What We Do Today

As we remember loved ones who crossed over to the Other Shore in the month of December, Rev. Adams shares reflections on a recent chance encounter with a temple member while navigating the challenges of parenting a toddler during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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On the Path Free from Doubt

As we remember our loved ones who crossed over to the Other Shore in the month of November, Rev. Adams considers the peace of mind that we realize through trusting in the Buddha’s compassionate vow.

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The First Noble Truth: Removing Pain and Giving Comfort

Rev. Adams shares reflections on Veteran’s Day and transforming conflict through compassion, particularly how the practice of removing pain and giving comfort provides healing in our lives, in our communities and between nations.

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Gratitude in the pandemic

At the time of writing this article, the students and staff at the Adams Ichinomiya Elementary School are enjoying fall break.  This week, we have happily traded our usual Covid-19 distance learning routine of online meetings and trips back and forth between our desks and the scanner to submit schoolwork online for days spent freely playing samurai in the backyard, splashing around in the river at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and digging for sand crabs at the beach.

Even as I recognize how fortunate we are to be in good health and living in a neighborhood that has not been threatened by the Hurricanes and wildfires that have impacted so many people across the country in recent weeks, I have to admit that there have been times when I have felt exhausted by all the precautions that we have had to adopt over the past eight months to prevent the spread of coronavirus.  When I think about a Halloween with no trick-or-treating, and a holiday season without the big gatherings of family and friends that we look forward to each year, at times it can be difficult to feel gratitude.

While many of my favorite activities are being severely curtailed this year in accordance with the guidelines provided by our public health officials, I receive my mail and packages, my garbage gets collected on schedule, my children’s education continues, crops are harvested, and the grocery stores remain open, all thanks to the dedication of essential workers who have continued to work long hours in challenging—and often hazardous—situations.  San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow continues to highlight the sacrifices these workers are making for us in his public statements.  On July 20, he wrote:

A majority of people we are seeing infected now are front line workers (people who allow the rest of us to eat, and have electricity, and have our garbage picked up, etc.), live in crowded multigenerational conditions, live with lack of trust in, and in fact have downright fear of, government.  Remember to stem the spread of this very transmissible virus, people who are infected need to be separated from others (isolation and quarantine), not go out in public, and not go to work while they are infectious.  Try getting compliance with isolation and quarantine when the infected person is the breadwinner for the family and the family will be out on the street if they don’t go to work.

In this way, it is not only the front-line workers themselves, but also their families who are bearing the brunt of this pandemic in our community.

From the beginning of this Covid-19 pandemic, doctors, nurses, medical staff, and first responders have continued to courageously step up to provide care for those in need.  They have made great sacrifices working long hours at risk to their own health in order to treat patients and better understand this disease.  Dr. Li Wenliang, a doctor working at Wuhan Central Hospital and one of the first to sound the alarm about the serious threat posed by this new coronavirus, contracted the disease while battling the epidemic in the early days and crossed over to the Other Shore on February 7, 2020.

We can show our gratitude for the courage and sacrifice of those on the front lines by heeding their guidance and taking care not to further spread the virus through negligence and disregard.  Always remembering to wear a mask out in public and maintain at least six feet of social distance requires mindfulness, concentration and diligence.  The Buddha teaches that the way to deepen our practice of these virtues is to let go our attachments to “me” and “mine.” 

When my perspective shifts from “all these rules make my life inconvenient” to “so much is being done by others each day to support and preserve my life,” a window of gratitude opens in my mind as the light of the Buddha’s wisdom shines in and dispels the darkness of my ignorance.  In those moments, I reach for my mask and say Namo Amida Butsu in gratitude for the Buddha’s wisdom and the kindness of the many bodhisattvas who are hard at work supporting and guiding me through this life.

Namo Amida Butsu

What is Essential? Finding the Nembutsu in COVID-19

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

7:00 p.m.

John Mullins

Ministerial Aspirant

Institute of Buddhist Studies

We welcome you to join us via Zoom Meeting from the comfort and safety of your own home on Wednesday, October 7 for this free Dharma session.

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

When we meet, we will smile

Each year during our Obon and Hatsubon Service, I am reminded of the power of the Buddhadharma to provide guidance and support for us as we navigate our feelings of grief.  As school for my sons usually begins a few days after our San Mateo Buddhist Temple Obon Observance, I have come to associate our Obon with the end of summer.  Opening the freezer at the temple to put away the Obon service manju for an occasion when we can all enjoy them together, I noticed three large bags of frozen hamburgers.  I was suddenly reminded of the delicious hamburgers grilled at the temple picnic and all the experiences that we did not get to have this summer: bazaar—which marks the start of summer in my mind, the annual BWA service at the Japanese Cemetery in Colma, followed by brunch with BWA members at Denny’s in South San Francisco, a family trip to Japan, our summer Terakoya day camp, spam musubi at Obon Odori practices, and chanting together with a Hondo full of attendees at our Obon and Hatsubon service. 

Continue reading “When we meet, we will smile”

Prajñā: The Wisdom of Acceptance

At a time when many of us are dealing with anxiety, frustration and impatience as we feel the effects of climate change in our lives while the Covid-19 pandemic continues to restrict our daily activities, we look to the wisdom of the Issei and Nisei Dharma pioneers, and consider meaning of Japanese expression “Shikata ga nai” (It can’t be helped).

This Dharma talk is Part Six in a six-part series delivered via Zoom Meeting exploring the core Mahayana Buddhist teaching of the Six Paramitas: giving, discipline, patience, diligence, concentration, and wisdom.  The Six Paramitas describe the characteristics of a well-lived Buddhist life, and endeavoring to practice them in everyday situations is a lifelong journey.

To join us for online Dharma Services, CLICK HERE to sign up for “Live Broadcast of Services”.

Dhyāna: When the Bridge of Concentration is Washed Away

Rev. Adams reflects upon the challenges of maintaining concentration during the Covid-19 pandemic, how we can find inspiration in the life of Osono of Mikawa who struggled with mental concentration herself, and the teachings that Shinran received from Hōnen on maintaining concentration in the most crucial moment of life.

This Dharma talk is Part Five in a six-part series delivered via Zoom Meeting exploring the core Mahayana Buddhist teaching of the Six Paramitas: giving, discipline, patience, diligence, concentration, and wisdom.  The Six Paramitas describe the characteristics of a well-lived Buddhist life, and endeavoring to practice them in everyday situations is a lifelong journey.

Slides for explanation of the Chinese Character for “time”

To join us for online Dharma Services, CLICK HERE to sign up for “Live Broadcast of Services”.

Dāna: Giving Peace of Mind

At this time when many of our neighbors are struggling to meet their basic needs, we consider how the Buddhist practice of giving has the power to overcome greed in our lives, our communities, and our society.

This Dharma talk is Part One in a six-part series delivered via Zoom Meeting exploring the core Mahayana Buddhist teaching of the Six Paramitas: giving, discipline, patience, diligence, concentration, and wisdom.  The Six Paramitas describe the characteristics of a well-lived Buddhist life, and endeavoring to practice them in everyday situations is a lifelong journey.