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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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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Ikkō Ikki: Nembutsu Uprisings

This talk was given on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom Meeting.

In 15th and 16th Century Japan, Jodo Shinshu priests, warriors, peasant farmers and merchants joined forces to create and defend communities grounded in the Nembutsu teaching.

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The following handout is provided for your reference during the talk:

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A Place for Awakening

This past month the San Mateo Buddhist Temple had the honor of hosting a tour group from the San Francisco Foundation that was visiting sites in North Central San Mateo to learn more about the history of our neighborhood, how it is changing, and the current challenges faced by its residents.  The tour organizers were eager to include SMBT on the tour to highlight the important role that the Japanese-American Buddhist community has played in our neighborhood over the past 120 years.

During the visit, our guests heard from four SMBT Sangha members and longtime residents of North Central about their memories of life in the neighborhood and their hopes for the future.  Each shared a moving story of how their family had overcome challenges to establish meaningful lives here in San Mateo.  I’d like to share one of those stories, as I find it particularly relevant as we prepare to observe our Bodhi Day service on Sunday, December 1, 2020, at 9:30 a.m., in celebration of Sakyamuni Buddha’s realization of enlightenment seated beneath the Bodhi Tree:

The most significant event that happened as a child was the U.S. evacuation order in Feb. 1942.  I was 6 years old then and vividly remember the black-out drills the city had where all lights in the homes and streets had to be turned off until the all-clear sirens would go off and curfews were set at 8:00 PM. 

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How like the voices of the Buddha

At the San Mateo Buddhist Temple, October is the month in which we celebrate Buddhist women of the Nembutsu, including Shinran Shonin’s wife Eshinni and their youngest daughter Kakushinni, who worked tirelessly to ensure that the joy of the Nembutsu would be passed on to future generations. During our Sunday Services this month we will be learning about important women poets of the Nembutsu, including Mrs. Wariko Kai and Mrs. Misuzu Kaneko, who were active in Japan during the early part of the twentieth century.

Mrs. Tomoe Tana, the wife of Rev. Daisho Tana who served as the first assigned minister to the San Mateo Buddhist Temple from 1952-1955, was an inspiring poet of the Nembutsu writing here in the United States. Mrs. Tana was born in Hokkaido in 1913 as the daughter of a Buddhist priest. She married Rev. Tana in 1937 and moved to the United States in 1938, where they lived in Berkeley and then Lompoc.

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The Seed of the Buddha

On April 8, 2018, we warmly welcome you to join us for our Hanamatsuri Service, a joyful celebration of the Birth of Prince Siddhartha Gautama 2,641 years ago in Lumbini, Nepal.  After realizing awakening seated under the Bodhi Tree at age 35, Siddhartha dedicated the rest of his life to teaching the path to liberation from suffering.  From that time, down to the present he has been revered as Sakyamuni Buddha, the Awakened One, Sage of the Sakya Clan.

Sakyamuni Buddha is a great hero to all those whose lives are guided by the wisdom and compassion of the Dharma he taught.  His teachings have provided the strength and clarity needed to face great challenges for people of all walks of life through the generations.  When I reflect on the difficulties we face in our world today, I am guided by those who, inspired by Sakyamuni Buddha’s presence here in our world, have walked the path of the Nembutsu before me.

Rev. Daisho Tana, the first full-time minister to be assigned to our San Mateo Buddhist Temple is one of my heroes.  Tana Sensei was living in Lompoc on the Central Coast of California in December 1941 when the United States declared war on Japan following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. 

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