Sensei's Monthly Messages

Happy New Year!

“Happy New Year” is a greeting we are all familiar with. We all seem to know not only how, but when to say these words. It may not seem a big enough deal to write about, but I am constantly amazed at what we as a society are able to do sometimes. Society, for example, …read more

Religion and Vitamin C

Although the analogy that I am going to make is not the most appropriate, I hope that it adequately describes why I think religion is important. There are few, if any, who will argue against the importance of health. One of the ways that we try to maintain and possibly even boost our health is …read more

Jodo Shinshu Propagation

What is the difference between proselytizing versus propagating from a Jodo Shinshu perspective? In other words, “What does it mean to propagate in Jodo Shinshu, especially in light of the fact that Jodo Shinshu Buddhists seem to take great care in saying that they don’t proselytize?” One of the unique features of Jodo Shinshu, and …read more

Dharma School at the Venice Hongwanji

What we “do.” Our Sunday Family and Dharma School Morning Service begins with the ringing of the kansho (service bell). Prior to the ringing of the kansho, the onaijin (inner altar area) is decorated with flower arrangements and prepared by lighting candles, burning incense, and the offering of obuppan, or the food offering of rice …read more

Good Question!

Then Vaidehi, seeing the Buddha, the World Honored One, tore off her ornaments and prostrated herself on the ground. Wailing bitterly, she faced that Buddha and said: “World Honored One, what evil Karma have I committed in a previous life that I should bear such an evil son? World Honored One, what conditions caused you …read more


Living in Southern California, it is almost impossible to live without driving a car. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that I spend a lot of time inside a car and driving. Because of the many miles I have been driving over the years, every now and then I can’t help but …read more

Embraced and Not Forsaken

I am such that I do not know right and wrong and cannot distinguish false and true; I lack even small love and small compassion, and yet, for fame and profit, enjoy teaching others. (CWS, p. 429) The above passage is a poem that was written by Shinran Shonin at the age of 88. It …read more

Growing Up and Not Old

Recently I had the privilege of attending both Cub Pack 79’s “Graduation Ceremony” and Girl Scout Troop 5325’s “Court of Awards.” Both units are sponsored by the Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. Both units are a source of pride for the temple in general, but having attended both events again this year, I was struck at …read more

To Have Faith

自信教人信・難中転更難・大悲伝普化・真成報仏恩 To have faith and to teach a person to have faith Is within difficulties, again difficult Transmitting Great compassion, transforming All Is truly to repay the indebtedness owed the Buddha These words are taken from Zendo Daishi’s Ojoraisan-ge or Verses in Praise and Homage of Going to be Born. It is a work where …read more

In Support of Sharing and Kindness: Temple Membership

Although temple membership can be applied for any time during the year, the temple is slowing its membership push with the end of the 1st quarter of the new year. During this time, the running joke that you tend to hear relative to temple membership is: “What do you get with temple membership?” The answer …read more