Importance of Dharma School

Dr. Leslie Kawamura is planning to visit every Jodo Shinshu temple in Canada in 2008. The purpose of his visits will be to meet the members of the temples and to gather information on the "state of the art" regarding Dharma Schools. Also, it is an opportunity to meet as many members as possible, face to face, so that he will be able to get a better grasp of what the members and non-members of the temples would like to see happen in the future.


Coming Soon on DVD...

In order to have all temples enjoy prominent speakers of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, the LDC has requested the Steveston and Vancouver Buddhist Temples to record the lectures of Sensei LaVerne Sasaki formerly of the Buddhist Church of San Francisco in September.

The Toronto Buddhist Temple, hosted Professor Duncan Williams from the University of California, Berkeley in September. Both lectures were recorded and will also be made available in the near future.


The BCC Living Dharma Centre and the BCA Jodo Shinshu Center

Over the last half-year, Sensei Grant Ikuta of the Toronto Buddhist Church and Dr. Kawamura have travelled several times to the BCA Jodo Shinshu Center to share in the organization and development of the Honganji sponsored Correspondence Course for Shin Buddhist Studies. They were requested to find as many potential candidates as possible to take the first round of course that will constitute our “trail run” sessions.

Members of the Honganji Correspondence Course organizing committee at Jodo Shinshu Center, Berkeley California
Sensei Grant Ikuta, Dr. Leslie Kawamura and Socho Ogui (fifth from left)

The course consists of three parts, Fall Session, Winter Session, and Summer Retreat. Because the first “trail run” session will begin in January 2008, its schedule will not correspond with the regular schedule. The idea behind the trail run is, in part, to have “feed-back” from the students to find out how the course contents could be changed and/or improved. They anticipate the sessions for the “trail run” to be January to April, May through August, and September to December, with the regular sessions beginning concurrently in September of 2008.

As this course is still in its planning and development stages, if you should be interested in taking the course, please contact for more up-to-date information that will become available after our next meeting of December 11th 2007 at the Jodo Shinshu Center, Berkeley, California.

LDC and the Buddhist Temple of Southern Alberta

As an event of the Alberta Buddhist Conference (ABC) 2007, held in Lethbridge during the weekend of November 9 -11, the Ground-breaking Ceremony for the new BTSA Temple Building took place on the morning of November 11. The LDC looks forward to working closely with the new temple members once it is built and the Sangha is re-organized. On the completion of the Temple Building, the Sangha will consists of members of the former Raymond, Rosemary, and Taber Buddhist Churches, as well as the Lethbridge Buddhist Temple, and the Lethbridge Honpa Buddhist Church.

The Sangha and dignitaries gather at the site

Ground-breaking Ceremony

Alberta Buddhist Conference

The Alberta Jodo Shinshu Sangha held its 29th Alberta Federation Conference at the Lethbridge Lodge and the Lethbridge Honpa Temple from November 9-11, 2007.

The special Guest Minister was Koyo Kubose Sensei of the Gyomay Kubose Foundation in Chicago Illinois. He gave a most interesting talk on “” to express the conference theme of “Embracing Buddhism” (Oshie wo Itadaku) in the simultaneous act of our embracing Buddhism as well as of the act of Buddhism embracing us. For his Sunday service dharma talk, he explained the significance of “ok” (the mudra or hand gesture of Amida Buddha) in the context of Jodoshinshu.

Other speakers at the conference were Dr. John Harding, University of Lethbridge and Sensei James Martin, Calgary Buddhist Temple. Socho Fujikawa gave an update of BCC activities.

At the conference banquet, hosted by Mr. Haji Sugimoto, Mrs. Toshiko Takeda and Mrs. Heidi Konosu were presented with the “Award of Gratitude” (Kansha-jo) for their untiring and subtle contribution to Buddhism in Alberta and in Canada. The term “subtle” is used here to describe that these two ladies quietly and unobtrusively worked for the betterment and progress of Jodoshinshu in Canada. Never have they complained about their participation in the church nor have they ever demanded to be noticed. They were always-ready and ever-lasting in their concern for the benefit to all. Congratulations to both. Unfortunately, owing to Mrs. Konosu’s Nirvana, she was not able to be recognized in person.

Mrs. Takeda receiving her “Award of Gratitude” from Socho Fujikawa

The Southern Alberta Buddhist Choir, that Mrs. Konosu single handedly established, entertained the attendants under the directorship of Mrs. Lorita Ichikawa with its harmonious presentions of 1) Sen no Kaze (A Thousand Winds), 2) Mojiji (Dream Autumn Dreams), 3) Mura Matsuri (Village Festival), 4) Sieya (Splendor of an Evening Sky) and 5) Circle of Life and Nembutsu. The choir was accompanied by Sololist, Charlotte Ikuta; Pianist, Jennifer Koba; and Flute & Drum, Andrew Ichikawa.

Watch the Southern Alberta Buddhist Choir perform “Seiya” (Splendor of An Evening Sky).

from L to R. (Dr. Kawamura, Socho Fujikawa, Sensei Izumi, Reverend Kobose, Sensei Ikuta, and Sensei Martin)

The conference services were led by Sensei Izumi (Buddhist Temple of Southern Alberta) and assisted by Reverend Kubose (Chicago), Sensei Susumu Ikuta and Sensei James Martin (Calgary Buddhist Temple), and LDC Director Leslie Kawamura (BCC & University of Calgary).

LDC Reps

Representatives from various districts in Canada had three telephone conferencing meetings since their initial gathering in Calgary during the 2007 Buddhist Churches of Canada AGM. They have been working diligently to “brain-storm” what direction the LDC should take and how best they could serve the needs of the BCC temples.

Buddha Relic Tour in Calgary

Under the sponsorship of the Buddhist Foundation of Canada, the Heart Shine Relic Tour of Buddha-relics was seen by many Calgarians at the Vietnamese Buddhist Temple on October 7, 2007. The tour conducted to raise funds for the Maitreya Project, a project to construct a very large image of Maitreya (the Future Buddha) in India, contained relics of many great Buddhist masters as well as those of the historical Siddhartha.

Joe Tomiyama during the walking meditation

Lloyd Tsukushima inspects the relics

Visit to Vancouver Buddhist Temple

On the Sunday following the BCC Executive Meeting, I was able to share in the Sunday morning service at the Vancouver Buddhist Temple. During the service, two Dharma School students sat with Sensei Aoki and me and led the congregation in Sutra Chanting. It was a wonderful learning experience. The service was particularly exciting for me, because I was able to share with those present my wish to have as many followers of the Nembutsu attend the 750th Anniversary Celebration of our founder, Shinran.

BCC Executive Meeting

During the BCC Executive meeting held at the BCC Headquarters in Richmond, it was decided that a meeting of the LDC Directors would be held at the Toronto Buddhist Temple on December 1, 2007. The major agenda item for the meeting will be the question of re-organizing the Board, both in name and in structure.

Also, during the BCC Executive Meeting, there was expressed the concern about the status of Dharma School. Consequently, in the early part of 2008, I wish to visit every Jodo Shinshu Temple in Canada and meet with the Executives and the Dharma School teachers. Your Temple will be contacted in the very near future and I look forward to meeting many of the Temple members when I make my visit. Regarding the BCC Executive meeting, I would be amiss if I did not report about Mrs. Fujikawa’s “thoughtful and compassionate” effort to ensure that the delegates had a fantastic Japanese-styled lunch. “Thank you very much Mrs. Fujikawa.”

IASBS Conference 2007

IASBS group in Banff, Alberta

In August, the World Conference of the International Association of Shin Buddhist Studies (IASBS) took place at the University of Calgary. The theme of the conference was "Neither monk nor layperson - The Spirit of Jodo Shinshu." While other Buddhist organizations are importing other forms of practice - Zen-style meditations, Hindu Yoga, Western Psychology, European Japanization - and seem to be doing better. There has become a slow fragmentation of Jodo Shinshu within the international scene. Delegates were asked to address this concern.

Over 100 participants attended the conference from all over the world. Twenty-five presentations were delivered from attending Shin Buddhist scholars. The guest was Professor Naito from Ryukoku University in Kyoto. The University of Calgary, Asian Studies Group, sponsored the visit of Professor Naito.

Sensei Rinban Matsubayashi (former BCC Bishop)

Sensei Grant Ikuta with Sensei Seikiya from Hongwanji, Kyoto (center two)

Sensei Kikuchi, Prof. Hoyu Ishida, Socho Fujikawa, Sensei Rinban Matsubayashi, Mrs. Matsubayashi, Tabitha Kobata

Lucy Yoshioka, Rocky Oishi, Lori North, Sensei Ulrich