The mission of the ARIZONA BUDDHIST TEMPLE is to encourage Sangha:
1) to learn the joyful and compassionate teachings of Amida Buddha;
2) to practice these teachings in their daily lives; and
3) to share the teachings with others.
All beings be happy. May they be joyous and live in safety. All living beings, whether weak or strong, tall or short, big or small, visible or not visible, near or far away, already born or yet to be born. May all beings be happy.
May no one deceive or look down on anyone anywhere, for any reason. Whether through feeling angry or through reacting to someone else, may no one want another to suffer. May all beings be happy.
Sunday, June 3rd
9:00 am -Q&A Session
10:00 am - Dharma Service, Shotsuki
11:00 am - Graduation Luncheon,
Open to Public
Saturday, June 9th
05:00 - pm Obon Festival
Dinner and Odori Dance
Open to Public
Sunday, June 10th
10:00 am - Obon Morning Service
Open to Public
Sunday, June 17th
9:00 am -Q&A Session
10:00 am - Dharma Service
Open to Public
Sunday, June 24th
8:30 am -Meditation Class
10:00 am - Dharma Service
Open to Public
The official podcast of the Arizona Buddhist Temple hosted on SoundCloud. The purpose of this cast is to spread the teachings of the Dharma and provide different insights into the teachings of the Buddha. Every cast is a brief introduction of Buddhist concepts, followed by a Dharma message written by one of the temple ministers.
Rev. Lynn Sugiyama
Sensei Vonn Magnin
Sensei Mike Tang
Happy summer, Dharma Friends! Well, I may be just a tad premature on this considering that summer doesn’t officially start until June 21st – but hey, we live in the metro-Phoenix area so it’s already quite warm.
As you know, the Earth rotates on its axis at a 23.5 degree tilt. Summer occurs when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted towards the Sun as the Earth orbits around it. Since our hemisphere is facing the Sun this is why it gets so hot during this time… although, sometimes, it seems like Phoenix isn’t a part of the Earth at all during the summer. Sometimes, it feels more like our city packed up and took a vacation on the surface of the Sun itself!
So I have a question for you: Are you thankful for the Sun during the summer?
I am currently reading a book by a devout Shin Buddhist follower, Dr. Hideo Yonezawa. The book is titled, Awaken to Your True Self. In his book, Dr. Yonezawa states that there are many things in the universe that are not made by man, but are very essential to our existence. He shares his feelings that these things are Buddhas and are worthy of our deepest gratitude:
“The sun, the moon, the earth, and rice all sustain and give us life. Therefore, we all must be reverent to such things. In gratitude, we should put our hands together and humbly gassho to all things. When we are reverent to all things, all things become Buddha. It is a world of nothing but Buddhas. We are living in such a world.”
All life on Earth, including us human beings, are dependent on the Sun. We simply cannot survive without the life-giving warmth that the Sun provides. Therefore, in addition to ensuring that life thrives on our planet, our Sun also makes it possible for each of us to receive the Buddha-Dharma.
I will really try my best to remember this when it’s 120 degrees this summer and you can fry an egg on a sidewalk in Phoenix! I hope you will, too.
Namo Amida Butsu.
Megan Tang - June 2018
Summer is finally upon us! I want to wish everyone a fun, adventurous, and safe summer season. Summertime means Obon season as well. The Arizona Buddhist Temple Obon will be held on June 9th and 10th. Please come out and join us! Our guest minister will be Rev. Fumiaki Usuki. This year we have two Obon lanterns for sale. One is a more formal lantern to be displayed in the hondo and the second is a lantern that will be displayed during Obon Odori. Please see the attached flyer if you would like to order one. Odori practices are in full swing. Everyone is welcome to join us for Odori practice. See the below schedule for dates and times.
On behalf of the temple, I would like to congratulate all of our graduates. We will be having a Graduation Potluck Luncheon on Sunday June 4th. Please come and join us as we celebrate all of the wonderful accomplishments of our graduates and bring your favorite dish to share! I would also like to thank all of our dharma school teachers for all of the hard work they have done this year. They have done an amazing job spreading the dharma amongst our youth.
The Southern District will be hosting the upcoming BCA National Council meeting in March, 2019. Please see the attached letter about donations that can be made to support the conference. Donations can be made to the Arizona Buddhist Temple and are due by June 16th. Thank you in advance for your generous donations. They are much appreciated!
The Obon Festival and Obon Lanterns
Obon, as one of the most popular of the Buddhist observances known to non-Buddhists, it is seen as an observance solely dedicated to the departed. But, Obon is also deeply tied with the present.
Obon Memorial Lantern is a way to express our gratitude to our family and friends who have left this world and attained Perfect Peace. As we reminisce about our departed loved ones, we reflect on our own lives and rededicate ourselves to live in the Nembutsu Teachings which departed loved ones has shown us to follow.
This year, our Temple will be offering two different lanterns for purchase. The more formal lanterns will be displayed inside the Temple Hondo for Obon Service. The second type of lantern will be displayed outdoors for the Obon Odori on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at the Arizona Buddhist
Temple. The tassel of the Obon Memorial Lantern is personalized with an individual name of the departed loved one with his/her name and/or Buddhist Name.
To ensure your Obon Memorial Lantern is hung at our Bon Dance/Obon service, please contact Lynn Sugiyama at the Arizona Buddhist Temple by Sunday, May 27, 2018.
Arizona Buddhist Temple Attention:
Obon Lanterns 4142 W Clarendon Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85019.
For more info: Please contact Lynn Sensei at 602-366-0590.
Arizona Buddhist Temple Women's Club
We would like to thank Hana Japanese Eatery for the Mother’s Day dinner on May 9. Lori, Rick Hashimoto and staff did a great job of cooking the delicious food for approximately 30 attendees. Also, thank you to the Jr. YBA, Sangha Teens and Dharma School children for the Mother’s Day Brunch on May 13.
Preparation for the Chicken Katsu Dinner for Obon will start at 10:00 am on Saturday, June 9. Please come out and help. The Women’s Club will have a pastry sale Saturday evening during Obon so please bring your favorite pastry item by Saturday afternoon, or a donation of $10.00 is requested if you are not able to bring anything. There also will be a Japanese Flea Market. Donations may be taken to the temple by Saturday afternoon, June 9.
The next BWA meeting will be on Sunday, September 23rd at 9:00 am.
Obon Odori Practice Schedule
Monday, May 28th
Wednesday, May 30st
Friday, June 1st
Monday, June 4th
Wednesday, June 6th
Friday, June 8th
**Practice will be held at the Temple at 7:30pm
The Temple will be having a Graduation POTLUCK on Sunday June 4th after Temple service. Please come and join us to celebrate our graduates and bring your favorite dish to share! We will also be recognizing our Dharma School teachers for all of their hard work this last year.
Arizona State University
Midwestern University Glendale
University of Arizona
Northern Arizona University
Arizona State University
-----High School Graduates-----
Arizona School for the Arts
Ingleside Middle School
Payne Jr. High
---2017-2018 Dharma School Teachers---
Vonn Magnin Sensei
Birthday Sunday for May: Sunday, June 24th
Birthday cake: The Tang Family
Chairing in April: Adults (the kids are taking a break =)
Obon: We will have Obon Odori on June 9th in the evening. Practices for Obon Odoir are on May 28th, May 30th, June 1st, June 4th, June 6th, and June 8th. Everyone is welcome to come and learn the dances. Obon service will be held on the morning of June 10th at 10:00am
Graduation Potluck: We are having a graduation potluck on Sunday June 2nd. Please come and bring something to share to celebrate our graduates.
AZBT Wants YOU!
We are looking for additional volunteers for the Toban schedule. The Temple needs more people to help keep our Hondo and associated facilities clean. Right now the schedule is 7 groups rotating every other week with 3 people in a group. The cycle is about every 2 months.
It takes about 1 hour to vacuum the "Hondo" (Main Hall) area and mop and clean the restrooms and kitchen. We would appreciate any availability anyone has to help keep our Temple clean.
To sign up or for more information, please contact Mine Tominaga at
480-‐838-‐3057 or see her at Sunday services.
Memorial Services for 2018
It is never easy to lose someone we love. Unfortunately, everyone has to go through this event. Even though we grieve for our family member who is dying, as Shin Buddhists we believe that they become awakened to the heart and mind of Amida Buddha and at the time of death they are directed to the Pure Land by the Amida Buddha. There, they join the ranks of the truly settled where they attain Nirvana, the place of eternal bliss and tranquility. (Collected Works of Shinran, pg 153, 1997). They have attained Buddhahood, and it is taught that our loved ones then return to this world to teach and guide us to the Pure Land.
The memorial services are for the living because they are opportunities for us to remember our loved one and to listen to the Buddhist teachings. The memorial should not be considered to be a burden to the family and grudgingly planned. It should be planned from the heart. In this manner, the memorial service can be conducted without ill feelings and the Dharma message can be clearly heard. Memorial services can be planned this year if your loved ones passed away during the years in parentheses listed below:
1st Circuit (2017)
3rd Cycle (2016)25th Cycle (1984)
7th Cycle (2012)33rd Cycle (1976)
13th Year (2006)50th Cycle (1969)
17th Year (2002)100th Cycle (1919)
If you have any questions, please call the temple at 602-278-0036. Thank you.
STATEMENT FROM BUDDHIST CHURCHES OF AMERICA: BCA Update, 08/23/17
Statement on the Killing in Charlottesville, Virginia
On August 12, 2017 at a white supremacist rally, a neo-Nazi drove a car into the people protesting his ideology. He killed a woman and injured 19 other people. It was very deplorable and sad to see this incident in Charlottesville, Virginia. I would like to express my deepest sympathies and condolences to the victims’ families and friends.
The action that we witnessed was caused by anger and hatred deriving from a sad American historical background. We, as American citizens and residents, are experiencing the heavy karmic effects of our past history. We should be reminded of the American doctrine that all people are equal, as we often hear. We should turn to the core values of each individual’s religion or faith to find the way to live harmoniously.
No matter what path we walk, we know that we should not get angry or hate others. We know that we want to love everyone. And at a time like this, we all ask why this happened and how we can stop this type of human behavior.
We, as Buddhists, come to hear the urging voices coming from our teachers in the midst of this world of suffering -- this world of samsara. The Buddha is standing with us with tears in his eyes, urging all of us to turn to the Infinite Compassion and Wisdom in order to transcend love and hate. Transcending love and hate does not mean that we eliminate our feelings of love and hate. It means that we recognize and understand that these powerful emotions exist within each of us; they are part of our human condition. We seek to encounter people who feel deep sorrow for our human condition and aspire to attain something worthier.
When we are touched and moved by the Vow of the Buddha to save all beings from suffering with Infinite Wisdom and Compassion directed at us to find the True and Real World beyond our foolish thoughts, we begin to live our lives with humility, understanding, and concern for one another.
Ultimately, we are all within the World of Oneness. Let us start with each individual to help create a better community by hearing the Compassionate Call from the World of True Equality.
Namo Amida Butsu,
Rev. Kodo Umezu
Bishop, Buddhist Churches of America
Ignorance and blind passions abound, When reflect on the establishment of the Vow,
Pervading everywhere like innumerable particles of dust. We find that the Tathagata, witout abandoning sentient
Love and hatred arising out of accord and conflict beings in pain and affliction,
Are like high peaks and mountain ridges. Has taken the directing of virtue to them foremost,
(Collected Works of Shinran, p. 400) Thus fulfilling the mind of great compassion. (CWS, p.408)
Buddhism In My Life
By Sara Jay
Since I was 5 years old, I have been attending the Arizona Buddhist Temple on Sunday’s, as well as attending seminars and conferences in Los Angeles in the Bay Area for the Jr. Youth Buddhist Association. Because of my dedication to Buddhism, you may think I completely rule out any other religion. However, my father has taught me the complete opposite. The many teachings I have learned, only sought to teach me that everyone in this world is made up of events that make them different and unique from each other. However, our connections to each other, interdependence, make us a unifying force in the world. Our differences are not meant to make us defy each other. They are meant to contribute to a grander force that will better the world and make a more peaceful place. By following the Eightfold Path, I have been able to see the brighter light and that you make your own path. By doing so, I have pursued a more open lifestyle, accepting the change I see in the world instead of running from it.
One of the most substantial events in my Buddhist life that helped me to become who I am today is my first leadership conference at Nishi Buddhist Temple my freshmen year. It was an event that brought us so much closer to one another in a period of hours. We were in a room with posters around us that read: school, friends, family, economic status, the future, yourself, etc. Then the administrator would say, “go to the side of the room that makes you feel secure.” Because of this, I was able to witness who felt most comfortable at home, and who was most comfortable with their friends. Then they would say, “go to the side of the room that you hide from the world.” This was the point that made me said. I saw people at ever poster. Some were insecure about themselves, others who lacked friends, and some who had troubles at home. This made me see that so many people lead different lives than us. We may know them as our friends from YBA, but that is only one small, minute part of their life. Similar to what we see in everyday society, you really cannot fathom what people are experiencing in their lives, as humans are very skillfull at picking and choosing what they express on the outside.
The teachings I have learned from seminars, conferences, and weekly Dharma service discussions have taught me that each and every individual is different. There are aspects of our lives that intertwine us, but the events, people we have met, and places we visit separate us from being identical. I learned that there are reasons why some one may have said a rude comment, or why someone chooses to be extremely quiet in school. We should not judge them for this, as we most likely express some of these habits ourselves. But if we can learn to identify and express understanding towards one another, then we will only better ourselves and the world as a whole. Overall, Buddhism has taught me that diversity is a beneficial attribute, and we should rejoice in its presence instead of shying away from it.
What Reincarnates: A Clear Explanation
I have received valuable responses to my article, “Buddhist Peace—Before, After, and During This Life”, (Prajna, November, 2016; and the British journal, Pure Land Notes #30, December, 2016). The problem of traditional Buddhist doctrine simultaneously upholding the notion of no-self (anātman) and the contradictory notion of reincarnation has been an object of sustained contemplation for me and a topic of discussion with Dharma friends for years. One Dharma friend directed me to the work of Ian Stevenson. Another Dharma friend claimed that the Buddha simply left us with a mystery regarding the simultaneous assertion of reincarnation and denial of substantial selves. So, with help from my friends and the Larger Sutra, I pressed on, trying to make sense of this “mystery” until, at last, discovering a satisfactory explanation that conforms to Siddhārtha Gautama’s rational methodology and to his great insight into the issue of impermanence: It is relationships—most technically, patterns of relatedness—that reincarnate, not individuals. For humans, especially, patterns of relatedness between our genes (biology), memes (communications culture), and extended phenotypes (material culture) reincarnate. This view takes the Buddha’s assertion of no-self seriously. Also…
• It explains all of the phenomena related to testimonies of reincarnation, including visitations from dead loved ones, without positing survival of individual personhood after death. Think of patterns of relatedness rippling across regions and generations, much like the hundredth monkey effect.
• Relationships exist between the “extremes” of pairs (or groups) of subjectivities. Therefore, relationships accord with the principle of the Middle Path. And, as such, relationships are not accessible to the grasping or calculating mind. Relationships are homeless. Relationships do not dwell exclusively in this or that personality, but visit them all.
• If patterns of relatedness persist, life after life, then the unique personalities involved in a given relationship are merely – and wonderfully, and deliciously – incidental, accidental, finite, mortal, evanescent, special. From the gratuitous aid of a stranger to a loving life-long relationship, the “and” of Martin Buber’s “I and Thou” spontaneously manifests, ever fresh and alive, as the dependent arising of mutually-acknowledging subjectivities.
Furthermore, relatedness (rather than personalities) reincarnating is falsifiable. Our relationships with others—whether alive, dead, or fictional—already reincarnate from instant to instant, so we can empirically test the correctness of this view at any time. It is not persons, but relationships that are reborn each instant. It is patterns of relatedness that account for personalities, and that “return” over and over again in the “return to earth-school until getting it right and graduating from the wheel of samsara” analogy; for example, centuries-old conflicts that still persist today.
This view puts to rest worrying about what happens after we die. Liberated from such ontological anxieties, we are free to focus on peaceful and happy relationships (which is what we really are), rather than obsess about the right-or-wrong, he-said-she-said, rule-bound, tit-for-tat exchanges within relationships—whether generous or mean-spirited. Am I so mighty? No matter how great my self-cherishing, my precious identity, my spiritual ego, my “annoying humanity” (as my wife calls it), I am still going to face the same oblivion as Shelley’s “Ozymandias.” Yes, it is true that everything we think, say, and do matters a great deal, and we are all “responsible for our actions,” as we robotically remind ourselves. But when we misunderstand a self (whether our own or another’s) as an atomistic automaton, rather than a complex assemblage of relationships, we fall into error. When we attack another, we never just attack an individual being, we attack an entire network of relationships. Likewise, when we love another, a wondrous union of relational love flows through us into the midst of another wonderful gathering of relationships, affecting untold revolutions of “peace and happiness” (see Dharmākara’s thirty-third vow).
Ultimately, then, it is our relationships that really matter. Relationships are powerful. Individual identities only seem so. Shin Buddhism has a wonderful term that helps us understand relationships, rather than individuals, as the locus of life-activities, and even of consciousness: “Other Power” (Tariki). Other Power undulates through friendships, studentships, parenting, devotion, pastoral care, diplomacy, charity, etc., and also through our relationships with food, technology, and other non-human beings we encounter in the world.
When understanding patterns of relatedness, and not individual persons, as that which “reincarnates,” the term, Sangha, and Shinran’s notion of Dharma friends (ondobo/ondogyo), come to mean so much more, and the Shin canon can be heard in a much deeper key
1) Amida Buddha selects all helpless, hopeless, foolish, ordinary beings drowning in the karmic ocean of birth and death as the targets of his inconceivable Vow. This means that we have a special connection with all other beings as fellow targets of Amida’s Vow. How, then, could we not naturally aspire to regard all others with the same compassion expressed in Amida’s Vow “to remove the roots of the afflictions of birth and death of all” (Larger Sutra 1:6)?
2) In his “causal stage,” as the bodhisattva, Dharmākara, Amida Buddha learned an eternal practice from his teacher, Lokeśvararāja. This practice is called kuyō (Skt., puja, lit. “worshipping with offerings;” see, e.g., the twenty-fourth vow). Kuyō involves visiting countless Buddha lands, making offerings to them all, and learning relational wisdom from the “good and evil natures of heavenly and human beings living there.” The practice of kuyō emerges spontaneously from the relationship between Lokeśvararāja and Dharmākara, spreading out like rebounding ripples in a pond, expressing itself as the Vow to save all beings, to make each and every one a Buddha. Identified especially in the seventeenth and eighteenth vows, and supported by all forty-eight vows, the relationship Amida has with all beings, the kuyō selected as his eternal practice, manifests in his Name.
From these two relational templates, we develop an awareness of every being we encounter as: 1) a fellow target of Amida’s boundless compassion, and, thereby, 2) a Buddha in the making, or a teacher of relational wisdom. Amida’s Vow-mind, then, models the correct attitude to maintain towards every being, in every moment, in every incarnation.
For further study, see: the third, sixth, and ninth chapters of the Tannishō; and the third, fourth, fifth, and forty-fifth vows of the Larger Sutra, reading the events of past lives as history, and the beautiful, homogenous golden appearance of humans and devas as relational rather than as personal forms of being, i.e., as love.