We are planning the reading and review of another book for the winter/spring 2017 time which will be "Buddhism of the Heart" by Jeff Wilson (ISBN 0-86171-583-7). Jeff Sensei is a Buddhist Scholar who teaches at a Canadian university. This book is insightful, thought provoking and quite humorous in spots.
We will be starting this session on January 21, 2017, so if you would like to be involved with this book, be sure to pick up a copy, available through Chapters or Amazon (also available in Kindle and Kobo versions) or from your local temple.
After feedback from the last book review, we have decided to use a Private “Google Group” to facilitate this next session. We believe this should make it easier for everyone to respond to and review everyone’s responses. As this will be a private group, it will require you to have a “Google account” (with Gmail e-mail address) to participate. There’s no charge to set up an account & Gmail email address.
- If you already have a Google account and have already provided us with your Gmail address, there’s nothing further you need to do until you receive your invite to join the group – Jan. 21st.
- If you do have a Gmail address but didn’t provide it, please send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org and to email@example.com
- If you do not have a Google account, please set one up at: https://accounts.google.com/SignUp and provide us (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com) with your new Gmail address.
Once you’ve set up a Google account and sent in your new Gmail address, the next step is to look for a Google group invite, which will be sent to you by email. Follow the instructions to connect to the group and your journey will begin!!
This is a brand new year, let's learn, grow and make the most of it together!
Books and Education
Living Dharma Centre
The first selections for the months of September, October and November, we have chosen two titles. Both are excellent introductions to Shin Buddhism and are easily understandable. These books are available through Chapters Indigo and Amazon.
River of Fire, River of Water was published in 1998 and speaks for itself as being a classic in Shin Buddhism literature. Written by the wonderful teacher and Shin Scholar, Tai Unno, if you have not already read it, we encourage you to.
Call of the Infinite By John Paraskevopoulos
Call of the Infinite was first published in 2009 and the following are a few comments made by people who have read it:
"Call of the Infinite is a rare and lovely thing: a succinct treatment in 96 pages of the major concerns of Shin faith and life which manages to be compelling for all its brevity. Author John Paraskevopoulos is an Australian convert who is also a Shin priest. He has the marvellous ability to anticipate a reader's questions and answer them in straightforward fashion in a clear, lively prose."
“I wouldn't hesitate to recommend CALL OF THE INFINITE to one who has no previous background in Shin Buddhism. I feel confident that such a reader could then go on to the more fully-orbed works of such established writers as Alfred Bloom, Dennis Hirota, Kenneth Tanaka, and Taitetsu Unno. “ -Peter M. Schogol
“This is a deeply thoughtful work and is a mature and useful guide for the spiritually hungry or perplexed. It is brief, but not epigramic; each paragraph gives the reader plenty to contemplate, but the meaning is always clear. The book is written in beautifully constructed English - not something one can take for granted in any published work. It is also cleverly and clearly structured.”- M.F. Healsmith
If you have any question or to sign up for discussion emails please contact Barb MacCarl:
We just got back from an amazing 14 day tour which included many friends, family and Jodo Shinshu temple members from across Canada. The group of 24 people was led by Roy and Itoko Akune who were going to India for the 3rd time.
The first week covered what is referred to as the “Golden Triangle”: Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. We visited popular tourist attractions such as the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, City Palace, Jantar-Mantar Observatory, the Pink City, and Amber Fort. We began the pilgrimage portion of the trip the second week. We flew to Varanasi and proceeded by bus to historical sites where the Buddha spent critical periods of his life. In Sarnath, the Buddha gave his first sermon. In Bodhgaya he spent 6 years in penance in a mountain cave, Dungeshwari, then renounced his austere practice to take a more moderate approach.
Time for reflection under Mahabodhi Tree (photo by Brenda Ikuta)
We visited the Mahabodhi Temple and the Mahabodhi tree, said to be a descendent of the original Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. We visited Vultures Peak where Buddha preached the Larger Sukhavati Vyuha Sutra and the site of Nalanda University, the oldest Buddhist university. We visited Vaishali where he spent his last rainy season and Kushinagar where he passed away. We crossed into Nepal to visit Lumbini, the sacred garden where he was born. We ended with Sravasti where he spent 24 rain retreats.
A service at Vultures Peak overlooking the Valley where the Larger Sukhavati Sutra (Jodo Shinshu) was delivered to the 1500 Bikkhus. (photo Brenda Ikuta)
India is definitely a land of dramatic contrasts, overwhelming sights and sounds, unbelievable experiences around every corner, and is steeped in a history that includes a diversity of cultures and religions. Our guides spoke English and were extremely knowledgeable in the history of Buddhism and Indian culture. They organized a variety of experiences for us which included a tour of the National Art Museum, rixe/rickshaw rides through the byways of old Delhi, an elephant ride to the Amber Fort, boat excursions on the Ganges River, visits to government approved traditional craft and textile cooperatives, and an opportunity to enjoy traditional dance and music. We were able to visit amazing temples from a variety of religions (Islam, Hindu, Jain, Baha’i) and Buddhist sects (Thai, Bhutanese, Japanese, Tibetan). The transportation experience in itself was memorable; our drivers were thankfully very adept at maneuvering the incredible traffic and road conditions.
This cave was just below Vultures Peak where they believe Buddha stayed during some of his rain retreats. (photo Brenda Ikuta)
The group was wonderfully cohesive and we have spent the last few weeks sharing our reflections and post-trip learning as we try to understand our experiences better. Our deepest gratitude to our leaders, Roy and Itoko, who spent countless hours coordinating with the tour company both before and during the trip - such generosity and warmth in looking out for all of us! It was wonderful to have an opportunity to experience situations with a Jodo Shinshu perspective and to have services at many meaningful sites. We have a lot to process in the coming months. Some of us will be available to share more information with Temple members so stay tuned. And please consider joining one of these JSBTC pilgrimages if you are able to in the future…they are well worth it!!
To Temples, board members, members and friends,
Reverend Michael Hayashi entered the Pure Land at 2:50 pm CST Dec 4, 2015. His family was by his side and he passed away peacefully while listening to one of his favorite songs "Dust to Dust" by The Civil Wars.
Sensei Michael was admitted to the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre on November 21st. As it became apparent that he had incurable stomach cancer, his wife Kiyomi and their family, his aunts and uncles, sister and mother and many friends came to comfort him. Koden (donation to the family as an offering of condolences and to assist with expenses). Those who would like to help the family with expenses during this time may make a contribution through this service. The Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada is working with the Vancouver Buddhist Temple to provide this vehicle. Please note that contributions do not qualify for CRA Tax receipts.
The JSBTC has consulted with the family on how we can convey messages of support and how to help with the many expenses the family faces.
Loving Thoughts and Financial Gratitude
1. By mail addressed to:
Kiyomi Hayashi and family c/o JSBTC
220 Jackson Ave
Vancouver B.C. V6A 3B3
Cheques should be payable to: Kiyomi Hayashi
Please include your name, address or email in your message.
2. At your local Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temple:
Temples will accept sealed envelopes containing cards and cheques marked with your name and address. Please avoid using cash however if this is necessary, include your name and address.
3. Click on the green button to send a donation by credit card (in Canada and abroad):
The service costs approximately $0.60 plus 5.5% of the transaction amount. The family will receive the net amount. This service may be available on other temple websites as well. This method will be available at least until January 1, 2016 and may be extended further.
Please note that financial support of this nature does not qualify for CRA tax receipts
On behalf of the JSBTC and Bishop Tatsuya Aoki,
Trudy Gahlinger, JSBTC Secretary