Temple Tour: Winnipeg

As one of the projects of the Living Dharma Centre, I have proposed to visit all temples in the Buddhist Churches of Canada and survey Dharma School and Youth programs. I began my visitations with the Manitoba Buddhist Temple in Winnipeg on February 17, 2008.

The resident Minister (Sensei) is Fred Ulrich and he has done a wonderful job of taking the temple into the society. As a consequence, many people who are interested in the Buddha-dharma (teachings of the Enlightened Siddhartha) have visited the temple and some have become new members to the temple. Others have volunteered to help at “soup kitchens” and other inter-religious groups. Those members who have been with the temple for many years, and some who have been there from the very beginning, contribute to the advancement and development of the temple by contributing financial assistance as well as being attentive to the various needs of the temple.

On this visit, I was invited to attend the Sunday service attended by many people both old and new. I met a lady whose visit to the temple was for the first time, and I was pleased to see that she was accepted into the sangha and was taking part in the events of the day just in the manner that those who were there for a longer period.

The service itself was very impressive in that it was not centered around the Sensei only, but members (both children and adults) led the sangha in various aspects – leading in the Trisarana, leading in the incense offering, reading of the Juseige in English prior to the chanting of it led by Sensei Ulrich. I was invited to give a Dharma talk to the children, to the Japanese speaking adults, and then to the English speaking adults.

Oshoko after service

A gift from a Dharma Class Student

Visitation to the Dharma school class was done during the adult meditation session. During my visit, many good ideas of how the LDC could gain from and contribute to the Manitoba Buddhist Temple Dharma Classes were exchanged These ideas will be compiled and circulated among the temples so that exchange of ideas can take place.

During the “pot luck” lunch, an opportunity was provided to share the intent, structure, and wish of the LDC for each person’s participation in its work.

Lunch is served

Sensei Ulrich meets a visitor

A sample brochure of the LDC was distributed to those in attendance. This brochure is a “work in progress” in that it contains some information about the structure and working of the LDC, but hopefully it will prompt comments from the members of the BCC at large so that when the brochure reaches its more mature state, it will contain the information that responds to the members’ wishes.

Origami practise

The brochure is in such an infantile stage that some of the Winnipeg members had to practice “origami” (the art of paper folding) to get into shape for handing out.

Watch for more from my next visits:
February 23 - West Coast Temples
March 16 - Southern Alberta Temple
Calgary, Interior BC and East Coast temples are still pending.

Dr. Leslie Kawamura
February 17, 2008

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.