Celebrating Shinran Shonin's 750th Memorial
“The more we can we can join in the joy and sorrow of as many people as possible, with the support and guidance by a warm compassion and wisdom of Amida Tathagata, the more our lives and the world will be enriched.”

Those were the words transmitted from his eminence, Gomonshu Koshin Ohtani, as a congregation of over one-hundred people gathered at the Manitoba Buddhist Temple for the 750th Memorial Celebration of Shinran Shonin on Sunday, June 13, 2010.

Socho Fujikawa of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada

Bishop Orai Fujikawa of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada brought wishes from his eminence, Gomonshu Koshin Ohtani with a special video presentation. As the 24th descendant of Shinran Shonin, the Gomonshu declared, “It is important to express the uniqueness of Jodo Shinshu right now. It may be difficult to imagine how things will be fifty years from now, but we need to do so for the present day youth. I am putting my expectations on you to pursue the unchangeable truth of Amida Tathagata and to try to discover various possible and effective ways of transmitting that ultimate truth.”

The service was led by Rev. Fredrich Ulrich, Resident Minister of the Manitoba Buddhist Temple. Manitoba is one of twelve temples in Canada that are holding events to commemorate this event. Early in 2009, Rev. Ulrich documented the work of members who participated in a “Dharma Outreach” program as spiritual preparation for the celebration. Members volunteered their time in community service as an expression of gratitude to Shinran Shonin's teachings. Attendance at the celebration of Shinran's 750th Memorial was the culmination of this expression of gratitude.

Dr. Leslie Kawamura of the JSBTC - Living Dharma Centre

Rev. Dr. Leslie Kawamura was the guest speaker at the public lecture on the evening of June 12, 2010, which drew 60 people for a two-hour presentation. He was also the main speaker for the memorial service of June 13, 2010. Dr. Kawamura is a professor at the University of Calgary. He is also the Director of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada – Living Dharma Centre. The heart of his message on this occasion was, “Give gratitude to those who brought you to this moment.”

Bishop Fujikawa ended the service by reading a translated poem from the late, Setsuko Nishimura. Mrs. Nishimura was the wife of Rev. Nishimura, the first minister of the Manitoba Buddhist Temple. They served the temple together for over 25 years, starting in 1946.

“We wish the torch of the Buddha-Dharma lit in the City of Winnipeg is never extinguished."

This attitude of mind was carried home by everyone after a specially prepared meal following the memorial service.