Pine, Bamboo, and Plum

As we turn the page on the truly extraordinary year that was 2020, some of our Sangha members will be adorning their homes with branches of pine, bamboo, and plum (shōchikubai) to welcome the New Year 2021 with these auspicious symbols that embody the virtue of resilience in the face of adversity. 

Pine remains ever green, even in the cold of winter.  It expresses consistency and stability.  Bamboo does not break when bent by winter storms or piling snow.  It shows us that there is great strength in remaining flexible during challenging times.  Plum flowers blossom in the cold months and remind us that winter gives way to springtime.  Just as our pleasurable experiences do not last forever, neither do the times of pain and difficulty.  The beauty of the plum flower blossoms in the season of cold and darkness.

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The Meaning of 108

The number 108 has great significance in Buddhism. There are multiple commentaries the meaning of 108. The following are two common explanations.


Nagarjuna’s explanation of the significance of the number 108 from his Commentary on the Perfection of Great Wisdom:

Human beings have 6 senses 六受:

1) sight 眼→色

2) sound 耳→声

3) smell 鼻→香

4) taste 舌→味

5) touch 身→触

6) thought 意→法

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New Year’s Day Service

January 1


Join us from the comfort and safety of your own home to welcome 2021. Please do not come to the temple in-person.

Prepare a beverage and a wish to share, as we welcome you to join us in toasting the New Year via Zoom from your home after service!

Schedule
9:15 a.m. Shoshinge Gyofu Chanting
10:00 a.m. New Year’s Eve Dharma Service

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

New Year’s Eve Service

December 31


Join us from the comfort and safety of your own home to bid farewell to 2020. Please do not come to the temple in-person.

Prepare a bell to join us in ringing out the past year via Zoom from your home.  If you don’t have a bell at home, we welcome you to find a creative alternative!

Schedule
6:00 p.m. Shōya Raisan Chanting
7:00 p.m. New Year’s Eve Dharma Service

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

Kasa Jizo (Hats for Jizo) Story and Dharma Talk

December 20

We are delighted to welcome back Mary Jo Kubota Sensei from our SMBT Summer Terakoya teaching team to share a traditional kamishibai telling of the story of Hats for Jizo (Kasa Jizo) in English.  Rev. Henry’s Dharma Talk will highlight the Buddhist themes in this beloved children’s tale of Japan.

Schedule
8:30 a.m. Shōya Raisan Chanting
9:00 a.m. Taiso Morning Exercise with instructor Juliet Bost
9:30 a.m. Dharma Service featuring The Story of Kasa Jizo
10:30 a.m. Japanese Language Service 日本語法要
We hope to connect up with you on Sunday!

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

Dharma School Teacher Interview: Mrs. Yuko Suruki, San Mateo Buddhist Temple

This interview by Rev. Ryuta Furumoto originally appeared in the Japanese section of the Wheel of Dharma BCA Newsletter in September 2016. Rev. Adams translated it into English so that our English-speaking readers could enjoy hearing from one of our most energetic Sangha members.

 

For this month’s interview I spoke to Mrs. Yuko Suruki, a Dharma School teacher at the San Mateo Buddhist Temple.

In this interview, we hear from a Dharma School teacher who is working to share the Buddhadharma with the children who will carry the Buddhist Churches of America into the next generation. I was particularly interested in Mrs. Suruki’s perspective as an English-Japanese bilingual Dharma School teacher who knows the cultures of both the United States and Japan.

 

Where were you born?

Toyama, Japan

 

Toyama is known as a place where Jodo Shinshu Buddhism thrives. Does your family in Japan belong to a Jodo Shinshu temple?

Yes, my father is the second son of a temple priest, so our family is Jodo Shinshu Buddhist. My father worked as a school teacher and did not become a priest, but I recall that whenever I visited the temple where my father grew up I would run around in the temple and the grounds playing with my cousins. However, I wasn’t a very serious student of the Dharma back then and wouldn’t chant the sutras every day at home.
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