| January 17, 2021

Happy New Year! Welcome 2021! These are two terms that many people in the world have been waiting for. Even though the day January 1, 2021 is only a blip on the historical timeline, in this moment for ordinary human beings like us it is a turning point which helps us to change our perceptions and brighten our moods.

On behalf of the Venice Buddhist Temple, Congratulations! It feels good that it is 2021. It is important that we take these moments to celebrate. We celebrate what has been given, what has been received, what we have attained, and what we are able to share together. What gives you reason to celebrate?

Our teacher, Master T’an-luan,
Through the guidance of Bodhiruci,
Burned his scriptures on immortality, discarding them forever,
And deeply took refuge in the Pure Land.

Hymns of the Pure Land Master 21

After experiencing an illness, Tanluan the third of the seven Pure Land masters searched for immortality. To achieve this goal he acquired Daoist scrolls to find the elixir of life. During this journey, he met the priest Bodhiruci or better known to many of us as Bodhidharma or Daruma. In the wake of this encounter Tanluan devoted his life to Amida Buddha and the Pure Land. Tanluan gave up on living forever in this life, but upon beginning a new journey was able to celebrate within the mindset of a settled life of Nembutsu. We may not be chasing after or reflecting deeply on living forever, but it is a nice dream and we all wish to live as long as we can. This is because of the Buddha’s teachings that we know our limitations. The world is awakened to the value of each individual life that we are able to interact with in this stream together.

Go beyond your own life and share in this stream which eventually leads to a great ocean. We have taken on this mission of sharing Light and Compassion through our actions. Last month’s Dana Delivery letter was entitled Nembutsu Sangha Strong. Briefly, it was to help everyone associated with the temple to have a vision and find strength within. For everyone Buddhist or not, the driving force of this Community’s Strength are the roots of this place’s past which are the six syllables of Na mo A mi da Bu tsu or Nembutsu. When we work together for a common goal the action washes away our feelings of self, we reflect on the influences or memories that give us encouragement like services or even events like mochitsuki, and we purify our minds. Be in that moment and nowhere else. When we say Nembutsu Sangha Strong, we really think of what embodies the Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple or what this Community is made up of like the Cub Scout Pack 79, Girl Scout Troop 5325, Dharma School, Adult Buddhist Association, Buddhist Women’s Association, Friends, Families, and the Members past and present. With this one Heart that works together for a unified future of Pure Joy, we constantly Celebrate Life Together as being Nembutsu Sangha Strong.

Let Us All Celebrate! We Can Celebrate being a Sangha or as a Community of People traveling together through life. We Can Celebrate the Call of the Buddha that gives us all a solid understanding of what it is to be human. We Can Celebrate the Support received from a Community that works hard together. We Can Celebrate the Heart attained through good will and a lot of growth. Through all this We Can Share and Celebrate a true appreciation of life. Every day is a chance to Give, to Receive, to Attain, and to Share.

Happy New Year Everyone! Continue to stay Safe, Healthy, and Strong!

Namo Amida Butsu,
Rev. Kory Quon
Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple
December 2020

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