Embraced by the Oneness of Life was the recurring theme experienced by almost 1,800 Buddhists from Japan, Brazil, the U.S., Canada and Hawaii who attended the World Buddhist Women’s Convention in Calgary, Alberta, May 30 & 31, 2015. From the majestic and moving opening ceremony to the equally significant closing, there was music, dancing, visiting, chanting, and inspiring dharma messages bringing laughter and tears, stimulating the mind and warming the heart.
We were honored to have the attendance and participation of his Eminence Monshu Ohtani Kojun (Sennyo Monshu). “Gomonshu-sama” as he is called by Jodo Shinshu followers is the 25th generation Sennyo Monshu or Hongwanji head priest.
The keynote speakers, Reverend Nana Yanase from Japan and Reverend Patricia Kanaya Usuki, born in Canada and living in the USA, shared the dharma through music, life stories and a broad experience and knowledge of the teachings. A panel, comprised of women from each of the Districts, touchingly described their personal pathways in and towards embracing the dharma.
Workshops themed on the Eight-Fold Path provided food for the body, mind and spirit with activities to match that included dancing, singing, writing, and exercising. There were stimulating opportunities to learn more about music, history, art and self-reflection …all in the context of Buddhism and the Oneness of Life.
Over meals and during breaks, participants were able to meet and socialize, culminating in the dinner banquet where each table was arranged with a mix of delegates from each country. The banquet portion of the evening included a singing performance from Reverend Nana Yanase and entertainment from the District countries. A highlight was the joining of performers and delegates, including the Gomonshu-sama and other dignitaries in the favorite odori Tanko Busshi. To close the evening entertainment, dancers from across Canada performed a lively zumba to the tune of The Best Day of Our Lives.
The Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada Women’s Federation, together with the temples across Canada have worked together to provide a successful and memorable experience. Despite being a small Sangha with limited resources and spread across a large country geographically, we are grateful that all those who came from around the world to Calgary enjoyed this convention and fulfilled our hope for a memorable experience where we were truly “Embraced by the Oneness of Life”.
As with previous years, a post convention report will be published and will contain a text copy of all the speeches as well as many photos. A DVD of the convention and a full version of the keynote speakers is planned and will hopefully be available soon.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada handed the World Buddhist Women’s Convention flag to the Buddhist Churches of America Buddhist Women’s Association who will host the next World Buddhist Women’s Convention, August 30 to September 1, 2019 in San Francisco, California. See you there!
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Article courtesy of the Hamilton Buddhist Temple
Photos courtesy of the Manitoba Buddhist Temple
Trip Report by Anthony Chor, YBICSE 2014
Sensei Kuwahara, Anthony Chor, and Socho Aoki
In 2009, I went to Japan on YBICSE (Young Buddhist International Cultural Study Exchange) for which I am extremely grateful for.
Five years later, I had the wonderful opportunity of going to the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley for the YBICSE reunion where past YBICSE participants got to meet up with old friends and meet new ones to share experiences and create new memories.
We learned things like setting up the naijin (the obupan goes over your head to keep it away from your breath), how to properly ring the kansho (imagine a journey up and down the hills of San Francisco), and the role of the chant leader (chosho/doshin is always right).
And much like at the Hongwanji, each day started with a morning service where we used our new-found knowledge to take part in each of the services.
One final highlight of the reunion was the Mountainview Obon. In preparation, we created Obon dances. The gentlemen created a snappy, rather dapper dance to “Happy” [Pharrell Williams], while the ladies danced the story of YBICSE to “Rather Be” [Clean Bandit]. “Rather Be” quickly became the anthem of the weekend (“With every step we take, Kyoto to the Bay”).
We also made our own FAN-tastic uchiwa in preparation for the Mountainview Obon... which... was... HUGE!
With three crowded lines, a mid-center stage, and a live band – saxophones and singers included – the Obon was phenomenal! (They played this great jazz rendition of tanko bushi.)
And what is a Jodo Shinshu event without food? We shared dining experiences including a blind-mute meal where half of us were blindfolded while the other half could see but couldn't speak. That was a really neat (and quiet) experience! We also experienced delicious ramen prepared by the Senseis!
Without Aoki Socho and Kuwahara Sensei’s enthusiasm with YBICSE, none of this would have happened. The organizing committee created a fantastic, dharmarific weekend. “When I am with you, there's no place I'd rather be.”
The Calgary Buddhist Temple is getting a makeover.
Plans are underway to rebuild the 100 year old building. For the past 12 years, a small portion of annual funds has been held for Temple renovations. Through fiscal responsibility, the Board expects to fund almost 50% of the $1.95 million required for renovations and related costs.
These funds have been achieved through individual donations, fundraising events and provincial government grants. Now, $1 million – the remainder of the required funds – is required in order to complete renovations by early 2015.
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Sensei Susumu Kyojo Ikuta passed away peacefully on April 24, 2014.
Susumu or "Sus" was born on November 23, 1926 in Kyoto, Japan as the eldest son to Rev. Shinjo and Mrs. Mino Ikuta. Susumu moved to Canada with his family in 1937 and during WWII the family was relocated to Raymond, Alberta where Sus graduated from the Raymond High School in 1948.
In 1953, Sus graduated from University of Toronto with MA in philosophy. In 1954, he returned to Japan to begin his life passion of Buddhist Studies. It is also during this time that he met Teruko Yamasaki. The couple married on March 23, 1957 and for 60 years they shared the same passions and were devoted to each other, their family, the Dharma and the Sangha.
Following his graduation in 1958 with a M.A. in Buddhist Studies from Ryukoku University, Sus and Terrie returned to Canada where he began over 50 years of services as a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist minister for the Buddhist Churches of Canada.
From 1998 to 2002, he served as Bishop of the Buddhist Churches of Canada. In 1972, the family moved to Calgary where Sus began his longest posting as a resident minister. The sangha was still very much in the fledgling stage without a permanent home. In 1981, the founding members and Sus fulfilled their dream by raising funds to purchase the Croatian Catholic Church on 6 Street N. E. to establish the Calgary Buddhist Temple.
The Edo Japan franchise was started to help sustain the Temple. Sus worked full-time, both as the president of Edo Japan International and as the resident minister for the Temple. Over the years, the Temple has established itself within the rich multi-faith mosaic of the city of Calgary. Most recently Sus was excited about the restoration plans for the Temple and encouraged everyone to support their efforts. Sus led a wonderful life of 87 years passing away quietly surrounded by his family.
He leaves behind wife, Teruko, daughter Mari Cameron (Huston), sons Lester Ikuta (Mickey), Roland Ikuta (Brenda), son Grant Ikuta (Noriko), and grandchildren, Eric, Sean, Kyle, Nathan, Arthur, Maya, Charlotte, Dylan, Clayton, Courtney and Erin. Sus is also survived by siblings, brother Makoto Ikuta, sister Kyoko Oda (Rev. Harold Oda), sister Noriko Sugimoto, brother Kuni Ikuta (June) and numerous nephews, nieces and their families.
The journey of life was truly wonderful for Sus, and he often mentioned in his latter days how grateful he was to all for their friendship and support. The family would also like to express deep appreciation for the overwhelming support they have received during this time of sadness.
In Gassho, Namo Amida Butsu.
A private family cremation service was held. A Public Memorial Service was be held at the Buddhist Temple of Southern Alberta in Lethbridge, on Friday, May 2, 2014.
OBITUARY COURTESY CALGARY HERALD
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Minister Asst. R. Akune, Rev. M. Hayashi, Rev. J. Martin, Bishop T. Aoki, Rev. Y. Izumi, Rev. Y. Myakawa, Rev. T. Fuji, Minster Asst. Roy Akune, Minister Asst. j. Yuasa
Delegates and Ministers from across Canada met at the Vancouver Buddhist Temple for the 2014 Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada - Annual General Meeting on April 25, 26 & 27, 2014.
The three-day event brought together the many volunteers who continue to promote the teachings and understanding of Buddhism in Canada.
Celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Vancouver Buddhist Temple
The meeting also marked the 110th Anniversary of the founding of the JSBTC and the the 35th Anniversary of the raising of the Vancouver Buddhist Temple building.
Among the highlights of the weekend, the board of directors confirmed Rev. Tatsuya Aoki from Vancouver to continue as the Bishop of Canada. Among his many responsibilities will be heading up the Canadian delegation as they host the 2015 World Women’s Buddhist Convention in Calgary, Alberta.
Rev. Fredrich Ulrich and his wife Kiyoko
Special guest, Rev. Fredrich Ulrich was recognized for his 24 years of service with the JSBTC. Ulrich recently retired after serving 15 years with the Manitoba Buddhist Temple in Winnipeg.
Entertainment at the Saturday evening banquet
The Women’s Federation held simultaneous meetings as planning continues leading up the World Women’s Buddhist Convention next year. President, Susan Huntley updated the board and delegates on preparations for the event as it reaches the one year countdown.
JSBTC Women’s Federation
Official instalment of the JSBTC Board of Directors for 2014
Tsuito Hoyo Closing Sunday Service
Thanks to all the volunteers at the Vancouver Buddhist Temple for accommodating this important annual event. Next year’s AGM will be hosted by the Steveston Buddhist Temple.