We Did It! Thank You VHBT Family!

| October 15, 2022

The Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple was able to host a successful Obon! I am exceptionally proud of our temple community for everyone’s hard work. This is a direct reflection of those that have come before that installed the good feelings and memories in us.

Thank You Everyone! Thank you to those that planned! Thank you to those that helped! Thank you to those that came out to support! Thank you to those that shared the moments with your families!

(Photo courtesy of Larry L. Abellera)

I Forgot I Gave Away My Andagi!

Obon was electrifying! We worked together to not only put together a festival with dancing in the street, but helped to create life long memories that will forever be shared. After the first day, I woke up the next morning to have my chicken dinner. Excitedly I got out the container and 2 small dishes, one for the wontons and the other for the Andagi or more locally known as Okinawa dango. As I pulled everything out I found at the end there was an empty dish left. I forgot that I gave away my Andagi balls! We had such a good time that as we completed the dancing on Saturday evening someone came to thank me for the wonderful event and mentioned that it would have been perfect if they would have been able to get some andagi too. They missed the preorder. Hearing this I gave them mine.

Reflecting on this, I would like to thank everyone for being amazing. Everyone worked so hard and changed all the lives that were involved and attended. Let us all go forward together and give a little to make humongous differences!

Celebrating the Gift of Nembutsu

What is taught in the tradition of Shinran Shonin is that the entrusting heart is essential. For when we abandon various practices and take refuge in Amida with singleness of heart, our birth in the Pure Land is settled by the Buddha through the inconceivable Vow-Power.

The state we thus attain is described as ‘with awakening of a single thought of entrusting, we join those who are in the stage of the truly settled.’ Recitation of the nembutsu thereafter should be understood to be the nembutsu as an expression of gratitude for the Tathagata’s benevolence for settling our birth in the Pure Land. Humbly and respectfully.

Rennyo Gobunsho, 5.10

This month we will be kicking off the celebration for the 850th birthday of the founder of our sect, Shinran Shonin. As a joint celebration, we will also be observing the 800th anniversary of the Jodo Shinshu Teaching. Southern District is commemorating these events on Sunday October 30th at the Gardena Buddhist Church. There are two ways to attend. The first is to go in person and the second is to watch on zoom. There is still time to join in either capacity. Please see the VHBT updates for information. I hope everyone attends.

Sometimes a very important question comes up. Should I go attend this ceremony? Yes, you should. Why? We celebrate these occasions because when we reflect within ourselves and look upon the hard path of Buddhism we find the definitive answer that Amida Buddha’s efforts were surely for us. Due to this fact we show our appreciation by sharing these valuable moments with those around us and thereby changing their lives as well.

Shinran Shonin toiled through his youth studying and performing mental and physical practices to purify his heart and mind. He searched and searched and still was not satisfied with the person within. Do you sometimes feel this way? After years of Buddhism, I often think about this. How is it I still get entangled? Of course, we do not go through the same process that our founder went through. We were passed the end result.

Like in the above Gobunsho Letter written by Rennyo Shonin, say Namu Amida Butsu in gratitude. You are already dedicated to this life journey and have already joined those who are in the stage of the truly settled. As time moves forward, we easily forget the value of coming together and sharing in these moments and receive the teachings.

Let us all use this opportunity on October 30th to experience a service that we may not be able to celebrate again in our lifetime, rededicate ourselves to the Nembutsu path, and finally combine our life energies as Jodo Shinshu Buddhists to be reminded that Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow envelopes everyone so we should all collectively continue in the Light of Wisdom, Compassion, and Joy!

In Gratitude and Appreciation,
Rev. Kory Quon
October, 2022

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