Walking Meditation

The British Columbia Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples Federation (BCJSBTF) consisting of temples in Steveston, Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Kamloops. Kelowna and Vernon held their annual convention on Saturday, September 25th and Sunday, September 26th at the Steveston Buddhist Temple.

As part of the convention, a 750 minute (12 & ½ hours) walking meditation relay took place from Saturday at 8:30 to Sunday at 9:00am.

The event was to commemorate the memory of Shinran Shonin (1173-1263), a Japanese Buddhist practitioner from the 12th century and the founder of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism.

The 750 minutes represented a remembrance of the 750 years since the passing of Shinran.

Some 100 individuals took part in the relay in his memory and it is wonderful to report that there were participants at all times even in the wee hours of Sunday morning. These early morning relay spots were taken naturally by our youth who would lead the 2:00am service.

Participants recited Namu Amida Butsu as they walked slowly around the perimeter of the hondo. Many of the participants wrote the names of loved ones they wished to remember and honour on sheets of paper and placed them on the pews so they could reflect on them each time they passed by. Participants walked various durations from 20 minutes to several hours. Some used timer candles to mark the duration of their walk.

These walks represented an abbreviated version of the practices by Shinran and other monks on Mt. Hiei. Shinran originally practiced a form of walking meditation as a young monk on Mt. Hiei, near present-day Kyoto, Japan. Monks would take turns walking in two-hour blocks, continuously chanting the name of the Buddha Amida, with beautiful rhythm and tone. The practise would continue throughout the day and night for 90 days.

After the walk, the participants were able to rest quietly in the gym or the classroom and have some tea, water, onigiri or pastries prepared by the SBT Fujinkai.

The walking meditation itself works in multiple registers: it is a basic form of self-cultivation and purification of the mind, it is an expression of gratitude for those who have come before us, and it is a difficult practice helping to loosen the bonds of ego and self-reliance, an opportunity to be opened to the true nature of this world and the compassion of the Amida Buddha. The participants all experienced these benefits from the meditation in varying degrees.

Everyone who participated were grateful to have had the opportunity to remember and thank Shinran Shonin and relatives and friends who had passed away.

Many thanks to Elmer, Greg, Joanne and Naomi who took on the inspiration from Reverend Dennis Fujimoto of the Idaho-Oregon Buddhist Temple to create this Nembutsu walking meditation relay experience.

An Olympian LDC Manning Park Family Retreat in 2010!

We did it, all of us, all 105 participants of this year's LDC Manning Park Family Retreat!

This Olympic year was marked by the strong presence of young adults and youth attendees and organizers. Participants from Kelowna, Kamloops, Vancouver, Steveston, Fraser Valley, Vernon, Washington and Calgary all gathered to meet old friends and make new ones. This year you joined 54 adults, 30 youth (13-25) and 21 children (12 and under) and one lonely black bear to share an incredible weekend of great food, profound dharma sessions, exciting activities and most of all wonderful company!

Whether you participated in the morning walks through the forest, sat in on the services, sang along with "I Believe", took a dip in the pool, lit the campfire, flipped some steaks on the barbeque, threw a bocci ball, chased a ground squirrel, decorated a bike, attended a social, discussed the dharma, or simply gathered together in a cabin with your friends, we truly hope you had an extraordinary experience at our very own Olympic Games! 

Please take this opportunity to share the spirit of the weekend with your friends and family who did not have a chance to come out to Manning Park this year. I've attached a couple of pictures. Please also send your memories or pictures to retreat.vbt@gmail.com.

The poem, I am Thankful, read by Dr. Bob Akune in his Dharma talk is at http://www.joke-archives.com/inspire/iamthankfulfor.html

We all join in gratitude to the LivingDharmaCentre, BCJSBCF and Women's League for their financial and moral support of this year's event.

Your participation has inspired the members of the Organizing Committee with renewed vigour to make next year's retreat even better.  Please let us know if you would like to be a part of organizing next year's retreat.

Thank you for your invaluable contribution to make this retreat truly memorable.

Your LDC Manning Park Retreat 2010 Organizing Committee

1910 Rogers Pass Disaster

"One hundred years ago tonight, 58 brave men lost their lives in a single avalanche at the summit of Rogers Pass, in the Selkirk Mountains northeast of Revelstoke. This evening, we are assembled to honour their memory, to reflect on our relationship with the mountains, and to hope for the safety of all those who travel in the mountains in the winter,"

Those were the words of Karen Tierney, Superintendent of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park and Rogers Pass National Historic Site, as she addressed a crowd of over 500 people at a special commemorative service held in Revelstoke, B.C. March 4, 2010.

Thirty-two of those men were Japanese immigrants and were most likely Buddhists. So, as part of the ceremony, their names were read and a short service was performed by Bishop Fujikawa of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada.

There is another event planned for August 15, 2010. CPR and Parks Canada will be designing a memorial monument at Roger's Pass. The 1910 Avalanche Committee wish to have an Obon Service and Bon Odori to be part of the centennial events. Sensei Doctor Leslie Kawamura of Calgary will be in Revelstoke to perform the service.
Should you be planning your holidays around this time, please try to include a trip to Revelstoke and take in this event.

-With information from Roy Inouye


2009 Manning Park Retreat

Clear skies and warm rays of sunshine touched our bodies throughout the day and dark, chilly nights with bright twinkling stars brightened our evenings.

During the Manning Park Family Retreat everyone greeted each other with warm smiles. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, meeting old friends and making new ones.

This LDC (Living Dharma Centre) sponsored program took place May 16-18 at the beautiful Manning Park in BC. It was attended by 112 participants including 62 adults, 26 youth (13-25), 16 children (6-12) and 8 children (5 and under). We were also honoured to have the presence of six Sensei’s who prepared seminars and dharma talks. 

The LDC, JSBTC (Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada) and our BCJSBCF (British Columbia Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Churches Federation) graciously provided funding to have local Sensei’s and their families attend.

Everyone helped to prepare, cook, cleanup and eat the fantastic meals during the weekend. The menu was unexpectedly enhanced with Kaz's home made soup. The youth entertained with a scavenger hunt, hide and go seek "Sardine Tag” and a create your own story/solve the mystery game called “Mafia”. The sunny afternoon was filled with a sports tournament including bocce ball, bedrock golf, horseshoes and ping pong. Bicycle decorations lead up to a grand parade and, like so many others in the past, Sora and Courtenay celebrated cycling without training wheels.

Mornings started with Nature Walks with Sensei Akune with an astounding attendance of 62 participants. After sewing chickens, adults finished their evenings by letting their chins wag and wet their lips with some rotted grapes. Workshops included self-defence, quiet sitting mediation, dharma discourse, self lead dharma discussions and gatha review.