Ministerial Movement

There was some movement among ministers this year in Canada. Two ministers, both Canadians, will make their homes in two new cities.
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First, the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada is happy to welcome Rev. Christina Yanko to the Toronto Buddhist Church in Ontario. Rev. Yanko is originally from Claresholm, Alberta. She was recruited by the late Rev. Dr. Leslie Kawamura while she was studying with him at the University of Calgary.

She is currently working towards completing her PhD on the development of Pure Land Sutras in 1st century CE at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She completed her Kyoshi certification in Kyoto in 2012.

She and her husband David have a young son named Atticus.

Rev. Yanko joins Rev. Tomofumi Fujii at the Toronto Buddhist Church.

Almost simultaneously, Rev. Michael Hayashi leaves Toronto and transfers to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Rev. Hayashi was at the Toronto Buddhist Church for over two years. Wanting to be closer to home (B.C.), Rev. Hayashi has accepted a reassignment to the Manitoba Buddhist Temple. He will be under the guidance of Rev. Fredrich Ulrich.

Like many Japanese-Canadians, he grew up in a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist home. His grandfather, with whom he lived, was the lay-minister at the Thunder Bay Buddhist Church. This connection would become the roots for his future.

In 1992, Rev. Hayashi attended Lakehead University receiving an Honours Bachelors of Arts (English) and Education (Ontario Teacher’s Certificate).

With the encouragement of his family, Rev. Hayashi went to Kyoto, Japan to study at Ryokoku University in 1997 where he received a Master of Arts in Jodo Shinshu Theology. Rev. Hayashi has been a minister at several Canadian temples in his career.

Both ministers are excited for the challenge and the opportunity. If you are a member of either congregation, please lend them your full support.

JSBTC 2013 Annual General Meeting - Message from the President

The 2013 JSBTC AGM was held in Lethbridge on April 27th, 2013 at the Buddhist Temple of Southern Alberta (BTSA). At this meeting, the delegates approved the appointment of Bishop-elect Reverend Tatsuya Aoki from Vancouver Buddhist Temple and elected new members of the National Board.

Annual meetings of the JSBTC

The Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada would like to thank Bishop Grant Ikuta and his family for the sacrifices they have made during his two year leadership where we saw many developments including amongst others, the support of the World Women's Buddhist Convention 2015 in Calgary and the placement of Christina Yanko as a resident minister of Toronto Buddhist Church.

The National Board thanks the Steveston Buddhist Temple (SBT) for their support and accommodation in allowing Reverend Grant Ikuta to serve his past term as the shared Bishop and Temple minister.

Minister from across Canada meet at the Buddhist Temples of Southern Alberta

We are in deep gratitude to incoming Bishop-elect Tatsuya Aoki and to the Vancouver Buddhist Temple for their agreement to host the shared bishop position for the next two years. In choosing a new bishop to serve the dual role of temple minister and bishop, the JSBTC Director's Handbook provides a process to ensure that the nominee is capable and willing, that the host temple is willing to endure unforeseen sacrifices and that the nominee will be supported by the serving ministers in Canada.

At the AGM, the National Board put forward Reverend Aoki as the single minister that meets this criteria. This process requires a lot of agility, coordination, conflict resolution, contemplation and self-reflection for everyone involved. While there is an effort to be as transparent as possible, there is no doubt that private matters become important in a decision and must remain confidential.

Newly-elected Members of the Board of Directors of the JSBTC

The new board is keen to avoid conflicts of interest and regrets that we were unable to follow the delegates' guidance to select a President that is not from the same temple as the Bishop-elect. As a member of the past board and witness to the process, I thank and congratulate the new Minister Association Chair, Reverend Fujii and past-President Dave Ohori for their integrity, perseverance, diligence and resolve in working successfully with the Ministers, the National board and the temples involved.

On behalf of the National Board of the JSBTC, I express sincere appreciation to the Buddhist Temple of Southern Alberta family for their hosting of the AGM, pre and post AGM events and to the delegates, retiring directors and officers, retiring MA Chair for their contributions and leadership.

I look forward to everyone working together to make Jodo Shinshu Buddhism accessible for all Canadians.

Living in the dharma with hands together…

Greg Chor,
President, Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada

Hamilton Re-Opens, New Location


Bishop Ikuta (Socho) from Steveston, British Columbia, presided over our Official Opening Ceremony/Hanamatsuri and April Shotsuki service of the Hamilton Buddhist Temple at the Hamilton Canadian Japanese Cultural Centre at 45 Hempstead Drive, Hamilton on Sunday,  April 14th.  

Fujii Sensei, our resident minister and Roy Kusano, the president of the Toronto Buddhist Church, also attended, along with other members of the Toronto Buddhist Church.  It was a full house!  A new Buddha statue was also shown for the first time at the service.  Thank you to the Toronto Buddhist Church for loaning this beautiful statue to us.  

After the service, there was plenty of Japanese food prepared by the women Hamilton Buddhist Temple members. Thank you to them. It was totemo oishi! Thank you to Chris Hourmouzis for all his work in preparing the new room.  

Thank you for attending this wonderful event and starting us off on the right foot, at our new temple location!

Canadians Honour Shinran

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Several Canadians gathered in Kyoto, Japan for a once-in-a-lifetime experience from May 12-18, 2011.
On May 15, 2011, they joined Jodo Shinshu followers from around the world in commemorating Shinran Shonin's 750th Memorial Service at the Nishi Hongwanji in Kyoto, Japan.

The group was led by Bishop Grant Ikuta of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada, Rev. Tomofumi Fujii of the Toronto Buddhist Church and Rev. Yasuhiro Miyakawa of the Kelowna Buddhist Temple.



Saturday's Annual General Meeting

The Toronto Buddhist Church was honoured to have hosted the 2011 Annual General Meeting of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada from April 29-May 1, 2011. The weekend event provided many challenges for the delegates to address and resolve. The solutions will allow the organization to proceed with renewed and re-energized vigour in walking the path of the Dharma.

Rev. Grant Ikuta becomes the first Canadian-born Socho or Bishop (Head Minister). He follows his father, Reverend Susumu Kyojo Ikuta who became the Bishop in 1998. Socho Grant Ikuta will also continue to serve his congregation at the Steveston Buddhist Temple in Vancouver.

2011 AGM Ministers
Newly-elected Bishop, Grant Ikuta (front row, middle)

President, David Ohori and Board of Directors for 2011

Choir for the delegation to Shinran 750th Memorial in Kyoto

Thanks to our hosts for providing a home, away from home in which you could still feel and share in the embrace of Amida. We look forward to meeting our Dharma friends again in Winnipeg next year.

World Buddhist Women's Convention

The 2011 World Buddhist Women’s Convention (WBWC) was held in Kyoto on May 16 & 17, 2011.  And although Japan was still recovering from recent earthquakes in the country, over 4,000 people attended the event from the United States (mainland), Hawaii, Brazil, Canada, and Japan. The event also coincided with the 750th Memorial Celebrations for Shinran Shonin.

Twenty-six delegates represented Canada at the convention led by Socho Grant Ikuta and Rev. Tomofumi Fuji of the Toronto Buddhist Temple. The Canadian delegation sang two songs: “Namu Amida Butsu” and “I Believe” (the theme song from the Vancouver Winter Olympics).

World Buddhist Women’s Convention in Kyoto, Japan, 2011

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2011 Canadian delegation

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Flag passed from the Japan Chapter President to representatives of Canada.


Alberta Buddhist Conference 2010

Southern Alberta Buddhist Choir performs

Engaged Buddhism was the theme of the 2010 Alberta Buddhist Conference. A theme that continued into the weekend, as Sensei James Martin and the Calgary Buddhist Temple hosted the 32nd edition of this annual event.

The volunteer committee coordinated the conference to coincide with the Calgary Buddhist Film Series and the Alberta District's 750th Shinran Shonin Memorial Commemoration on October 29-31, 2010.

The gathering attracted over one-thousand people, including thirty delegates from Lethbridge. Ten people participated in the Sarana Affirmation Ceremony led by Socho Orai Fujikawa of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada.

Guests included Dr. Leslie Kawamura of the University of Calgary and Living Dharma Centre, and Sensei Susumu Ikuta (ret.).

The program opened with a discussion on theme of "Engaged Buddhism" led by Sensei Fredrich Ulrich of the Manitoba Buddhist Temple. Other speakers included Sensei Yasuo Izumi of the Buddhist Temple of Southern Alberta, Rod Burylo, of the Calgary Buddhist Temple, and Tracey Pickup of Thich Nhat Hanh's 'Order of Inter-being'. Mr. Burylo, an internationally known speaker, delivered an interactive session on Ethical Investing, while Ms. Pickup continued on the conference topic of Engaged Buddhism.

Sensei Fredrich Ulrich of Winnipeg opened the conference.

Guest speaker Rod Burylo of Calgary

The Southern Alberta Buddhist Choir performed at the Saturday evening banquet and again for the Sunday service. One of their songs was "May Peace Prevail" with words written by Mrs. Carrie Kawamoto of Mililani Hongwanji. The composition was chosen as the winning entry in the Shinran Shonin's 750th Memorial Gatha Lyrics Contest. The words reflect an affirmation of peace in everyday life, and were set to music by Professor Takeo Kudo of the University of Hawaii Music Department. The inspirational lyrics were included in a commemorative booklet, edited by Susan Huntley and was given to all attendees as a keepsake of the occasion.

Attending Ministers from across Canada

Thanks to the organizing committee and all the volunteers

Organizing Chairperson, Ken Madden summarized, "The success is measured in the weekend's support of our vision: 'To set in motion a way of living, learning and teaching a life of joy and gratitude through Jodo Shinshu Buddhism.' In reflection of this Vision, I believe that we 'cast seeds of dharma' to even more people than ever before!"

The Calgary Buddhist Temple would like to thank the Calgary Public Library for their generous support of the Buddhist Film Series. They also realize that this event is not possible without the help of all the volunteers who gave their time and skills.

Photos courtesy of L. Tsukishima