Buddhist Tradition of the San Mateo Buddhist Temple

The San Mateo Buddhist Temple is one of 60 temples in the United States which is part of the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA). These temples practice the Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land Teaching) form of Buddhism.

Two prominent streams are often identified in the Buddhist tradition. One is the Theravada (the Way of the Elders) which is predominant in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. The ideal life is to become an Arhart, one who devotes himself to Buddhist discipline. Monks play an important role.

The other stream is the Mahayana (Great Vehicle) which is predominant in China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Taiwan, Tibet, and Vietnam. The ideal life is the Bodhisattva. Those who who pursue the bodhisattva ideal, priest or lay, devotes themselves to the salvation of all beings, even giving up their own salvation if necessary, for the salvation of others.

There are several groups under Mahayana. Vajrayana (Diamond Vehicle), has more emphasis on monks (Dalai Lama is an example), Tendai, Shingon, Zen (meditative practice), Nichiren (Lotus sutra) and Jodo Shinshu to list a few.

Jodo Shinshu has 10 branches, the two most prominent are Nishi (west) Hongwanji-ha and Higashi (east) Otani-ha. The BCA belongs to the Nishi Hongwanji-ha, which has its headquarters in Kyoto, Japan.

The American Shin Buddhist practice emphasizes listening to the Dharma (teachings). We are non-monastic. We rely on Amida Buddha with our whole heart. We believe that the assurance of ultimate liberation from suffering comes at the very moment we entrust our lives to the wisdom and compassion of Amida Buddha, and we recite the name, Namu Amida Butsu, in joy and gratitude for the Buddha’s compassion.

At the San Mateo Buddhist Temple, listening to the Dharma can be done at our Sunday family services starting at 9:30 AM. All ages are welcome. Following Sunday service there is a Dharma School available for children of Temple members. During holidays, we have extended services. Adult English and Japanese lectures are held once a month; date and time varies. Once a month Memorial services are conducted. Annual events include a one-day Nembutsu seminar, Pet Memorial service, Year-end service, New Years service and other religious and social activities for both adults and children.

The public is welcome to any of the services. Please call the Temple at (650) 342-2541 to verify the date and time of the upcoming services.