Most Sunday Services at the Venice Hongwanji are hosted by the Venice Hongwanji Dharma School (Dharma School). The Dharma School is dedicated to providing a rich multi-lingual and multi-cultural religious education program founded on the teaching of Jodo Shinshu for all attendees of the weekly Sunday Service. As part of the Sunday Service, English is the primary language spoken. However, Japanese, Chinese, Sanskrit and Pali terms are also introduced as part of the service.
Dharma School classes are held following the Sunday morning services for children ranging from pre-school through high school age. There is also a Buddhist Education Committee that holds Buddhist education sessions for adults.
The teaching staff of the Dharma School is required to fulfill a rigorous 1-year training program. All teaching staff of the Venice Hongwanji Dharma School have earned the Dharma Award, which is granted by the Buddhist Churches of America.
In 1955, Venice Hongwanji Dharma School activities were established. Reverend Shoki Mohri, from the Betsuin, with the assistance of Mrs. Sumiye Watari, gathered twelve students at the Fukushima residence for the first service. The first Dharma School Superintendent was Walter Kitagawa. Throughout the years, Dharma School locations have changed from the original temple, to the Venice Japanese Community Center (during the time of renovation), and then back to the temple site.
Membership & Registration Information
To enroll Dharma School, just visit us at the temple for Dharma School service beginning at 9:30 AM on Sundays (please refer to the Dharma School Calendar for a detailed schedule.) Ask for the superintendent or any Dharma School teacher to assist you.
In addition, please fill out this school roster form so we have your contact information.
Dharma School Class Assignments
|1st/2nd/3rd Grades||Judy Hopfield & Julia Ueda|
|4th/5th Grades||Janis Ozaki|
|Middle School||Karyn Heyl|
|High School||Emily Kariya|
Basic Curriculum Overview
“Namo Amida Butsu”
~Thank You For Saving Me~
|Preschool/Kindergarten||* Introduction to gratitude.|
|1st/2nd||* Continuation of gratitude.
* Amida embraces all of us.
|3rd/4th||* Introduction to the concept of suffering.
* Introduction to the 18th primal vow.
|5th/6th||* 4 Noble Truths
* 8 Fold Path
* 6 Paramitas
|7th/8th (Middle School)||* 18th Primal Vow
* Life of Shinran Shonin
* Rennyo Shonin
|9th-12th (High School)||* Nichijoseikatsu (Everyday Living)|
A video created by the 7th Grade Dharma School class in 2010:
Good Attendance Award
Objective: To attend Venice Hongwanji Dharma School with three (3) absences or less each school year, September to August.
Dharma School (DS) teachers will take attendance each DS class session. (Refer to the official DS School calendar for class session days.)
If a DS student is absent for a DS class, they may make it up (up to three missing attendances) by contacting their DS teacher and completing missing assignments.
“Extra credit” will be given to students who attend special services (Obon service, Joya-e, etc.) when there is no official class session that same day. This “extra credit” can be used to make up a missed day of DS.
Students who miss DS at Venice Hongwanji but attend DS at another temple that same day can get their absence excused with documentation from the other temple.
Good attendance awards will be presented each year at the annual Oseibo Taikai Service.
Calendar Of Events
Please see the Temple Calendar for the most up to date Dharma School happenings!