Arigatou is the Japanese word for Thank You. Although thank you is the English translation for arigatou, the word itself also explains for us why we would want to say thank you. The word arigatou is made by combining the two kanji characters aru or “to have,” “to exist,” and the character gatai or “difficult.” …read more

On Being Strong, Powerful and Rich

Although January is a very busy and celebratory month, February, despite being the shortest month of the year, is also a very busy month for Americans. For example, President’s Day is observed in February. It is also the month when we observe Superbowl Sunday. It is also when thousands if not millions of men, some …read more


Happy New Year everyone! 2014 promises to be a very exciting year for the Venice Hongwanji. Because 2015 will be the 60th Anniversary since the founding of our Dharma School, we will be starting a year-long program getting ready for the anniversary. In 2015, for example, we are in the preliminary planning stages of sending …read more

To be Tied by the Rope of Doing Bad Things

The light of purity is without compare. When a person encounters this light, All bonds of karma fall away, So take refuge in Amida, the ultimate shelter. The poem that I am beginning my article with is one of the wasan that we chant as part of our daily morning services. As with many poems, …read more

The Wisdom to say, “Thank you”

The Buddha had an unwavering faith in his fellow human being to do the right thing. Because of this neither did the Buddha threaten, nor did he bribe. Instead, he appealed to the intellect of man. He spoke through and shared the wisdom that he discovered to help all of us to find compassion in …read more

Halloween is Not Just for Witches and Goblins

The month of October is busy with all sorts of preparations; in particular it is the month that children and their families get ready to transform themselves for Halloween. Although we as people ready ourselves for this annual and single day transformation, Buddhist literature also tells us that Buddhas and Bodhisattvas also transform themselves. Unlike …read more


Because Ohigan is a term that literally means “The Other Shore,” it is a season and a service that makes us think about what the Pure Land might or does mean to me. One of the things that the Pure Land does force us to think about is the inevitability of going to the Other …read more

Our Mission

To promote a greater understanding and appreciation of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism and to continue to live the Nenbutsu as a warm and friendly, family-centered temple. The statement that I am quoting is the Mission Statement of the Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. I wanted to begin this month’s article with this quote because I thought that …read more

The Beauty of Life (Part 2)

Deep mind is the deeply entrusting mind. There are two aspects. One is to believe deeply and decidedly that you are a foolish being of karmic evil caught in birth-and-death, ever sinking and ever wandering in transmigration from innumerable kalpas in the past, with never a condition that would lead to emancipation. The second is …read more

The Beauty of Life (Part 1)

In one of my favorite scenes from The Simpsonʼs, Homer Simpson is talking to God, who is asking Homer why he doesn’t go to church. Homer answers by saying that he doesn’t want to go somewhere that just keeps telling him how bad he is. God then replies by saying, “You have a point.” Although …read more