Reedley Buddhist Church
2035 15th Street - P.O. Box 24
Reedley, CA  93654                        
Phone: (559) 638-2146

 

Email Church President, Gary Sakata:   reedleybcpres@gmail.com
Email Webmaster:  reedleybc@hotmail.com

Ministers:  Rev. Kakei Nakagawa, Rinban Fresno Betsuin
                 Rev. Alan Sakamoto, Fresno Bestuin  

 

About Us


The Reedley Buddhist Church was established in 1936 with the Rev. Rijun Katsueda becoming the first resident minister. After World War II and the relocation of the Japanese residents, the church was rebuilt in 1952-53 and the Rev. Gibun Kimura became the third minister. In 1961, the Sunday School classrooms, conference room, office, and restrooms were started and completed in 1962. A boyhood statue of Shinran Shonin was donated by Mr. Seichi Hirose of Japan and placed in the U-shaped garden. The entire project was completed and dedicated on April 15, 1967. Rev. George Shibata, our retired resident minister, began his association with the Reedley Buddhist Church in 1975 and completed 37 years in December, 2011. Rev. Hidehito Sakamoto was appointed as resident minister in March, 2012 until December, 2013.  At the present time, without a resident minister, Reedley is under the supervision of Rinban Kakei Nakagawa and Rev. Alan Sakamoto of the Fresno Betsuin Temple.

The church renovated the conference room and added a new kitchen facility in 2004. They added a new wrought iron fence surrounding the property in 2006, updated the hondo in 2007, and completed a storage building next to the small kitchen in 2008. The social hall bathrooms received an update in 2010 and in 2011 the grounds between the hall and the Japanese School building were graded and decomposed granite was added. 

The membership continues to hold steady with approximately 175 members. The Buddhist Women's Association, the Reedley Dharma School, and the Jr. Young Buddhist Association remain active and support all activities sponsored by the church.

 


Did you notice?  This is a new website!  I hope it is an easier and friendly site to use.  If you have any problems, please let me know!  Since I am limited on how many page buttons at the top of the page, please go to Pictures and Other Information for more.  
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Announcement:

        

                          


Hatsubon Service

     The following families will be observing Hatsubon
at the Sunday, July 27, 2014 service at 10:00 AM.

     The families of:

Gloria Lorraine Aoki
Noburo Togioka
Hisao Bill Tsuji
Yoshiko Kubota
Joan Masae Sasaki
Haruichi Hanemoto
Clarence Yamada

     A family representative will be asked to light a lantern for his/her loved one during the service.  
     If you had a loved one that passed away from July, 2013 to present, and you would like to have him/her included in this service, please contact President, Gary Sakata. 



The Reedley Buddhist Women's Association held a bake sale at the Town & Country Market in April.      

Crab Feed guests bidding on items in the Silent Auction in March, 2014.

    


Announcement:

            

                          Calendar of Events for July, 2014

5      Buddhist Broadcast on KBIF (900 AM)           7:25 am

12    Buddhist Broadcast on KBIF (900 AM)           7:25 am
  Fresno Obon Festival                              7:30 pm

16     Church Board Meeting (note time)                    7:30 pm

17     Omigaki (Altar Cleaning)                                    6:00 pm

19     Buddhist Broadcast on KBIF (900 AM)           7:25 am
  Fowler Obon                                                         8:00 pm

20     Parlier Obon                                                        8:00 pm

24     Skewering Beefsticks                                            1:00 pm
   Skewering Beefsticks  (if needed)                       6:30 pm

26    Buddhist Broadcast on KBIF (900 AM)            7:25 am
        Reedley Obon Festival (food)                               5:00 pm
        
Reedley Obon Odori                                          8:00 pm

27    Combined Hatsubon/Obon Service &
        Monthly Memorial Service                                 10:00 am


 2014 Reedley Dharma Scholarship Recipients - Pictured L to R: Church President Gary Sakata, Connor Osato, James Kamada, Crystal Ikemiya, Rinban Nakagawa.

      2014 Reedley Dharma School Perfect Attendance Awardees

      Graduates:  James, Kelsey, Connor, & Crystal 

    

Minister's Message


Message from Rev. Kakei Nakagawa 
Rinban, Fresno Betsuin 

    (as printed in the July, 2014 newsletter)
 

Three aspects to the story of O-Bon
O-Bon is the most familiar festival celebrated by Buddhists. The dates are July 13 through 16th annually.
Historically speaking, the origin of Bon is usually ascribed to the legend of Maudgaly?yana in the Ullambana-s?tra. According to the sutra, there was a disciple by name of Maudgaly?yana (Sanskrit) or Mokuren (Chinese), among the chief followers of ??kyamuni Buddha. Being one of the greatest disciples of the Buddha, the literature tells us, he was endowed with the supernatural transcendental power to see any happening in the entire Universe. One day, as he cast a glance into the world of hungry ghost, Pr?ta-l?ka, to his astonishment, he found his beloved, departed mother being tortured by hunger and thirst. Shuddering at this pitiful scene, he sent a bowl of rice to her, but as soon as her lips touched the food, it burst into flames. Without hesitation he gave her some water, but the result was the same. Weeping aloud in bloody tears, Mokuren sought his master ??kyamuni Buddha to ask what to do about his poor mother. The teacher’s answer was, “Even your sincere piety, Mokuren, cannot save your mother who has been receiving the result of her own deeds in her previous life. The only way left for you is to show the deepest sincerity possible. His exertion of a torrent of love, through pure D?na, was depicted in the s?tra as climaxing in the final deliverance of his beloved mother. The Bon Odori is ascribed to this exultation of Mokuren’s mother and her co-habitants in the preta-loka.
Now looking at this legend, we find that there are stages of interpretation in the Mokuren episode. They are the first, second and third from my interpretation.
Before going into the main topic, we should know the way of understanding Buddhism itself. Buddhism should be studied not with intellect only, but with both mind and body. Buddhism never denies science but never clings to it either. We may say that it is super-logical, not anti-logical.
In Japan, a young man invited a famous priest for a visit. In the waiting room there was a table on which was a goldfish tank. Seeing about 20 goldfish moving in the tank, the youth asked the priest, “Are you able to count the fish in there?” “Yes” was the answer. “The fish are moving constantly, how can you count them?”
“I will kill them first and count one by one.” The young man was astonished at this answer and shouted, “Kill! How can you say that? That is the last word I had expected from a Buddhist priest who always preached “Not to kill”. “Take it easy young man. I will not actually kill them. I ask to borrow your cell-camera. I will take a picture of the tank and count the goldfish in the picture.” The fish in the picture are not alive. In that sense, the priest said that he was going to stop the life of the goldfish for a moment.
This kind of interpretation is the first step in the episode of Mokuren. That is the literal reading of the story. If our question to this story is literal, the answer will be literal and we may learn many Buddhistic teachings such as the practice of pure giving, the love of one’s mother and the Buddha’s compassion.
The second step of interpretation is to understand that the pitiful story of Mokuren’s mother was a projection of Mokuren’s inner-existence, of imperfection; of suffering; of ignorance, ignorant desire -to satiate endless covetousness.
The third step is to interpret that Mokuren is not a man remote from us but we, ourselves. Each step is important, but the final step culminates in Shinran’s confession that Amida’s Vow is only for himself. This does not point to his arrogance, but his most sincere look into himself.
Our sincere longing for what we are lost of is expressed in the O-Bon ballad:
O-Bon is a joyous season,
On these days, My beloved ones who have departed,
Even they return to us on this earth.
With this special Buddhist season, I am sure that family members who have lost any of their loved ones during the past year or years really feel the deep meaning. “Joy” is not of course, ordinary, shallow-rooted or vacant, but an unshakable source of reliance. This is the unmovable condition of mind derived from entrusting in Buddha’s teaching. “They return” stands for our most sincere longing for our loved ones.
Each of the three steps of interpreting O-Bon have their own significance, finally resolving into Shinran’s joyful confession that, “Amida’s vow is only for me, Shinran.” This is not the voice of arrogance.

Three Aspects to the Story of O-Bon


     O-Bon is the most familiar festival celebrated by Buddhists. The dates are July 13 through 16th annually.  Historically speaking, the origin of Bon is usually ascribed to the legend of Maudgaly?yana in the Ullambana-s?tra. According to the sutra, there was a disciple by name of Maudgaly?yana (Sanskrit) or Mokuren (Chinese), among the chief followers of ??kyamuni Buddha. Being one of the greatest disciples of the Buddha, the literature tells us, he was endowed with the supernatural transcendental power to see any happening in the entire Universe. One day, as he cast a glance into the world of hungry ghost, Pr?ta-l?ka, to his astonishment, he found his beloved, departed mother being tortured by hunger and thirst. Shuddering at this pitiful scene, he sent a bowl of rice to her, but as soon as her lips touched the food, it burst into flames. Without hesitation he gave her some water, but the result was the same. Weeping aloud in bloody tears, Mokuren sought his master ??kyamuni Buddha to ask what to do about his poor mother. The teacher’s answer was, “Even your sincere piety, Mokuren, cannot save your mother who has been receiving the result of her own deeds in her previous life. The only way left for you is to show the deepest sincerity possible. His exertion of a torrent of love, through pure D?na, was depicted in the s?tra as climaxing in the final deliverance of his beloved mother. The Bon Odori is ascribed to this exultation of Mokuren’s mother and her co-habitants in the preta-loka.  Now looking at this legend, we find that there are stages of interpretation in the Mokuren episode. They are the first, second and third from my interpretation.

     Before going into the main topic, we should know the way of understanding Buddhism itself. Buddhism should be studied not with intellect only, but with both mind and body. Buddhism never denies science but never clings to it either. We may say that it is super-logical, not anti-logical.  In Japan, a young man invited a famous priest for a visit. In the waiting room there was a table on which was a goldfish tank. Seeing about 20 goldfish moving in the tank, the youth asked the priest, “Are you able to count the fish in there?” “Yes” was the answer. “The fish are moving constantly, how can you count them?”

“I will kill them first and count one by one.” The young man was astonished at this answer and shouted, “Kill! How can you say that? That is the last word I had expected from a Buddhist priest who always preached “Not to kill”. “Take it easy young man. I will not actually kill them. I ask to borrow your cell-camera. I will take a picture of the tank and count the goldfish in the picture.” The fish in the picture are not alive. In that sense, the priest said that he was going to stop the life of the goldfish for a moment.

     This kind of interpretation is the first step in the episode of Mokuren. That is the literal reading of the story. If our question to this story is literal, the answer will be literal and we may learn many Buddhistic teachings such as the practice of pure giving, the love of one’s mother and the Buddha’s compassion.

     The second step of interpretation is to understand that the pitiful story of Mokuren’s mother was a projection of Mokuren’s inner-existence, of imperfection; of suffering; of ignorance, ignorant desire -to satiate endless covetousness.

     The third step is to interpret that Mokuren is not a man remote from us but we, ourselves. Each step is important, but the final step culminates in Shinran’s confession that Amida’s Vow is only for himself. This does not point to his arrogance, but his most sincere look into himself.

Our sincere longing for what we are lost of is expressed in the    
O-Bon ballad:

                       O-Bon is a joyous season,

       On these days, My beloved ones who have departed,

                  Even they return to us on this earth.
 

With this special Buddhist season, I am sure that family members who have lost any of their loved ones during the past year or years really feel the deep meaning. “Joy” is not of course, ordinary, shallow-rooted or vacant, but an unshakable source of reliance. This is the unmovable condition of mind derived from entrusting in Buddha’s teaching. “They return” stands for our most sincere longing for our loved ones.

     Each of the three steps of interpreting O-Bon have their own significance, finally resolving into Shinran’s joyful confession that, “Amida’s vow is only for me, Shinran.” This is not the voice of arrogance.

                        


Minister's Message


Message from Rev. Alan Sakamoto, Fresno Betsuin
    (as printed in the July, 2014 newsletter)

Post-It Notes 

      Hello! How are you? It’s already July, and half the year has gone by. Where did all the time go? I hope that you all have a wonderful Fourth of July Holiday. What will you eat? Many of you already know that I love food, and am looking forward to the BBQ hamburgers and hot dogs. I also love fireworks, so I’m looking forward to the holiday show too. 
     Just recently, I was reading an interesting article by Eric Barker, “How 5 Post-It Notes Can Make You Happy, Confident and Successful.”  I was very curious after only reading the title. You see, I have a dear friend who is constantly writing notes to herself on Post-It notes and sticking them everywhere you 
can think of. Important dates and events? She writes it on a Post-It. Phone numbers? She writes it on a Post-It. She writes notes so often that sometimes I think she has to recall where she put the Post-It!  And, yes, sometimes she forgets where she stuck them. I laugh with her about them, and kid her about them all the time. But, in the end, this system works well for her, and I respect that.  
     Eric Barker cites some interesting studies. One says, “older people shown pictures of faces or situations tend to focus on and remember the happier ones more and the negative ones less.” He also notes that simple reminders help people “act more ethically, quit smoking, and save more money.” So, he suggests that a couple of well placed Post-It Notes can have a major impact on our lives. He says to begin by writing notes on three things that you are thankful for. And, says, “we think of happiness as something deep and profound but it’s often as simple as keeping the good things on top of the mind.” 
     This is very similar in ways to Naikon therapy which has an exercise where you recall three things that you are thankful for that occurred during the day. How many times do we come home from a tough day at work or school and focus on all the negative things that went wrong. We bring home and hang on to all those negatives, and we perpetuate that terrible, angry, upset and depressed feeling. We need to let that all go. Try the exercise and think of those three good things, things that you are grateful for. Soon, you will find that you are much less volatile and that you consistently practice a positive attitude. Try it! You’ll be surprised how a simple daily exercise can change your outlook. 
      Eric Barker also suggests writing on a Post-It Note something that you are proud of having accomplished. Are you proud of graduating from college? How about finishing that degree while you were working full time and raising a family? Write it down, and this will be a great reminder of a proud and confident accomplishment. How about writing down something that you are looking forward to? This note can provide you with an optimistic reminder. Looking forward to something is powerful and makes us hopeful, happier and optimistic. 
     My suggestion? I think that you can write “Namu Amida Butsu” and place it somewhere to remind you about how thankful we should be. We are fortunate to live at this moment in time, to have our family with whom we can share those precious and joyous moments in life, to have friends who stand with us together to face all the difficulties in life, and to all those who preceded us to pave a path that allows us to live a life with the Buddha Dharma as our guide. The Buddha Dharma is present and teaches us how we can live a much more satisfied life. We are indeed fortunate for all those Buddhist teachers and Sangha members who have come before us. We owe a debt of gratitude to them, and a simple Post-It Note can keep that thought in the forefront as we live our hectic lives. 
     It is also Obon season! Bring out those “kachi kachis.” Bring that empty stomach so you can enjoy all those different delicacies, and bring a huge smile as you dance around the Yagura with all your friends. Yes, it’s a special time. Do you run the Obon circuit and attend other temples and festivals to dance and eat? It has always been one of my favorite times at the temple. Perhaps, I’ll see you dancing this year, or maybe in line to get some food. But, maybe, just maybe, it is something else to put on that Post-It to bring a smile and a moment to thank all those family members who have come before us. Again, a moment to remember all that they have contributed for our benefit. 
     Oh, and back to my friend. I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on her about all those notes all over the place. They remind her of what to do, when to do it, and yes, even more importantly, to keep smiling and be happy in the moment. I guess I should follow her lead and head to the office supply store to buy some Post-It Notes! 

Namu Amida Butsu 

Rev. Alan Sakamoto