Sangha Voices is a collection of profiles and perspectives featuring our temple members. In this installment, Juliet Bost (San Mateo Buddhist Women’s Association Corresponding Secretary and Young Buddhist Editorial member) speaks about their experience growing up participating in temple activities and connection to the Dharma.
My name is Juliet Bost and I use they/them/theirs pronouns. My family moved to San Mateo from New Jersey in 2013 and first attended Palo Alto Buddhist Temple before transitioning to the San Mateo Buddhist Temple in 2015. Going to temple was a “return” to Jodo Shinshu for my family, a tradition from my grandfather’s family that we wanted to uphold.
I spent my high school years involved in SMBT activities, like Jr. YBA and SMBT’s high school-age Discussion Group. I have many fond memories working with this group, and I especially enjoyed the summers filled with bazaar preparation and Bon Odori festivals. Bazaar weekend was particularly grueling work, but we built a sense of community while flipping burgers in the snack bar and manning the Nickel Pitch booth in the sweltering summer heat. The Bon Odori in August was the last temple gathering of the summer and was always a little bittersweet.
SMBT has also helped nurture my understanding of the Dharma as a personal and communal experience. I have been able to participate in various Sunday service roles to assist Rev. Adams, including ringing the kansho at the beginning of service, leading chanting, and providing Dharma reflections. Leading Sunday services allowed me to see my own role in the sangha, and helped integrate me into the SMBT community. Most importantly, by sharing my own reflections on the Buddhadharma, I opened myself to hearing other deep and meaningful reflections from sangha members.
Being a part of SMBT has shown me the countless ways we can live the Dharma as a community and an individual. These stories and histories have shaped my own worldview and way of being in the world, and never cease to inspire me.