Waking Up to the Dharma

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

7:00 p.m.

Rev. Yuki Sugahara

Oregon Buddhist Temple

When his temple closed for in-person services at the onset of the pandemic, Rev. Yuki Sugahara realized that he would need to try new ways to make the Dharma available to his Sangha members. Inspired by the dedication of the first responders and front-line workers who heroically stepped up to serve the community at the start of this extraordinary crisis, Sugahara Sensei asked himself, “What can I do as Buddhist minister to provide support for people experiencing so much stress and uncertainty?” He began to post short Buddhist services with chanting and a Dharma talk every morning on the Oregon Buddhist Temple YouTube Channel. This daily Dharma connection has sustained many through the challenging times of the past 19 months.

Sugahara Sensei kindly has agreed to join us on November 3 for a live Zoom session, which will be an opportunity to ask questions and share insights inspired by the wealth of Dharma wisdom he has made available through his talks on YouTube.

Prior to the session on November 3, we encourage you to check out Sugahara Sensei’s YouTube Channel and come ready with questions and thoughts related to the Dharma Talks he shares:

We welcome you to join us via Zoom Meeting from the comfort and safety of your own home on Wednesday, November 3 for this Dharma session.

To join us for this online Dharma Session, CLICK HERE and sign up for “Study Classes and Seminars”.

Shōshinge: Hymn of True Shinjin and the Nembutsu (Session 13)

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

We welcome you to join us via Zoom Meeting from the comfort and safety of your own home on Wednesday, June 9 for this free Dharma Study Class.

6:00 p.m. Shōshinge Sōfu Chanting

Chanting Shōshinge embodies the heart of daily Nembutsu practice in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism.  Join us to experience the settled the mind through focused breathing and meditative listening.

7:00 p.m. Reading and Discussion

This month we enter into the section of Shoshinge that is based on the teachings of the Seven Masters who transmitted the Pure Land teaching westward across Asia over the course of two millennia.

The masters of India in the west, who explained the teaching in treatises,
And the eminent monks of China and Japan,
Clarified the Great Sage’s true intent in appearing in the world,
And revealed that Amida’s Primal Vow accords with the nature of beings.

Full text of Shōshinge

Handout

To join us for this online Dharma Session, CLICK HERE and sign up for “Study Classes and Seminars”.

Why I Abandoned Sundry Practices

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

7:00 p.m.

Alexander O’Neill

Ph.D. Candidate, University of Toronto

Visiting Researcher, Taisho University, Tokyo

Alexander O’Neill is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on Mahāyāna Buddhism. He does research on Mahāyāna sūtra literature and the Newar Buddhism of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. His recent publications have focused on the worship of sūtras in manuscript form, both in India and in Nepal. He came to Japan to perform research on Sanskrit ritual manual manuscripts at Taisho University, under the supervision of Ryugen Tanemura, as part of the Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai Canada fellowship. Due to the pandemic he continues to collaborate with local scholars by Zoom, and currently lives in Kamakura.

We welcome you to join us via Zoom Meeting from the comfort and safety of your own home on Wednesday, September 1 for this Dharma session.

To join us for this online Dharma Session, CLICK HERE and sign up for “Study Classes and Seminars”.

Shōshinge: Hymn of True Shinjin and the Nembutsu (Session 12)

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

The nembutsu is the easy path to awakening because its liberating power does not come from our own efforts.  In this month’s gathering we will explore the challenges of entrusting our lives to Amida Buddha’s compassionate Vow.

For evil sentient beings of wrong views and arrogance,
The nembutsu that embodies Amida’s Primal Vow
Is hard to accept in shinjin;
This most difficult of difficulties, nothing surpasses.

Full text of Shōshinge

Handout

To join us for online Dharma Sessions, CLICK HERE and sign up for “Study Classes and Seminars”.

Shōshinge: Hymn of True Shinjin and the Nembutsu (Session 11)

In this session we reflect upon the Dharma truth expressed in the lotus, a symbol of pure awakening that blossoms, not in pristine clear water, but from the messy muck of everyday life.

All foolish beings, whether good or evil,
When they hear and entrust to Amida’s universal Vow,
Are praised by the Buddha as people of vast and excellent understanding;
Such a person is called a pure white lotus.

Full text of Shōshinge

Handout

To join us for this online Dharma Session, CLICK HERE and sign up for “Study Classes and Seminars”.

Shōshinge: Hymn of True Shinjin and the Nembutsu (Session 10)

This session will delve into the meaning expressed the following metaphor of the sun that shines through clouds and mists, and how the Buddha’s wisdom illuminates our lives even in times of difficulty and confusion.

The light of compassion that grasps us illumines and protects us always;
The darkness of our ignorance is already broken through;
Still the clouds and mists of greed and desire, anger and hatred,
Cover as always the sky of true and real shinjin.

But though light of the sun is veiled by clouds and mists,
Beneath the clouds and mists there is brightness, not dark.
When one realizes shinjin, seeing and revering and attaining great joy,
One immediately leaps crosswise, closing off the five evil courses.

Full text of Shōshinge

Handout

To join us for this online Dharma Session, CLICK HERE and sign up for “Study Classes and Seminars”.

Shōshinge: Hymn of True Shinjin and the Nembutsu (Session 9)

This month we consider the following verse which illuminates the the profound transformation that occurs with the arising of the one thought-moment of joy.

When the one thought-moment of joy arises,
Nirvana is attained without severing blind passions;
When ignorant and wise, even grave offenders and slanders of the dharma, all alike turn and enter shinjin,
They are like waters that, on entering the ocean, become one in taste with it.

Full text of Shōshinge

Handout

To join us for online Dharma Sessions, CLICK HERE and sign up for “Study Classes and Seminars”.

The Path to the Pure Land: A Translation of and Commentary on Shinran’s Saihō-Shinan-shō

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

7:00 p.m. via Zoom Meeting

Rev. Dr. Toshikazu Arai

Professor Emeritus

Soai University, Osaka

We invite you join us to hear Rev. Dr. Arai share insights from his recently published translation of Shinran’s record of teachings by his master Honen.  This superb translation makes Saihō-Shinan-shō available to English language readers for the first time.

CLICK HERE to purchase The Path to the Pure Land: A Translation of and Commentary on Shinran’s Saihō-Shinan-shō

To join us for this online Dharma Session, CLICK HERE and sign up for “Study Classes and Seminars”.

Shōshinge: Hymn of True Shinjin and the Nembutsu (Session 8)

This month as we celebrate Sakyamuni Buddha’s Birthday, the following verse from the Shoshinge expresses our appreciation for the meaning of his appearance in this world:

Sakyamuni Tathagata appeared in this world
Solely to teach the ocean-like Primal Vow of Amida;
We, an ocean of beings in an evil age of five defilements,
Should entrust ourselves to the Tathagata’s words of truth.

Full text of Shōshinge

Handout

To join us for this online Dharma Session, CLICK HERE and sign up for “Study Classes and Seminars”.

A Passage on Right Views from Shinran’s True Teaching, Practice, and Realization

Chapter on Transformed Buddha-Bodies and Lands, Section 88

Chapter Eight, “Evil Spirits” Attainment of Reverent Trust,” part one, of the Great Collection “Moon-Matrix” Sutra, fascicle five, states:

[The Buddha said,] “All beings! If you keep your distance from wrong views, you will gain ten kinds of virtue. What are these ten? First, with your mind pliant and good, you will have companions who are wise and virtuous. Second, believing in the recompense of actions, leading even to death, you will not commit any evil acts. Third, venerating the three treasures, you will not trust in gods. Fourth, adopting right views, you will not decide propitious or unpropitious times according to the season, day or month. Fifth, always being born in realms of human beings or devas, you will never fall into the evil courses. Sixth, attaining a mind of clarity in wisdom and goodness, you will be praised by others. Seventh, abandoning secular involvements, you will always pursue the holy path. Eighth, parting from views of annihilation and eternality, you will believe in the law of causation. Ninth, you will always meet and be with people of right faith, right practice, and right aspiration. Tenth, you will be born into the good courses of existence.

“You will direct the roots of good acquired from casting off wrong views toward attainment of supreme, perfect enlightenment. People who do so quickly fulfill the six paramitas and will attain perfect enlightenment in a Buddha-land of goodness and purity. Having achieved enlightenment, they will adorn sentient beings with their virtues, wisdom, and all their roots of good in their own Buddha-land. Being born in those lands, people do not put trust in gods; leaving behind their fear of the evil course, they will be born into good courses on ending their lives there.”