950.


7. The Giant Buddha of Leshan, China
The tallest stone Buddha statue in the world was carved out of a cliff face by an 8th-century monk in southern Szechuan province, near the city of Leshan. The Giant Buddha lies at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers. It faces the sacred Mount Emei (with which it shares its World Heritage status), with the rivers flowing below his feet.

Construction on the Giant Buddha began in 713 AD. It was the idea of a Chinese monk named Haitong, who hoped that the Buddha would calm the turbulent waters that plagued the shipping vessels travelling down the river.

The construction resulted in so much stone being removed from the cliff face and deposited into the river below that the currents were altered by the statue, making the waters safe for passing ships as the monk had hoped. There are still some vicious currents where the three rivers meet - but none that threaten the tourist ferries.

It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
sources: Wikipedia.com, Japan-Guide.com, Sacred Destinations Travel Guide

A Thousand Winds

Further to Sensei Ulrich's Dharma Talk....

Tenor Masafumi Akikawa originally released this song in May 2006.

"Sen no Kaze ni Natte" has been selling incredibly well since Akikawa's appearance at last year's Kohaku Uta Gassen (New Year's program on NHK TV in Japan). In January, the single became the first by a classical artist to reach #1 on the charts in Japan.

The song's total sales are over 500,000 copies, breaking the record for a single by a classical Japanese artist. Akikawa also holds the records for highest-ranking album and best-selling album by a Japanese vocalist.


Free Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

On May 25th, the Burmese military regime extended the house arrest of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi by another year. Aung San Suu Kyi, now aged 61, has been under house arrest since May 2003 after the regime's militia attacked her convoy and killed up to 100 of her supporters.

On October 14, 1991, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her nonviolent struggle on behalf of democracy and human rights. Being under house arrest, she was unable to accept the award in person. Her sons accepted it on their mother’s behalf.

As a child, Suu Kyi conquered a fear of the dark by standing alone at night in her family’s rambling lakeside home. Now she has spent the best part of sixteen years confined to it. She battles her isolation with the same single-mindedness, sustained by her faith, Buddhism.

Amnesty International says in its latest annual report that the state of human rights in Burma has worsened. Buddhism is the majority religion in Burma and almost all the rulers claim to be Buddhists, but even Buddhists in Burma have no freedom. The country's current regime is ‘religionless’ and shows no no value to their own people. Buddhist monks have been jailed for protesting against the ruling military government. Security forces have also destroyed or looted Buddhist temples, churches and mosques of other ethnic communities.

The military rulers do not worry about killing Buddhist monks while they claim to adhere to Buddhism. The Burmese authorities have stepped up repressions across the country and there are 1185 political prisoners there. The EU and the USA have imposed sanctions on Burma.

On June 6, the Canadian Parliament reinforced their policy on this issue, "We are very proud to announce that our motion requesting the Burmese Government to release Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest was passed with the unanimous consent of the House, " said Larry Bagnell, Chairman of Parliamentary Friends of Burma.

Under house arrest, Suu Kyi meditates and memorizes Buddhist sutras. Her speeches and essays include frequent references to Buddhist principles.


REM's Michael Stipe narrates this PSA for Aung San Suu Kyi, the world's only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Produced in association with MTV UK

FOR MORE BACKGROUND:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/1950505.stm
http://www.dassk.com/index.php

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
http://www.bpf.org/html/home.html
http://www.cfob.org/

Our First Advertisement

No, this doesn't mean we will start having pop-ups and ads blinking all over our site. But we would like to direct you to the BCA (Buddhist Churches of America) Bookshop. It's located in the new Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley, California.


The Online BCA Bookstore is virtual, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's a great online store to purchase books on Jodo Shinshu and other Buddhist merchandise. The prices are in US but there is little difference now between our loonie and the American dollar. So another good reason to shop.


They will be adding extra features as new items are introduced, so they request you come back regularly.


You can online order from their web site or contact: sales@bcabookstore.com or phone (510) 809-1435, Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT.

By the way, in the bottom left corner of the web site there is an odd reminder for a Buddhist store.....

Are You Ready?
Just 203 days 'til Christmas!

More from the Buddhist Churches of Canada AGM

Delegates at the 2007 Annual General Meeting in Calgary voted to change the name of the Buddhist Churches of Canada. The new name will be the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada. Evolution brought about the change. Delegates wanted recognition of the Jodo Shinshu sect of Buddhism in the title and also have the word “church” removed. Following the Second World War, Japanese-Canadians used the word, “church” to assimilate their religion in Canadian society. The change in name will go into effect following approval by Industry Canada.

Sadly, the Board of Directors accepted the withdrawal and closing of the Alberta’s oldest temple. The Raymond Buddhist Church has closed its doors after 78 years. Raymond members will attend one of the remaining four Alberta temples. Together, they form the newly amalgamated Buddhist Temple of Southern Alberta. The group has purchased land in the city of Lethbridge and hopes to complete construction of a new building in 2008.

Calgary also hosted the first gathering of representatives of the Living Dharma Centre. Led by Dr. Leslie Kawamura of Calgary, a Board of Directors was chosen to begin work on projects, programs, and activities propagating Jodo Shinshu Buddhism.

The BCC Women's Federation will continue to support a Jodo Shinshu Hospital in Kenya. BCCWF members appreciated the presentation by Rocky Oishi who had photographed Kenyan Buddhists in their activities.

The Ministerial Association introduced their theme for 2007. “Encounter the Dharma, Namo Amida Butsu” will include the creation of a full-size wall calendar. Sponsorships for each month of the calendar will be sold to raise money for the BCC Sustaining Fund.

The Vancouver Buddhist Temple will host the 2008 general meeting. If construction is complete on the new Buddhist temple in Lethbridge, Southern Albertans have volunteered to host the 2009 meeting with the Manitoba Buddhist Temple as a backup, if required.
SEE MORE PHOTOS...

The Spirit of Jodo Shinshu

Neither monk nor layperson - The Spirit of Jodo Shinshu
The slow fragmentation of Jodo Shinshu within the international scene is becoming more noticeable. In the North American context, attendance in temples is dwindling. In response to this, those organizations that are importing other forms of practice - Zen-style meditations, Hindu Yoga, Western Psychology, European Japanization - seem to be doing better.

Should this trend be of concern at all?
How might we respond to this trend - academically? sociologically? psychologically? culturally? linguistically? methodologically? ritually?
organizationally? historically?


The 13th Biennial International Association of Shin Buddhist Studies Conference will be held at the University of Calgary on August 3, 4, and 5.

Papers can be given in Japanese or in English. Registration of $100 US or $110 CDN. includes book of abstracts, collection of papers, conference coffee breaks and lunches (on Friday and Saturday), an conference dinner on Saturday evening. Abstracts for papers will be received until June 5 and full papers until June 30. On Sunday an optional trip to Lake Louise and lunch at the Banff Springs Hotel is planned at extra cost.

Registration form containing information on Hotel and University Residence can be obtained by e-mailing Dr. Leslie Kawamura, Department of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary: kawamura@ucalgary.ca

Construction Zone

If you haven't heard already, the Health Sciences Centre Hospital is putting up a new 1200 stall parkade beside our temple.

They took all the trees
Put 'em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em


For us, it will mean a new address. Our front street will become Tecumseh Street, instead of Winnipeg Avenue. To accommodate a drop-off point and special events parking, there will be a small road built to the east of the temple garage, running south to what was Winnipeg Avenue. Eventually, there will also be a signal light placed at the corner of Tecumseh and Notre Dame. The project is scheduled for completion in September 2008.

Don't it always seem to go
That you dont know what youve got
Till its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

And while there will be more traffic and we may lose some sunshine, it will clean up the area a bit. Beyond all that, I'm sorry, I just can't get that song out of my head every-time I walk by the construction site. With respect to Joni Mitchell.

Instead of a sod turning, Health Sciences Centre will be hosting a "Mother Earth event" for the parkade. It will take place Friday, June 8th at 9:00 am. The public is invited.

Toddler's Dance Destroys Monks' Intricate Sand Painting

May 23, 2007 The Kansas City Star

Talk about a test of faith.

Eight Tibetan monks spent two days cross-legged on the floor at Union Station, leaning over to meticulously create an intricate design of colored sand as an expression of their Buddhist faith. They were more than halfway done. And then, within seconds, their work was destroyed by a toddler.


Video from the Associated Press

Monks are bald, so they couldn’t rip their hair out. But were they angry? Did they curse?
READ THE ARTICLE AND WATCH THE VIDEO...

Temples of the Whale

Great report by the BBC on whaling in Japan. The article tells us how Jodo Shinshu Buddhism explains the tolerance for this act which some Westerners find inhumane. It also helps us to understand the love, compassion, and reality, we face in our daily lives.


The writer goes to the Koganji Temple in Nagato, Japan. He speaks to Buddhist monk, Kensai Matsumura to explain the history of whaling and Buddhism in this fishing village.


This tells a story concerning Shinran Shonin (the founder of the sect). "He was in a fishing village in 1207. A fisherman and his wife approached him and told of their worries, saying 'we live on catching fish and eating them and selling them - would we go to hell after we die?' "And monk Shonin said, 'if you thank them and give proper service to them, praying for the resting in peace of those fish, then there will be no problem at all'. The husband and wife listened and cried with relief on hearing this."


READ THE BBC ARTICLE...

Vesak

What is Vesak?
The Buddhist Channel, April 30, 2007
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- Vesak (Sinhalese) is the most holy time in the Buddhist calendar. In Indian Mahayana Buddhist traditions, the holiday is known by its Sanskrit equivalent, Vaisakha. Due to the leap year in the lunar calendar, Vesak is celebrated on both May 1 and 31 in 2007 (varies according to countries). The word Vesak itself is the Sinhalese language word for the Pali variation, "Visakha". Visakha/Vaisakha is the name of the second month of the Indian calendar.

On Vesak Day, Buddhists all over the world commemorate events of significance to Buddhists of all traditions: The Birth, Enlightenment and the Passing Away of Gautama Buddha. The exact date of Vesak is defined according to the astrological calendar, as the time of the full moon of Taurus, which corresponds to the birth, enlightenment (Nirvana) and the passing away (Parinirvana) of Gautama Buddha. According to the Chinese Lunar calendar, Vesak is usually celebrated on the full moon day of the fourth month.

For this year 2007 however, there are two full moon days in the month of May. Some countries have opted to celebrate on the first full moon (May 1) based on the resolution passed at Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists in 1950, whereas others have chosen to do so on the second full moon day (May 31), based on the traditional chinese calendar.

The decision to agree to celebrate Vesak as the Buddha’s birthday was formalized at the first Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists (W.F.B.) held in Sri Lanka in 1950, although festivals at this time in the Buddhist world are a centuries-old tradition.

The Resolution that was adopted at the World Conference reads as follows:

"That this Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, while recording its appreciation of the viscous act of His Majesty, the Maharaja of Nepal in making the full-moon day of Vesak a Public Holiday in Nepal, earnestly requests the Heads of Governments of all countries in which large or small number of Buddhists are to be found, to take steps to make the full-moon day in the month of May a Public Holiday in honour of the Buddha, who is universally acclaimed as one of the greatest benefactors of Humanity."


Where Vesak is celebrated in 2007 (brackett denotes what the public holiday is called in each respective country).
May 1: Sri Lanka (Vesak), Malaysia (Wesak), Cambodia (Visaka Bochea - Buddha Day), Myanmar (Kason Full Moon - Buddha Day)
May 2: Nepal - (Buddha Jayanti - Buddha Day), Laos - (Vesak), India (Buddha Purnima - Buddha Day), Bangladesh (Buddha Purnima - Buddha Day)
May 24: Hong Kong (Buddha's Birthday), South Korea (Seokka Tanshin-il - Buddha's Birthday), Macau (Buddha's Birthday), Taiwan (Buddha's Birthday)
May 31: Singapore (Vesak), Thailand (Visakha Bucha Day)
June 1: Bhutan (Buddha Day), Indonesia (Waisak - Buddha Day)

In Japan, Buddhists including the Jodo Shinshu sect, celebrate Buddha's birthday on April 8 as Hanamatsuri.

Among the events in Winnipeg, there will be a "Blue Moon Buddha Birthday" celebration at the St. Norbert Arts Centre on Sunday, May 31. The program includes a lantern procession, chanting of loving kindness and insight meditation. Radhika, a teacher from the Sri Lankan community, and Sensei Ulrich of the Manitoba Buddhist Temple will each give a dharma talk. There will be music, tea and snacks in the gallery.

John Safran vs God

Read More...

Into Great Silence

"Exhilarating...abounds in beautiful images..." VARIETY
"Unexpected and exhilarating... ” THE NATION
"One of the best films of the year..." NEW YORK TIMES

Our friends at the Cinematheque Theatre in Winnipeg invite you to see "Into Great Silence". Its the first film ever made chronicling life inside the Grande Chartreuse, one of the world's most ascetic monasteries. Monks dedicate themselves entirely to the service of God and to spiritual life, in complete silence. A filmmaker and his crew live in the monks' quarters for six months. They record their daily prayers, tasks, rituals and rare outdoor excursions. This transcendent, closely observed film seeks to embody a monastery, rather than simply depict one. it has no score, no voiceover and no archival footage. What remains is stunningly elemental, just time, space and light.


Into Great Silence (2006) (164 mins.) By Phillip Groning
June 4-7 at 7:00 PM, Cinematheque Theatre in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Jodo Shinshu High School

Imagine a high school that has a curriculum based on Jodo Shinshu Buddhist teachings. Its more than an idea. In Hawaii, they are about to graduate their first class of students.

INCENSE drifts through this small school overlooking a white Buddhist temple in Nuuanu. Students and faculty bow their heads before and after class, and misbehaving children must do yoga and meditation as an alternative to suspension. Four years after opening, the Pacific Buddhist Academy, the only Shin Buddhist high school in the country, will graduate its first class Friday. Fourteen seniors will get their diplomas and chant in a ceremony at the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin temple, just steps away from a college preparatory school that taught them as much about math and science as it did about respect, gratitude and peace.


READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE FROM THE HONOLULU STAR BULLETIN...

First Experience in a Jodo Shinshu Temple

In the Editor's Blog, we are on the lookout for interesting posts and articles. This posting came the blog, GODZ. The aim of this blog is to write about different religious experiences in various churches, mosques or temples. In this post, they attend a Buddhist temple. The article begins by being quite skeptical of Buddhism as a current trend.

As the sensei said in temple, your practice should be whatever floats your boat, but I'm talking about the kind of yogi who spends 400$ on a new meditation cushion or yoga mat and another 1,500 dollars on their yoga clothes.


After attending the temple, they have these observations after attending their first Jodo Shinshu service.

The sensei seemed real, honest, intelligent and content. It did not bother him that the folding chairs were only 1/5th full. I got the sense that he might actually have some inner peace.


The writer seemed to lump Buddhism with the "new age" movement. Buddhism is not new age. Jodo Shinshu is not new age. It is old age. It has a rich history. The writer seems to understand and appreciate this knowledge in the end.
READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE...

Thanks to Calgary

Recently, we were in Calgary for the Buddhist Churches of Canada annual general meeting. One of the changes that came out of that meeting was that the BCC will change its name to the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada (JSBTC).

The Manitoba Buddhist Temple would like to thank all the organizers and volunteers in Calgary for their work that weekend. They were wonderful hosts and now, good friends.

One of the ideas we heard that interested us, was creating a Buddhist Film Festival. The Calgary Buddhist Temple organized one last year that was a big success. It was held at a public library and included discussions about the films. Would the general public in Winnipeg be interested in an event like this?

Here's an example of an International Buddhist Film Festival in Singapore. I would attend just to see Lisa Simpson on the big screen. In the meantime, here she is on the computer screen.


We would also like to thank Calgary for creating at link on their web site to us. So right back at you, go to the Calgary Buddhist Temple web site for more information on Jodo Shinshu Buddhism in the Calgary area.

Visitors from around the World

We relaunched the Manitoba Buddhist Temple web site at the beginning of 2007. In just two months, we have had over 1,000 visitors to our site from all over the world.


In the next phase of this web site, we hope to introduce more people to the Jodo Shinshu sect of Buddhism. This will be a place for the editors of this web site to share their thoughts, web sites, and recent news of the world.