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, October 1st

09:00 am - Q&A Session

 10:00 am - Dharma Service

11:00 am - Dharma School Class

11:30 am Parent's Club Meeting


Saturday, October 1st

02:00 pm - Seminar - Rev. Akahoshi


Sunday, October 8th

08:30 am - Meditation Class

 10:00 am - Dharma Service

11:00 am - Dharma School Class


Sunday, October 15th

09:00 am - Q&A Session

 10:00 am - Dharma Service

11:00 am - Dharma School Class


Sunday, October 22nd

08:30 am - Meditation Class

 10:00 am - Dharma Service

11:00 am - Dharma School Class


Sunday, October 29th

09:00 am - Q&A Session

 10:00 am - Dharma Service

11:30 am - Halloween Party Potluck !

Birthday Sunday




"Thank God I'm a Buddhist!"



Confusion arises when explaining 13th century Japanese Buddhism in 21st century, Christian influenced, America. This inter-active talk and discussion can clarify the context (culture and time), so that we can appreciate and live Shin Buddhism in our modern lives.



Fall Seminar

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Guest Speaker – Rev. Kenji Akahoshi

(BCA Minister from the San Diego Buddhist Temple)



2:00pm to 5:00pm @ Arizona Buddhist Temple (Open to Public)

ADMISSION: Free to the Public

Co-Sponsored with the Southern District Buddhist Education Committee.




October 8th (Sunday) 10:00am - Sunday Dharma Service

Arizona Buddhist Temple

4142 W. Clarendon Ave.

Phoenix, AZ 85302


Please call 602-278-0036 for further details

Dharma in the Desert


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.


Hosted by:

Rev. Lynn Sugiyama

Sensei Vonn Magnin

Sensei Mike Tang




Dharma Message

Gakubutsu Vonn Magnin - October 2017



  Happy October! We are now about 2 weeks into Fall. Does it seem like it? About the only way I can truly tell that Fall is here is by the number of leaves that have fallen off a tree next to my swimming pool in my backyard. In fact, most of them actually fall into my pool. That’s the gauge I use each year to tell me that Fall has arrived!


  I was born and raised in Phoenix. As you all know, Phoenix is a desert so we don’t really get to experience the changing of the seasons very much – well, I guess we all know when Summer has arrived, right? Anyway, as a kid growing up my parents, who are from Illinois and West Virginia, would always tell me about the beautiful leaves they would see during the Fall in their childhood states. Many of the friends I had growing up were transplants to Phoenix themselves and they always seemed just a little bit disappointed that our Cacti didn’t change color like the trees they used to love during the Fall.


  When I was young, I had different peoples’ verbal descriptions and pictures in nature magazines to look at to get an idea of how beautiful the Fall leaves looked like. I was fascinated by all the different shades of brown, yellow, orange and red. They would give me a small idea of what Fall was supposed to be like, but deep down inside I knew seeing or hearing about these things wasn’t the same as actually getting to experience them firsthand myself.


  I had to wait until I was 39 years old to see Fall leaves in person for the very first time. It was while I was visiting Virginia, and it was breathtaking.


  Describing the Pure Land to others is sort of this way. We have texts from Sutras that describe Amida Buddha’s Land as a place of unimaginable beauty replete with wonderful colors, sounds, smells, mythological beings and so on. Everything that exists in the Pure Land is there to create the conditions for people like ourselves to become Enlightened immediately upon our birth there. We have visual facsimiles of the Pure Land, too. Our O’Naijin (altar) is a physical representation of the Pure Land. Our O’Naijin is one of the smaller ones as compared to many of the others I have seen in temples in both the U.S. and Japan. Many of those are 5 to 10 times larger (or bigger) than ours and are filled with amazing ornamentation that represent all the different elements of Amida’s Pure Land as described in the Sutras.


  Elaborate or not, I think O’Najins cannot adequately represent what the Pure Land is really like. Even the most descriptive texts cannot do it justice either.


  For us, we will have to wait until we depart from the Phoenix-like desert of this life in order to truly appreciate the Pure Land. And, when we finally arrive – I am sure it will be breathtaking!


  Namo Amida Butsu.




President's Message


Megan Tang - October 2017


Dear Sangha,


  I hope everyone is enjoying the start of our fall season at the Arizona Buddhist Temple. The weather is finally starting to “cool down”, at least as much as it can for Arizona during this time of year.


  This month, we will be hosting a seminar on Saturday 10/07/17 at the Temple with guest speaker Reverend Kenji Akahoshi who is the BCA Minister at the San Diego Buddhist Temple. Please come and join us for his talk “Thank God I’m a Buddhist”. This seminar is co-sponsored by the Southern District Buddhist Education Committee. Reverend Akahoshi will also be our guest speaker at Temple service on Sunday 10/08/17 for our monthly Shotsuki service.


  We will also be having a Halloween party/potluck on Sunday 10/29/17. Please come and join us and bring your favorite dish to share!


  I would like to thank Mino & Kathy Inoshita and their team for helping to reorganize the residence office. We now have a brand new desk and additional storage space for our various temple groups to use. I would also like to congratulate the Women’s Club for the 1 year anniversary of the Thrift Store being open. Many of the Women’s club members and additional volunteers constantly give up their weekend time in order to work at the store to help raise money for the Temple. We thank them for their continued hard work and dedication.


In Gassho,

Megan Tang



Arizona Buddhist Temple Women's Club


Betsy Matsumoto



  End of August, the ABT Thrift Store celebrated its one-year anniversary.


  Thank you to everyone who donated and helped to make our money-making project a success.  As always, we are accepting donations.  Pick-up is available for bulky/heavy items.  We are also looking for volunteers to help at the thrift store on Saturdays or Sundays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.


  Our next event is Mochitsuki on December 17.  The schedule will be in the December Prajna.  


  Our next meeting is Sunday, January 7, 2018, at 9:00 am



Kids Korner


Birthday Sunday for October:  Sunday October 29th


Birthday cake:  The Kawashima Family


Chairing in September:  Sangha Teens


Halloween Party and Potluck:  We have our annual Halloween Party and Potluck on Sunday October 29th.  The kids are welcomed to wear costumes.  The Jr. YBA kids will be decorating for the party.  Please come and bring a dish to share. 


Yearbook:  This year we will be starting a yearbook for the Dharma School kids.  We would love to have your photos.  If you take any great pictures throughout the year please email them to Karen Magnin, to add to our book.


Updated information:  We are trying to update our email list.  If you have a new email address, phone number etc please let us know.  Just tell Megan or Karen and they will update your info.  

From the Sangha


by (or rather for) Dave Belcheff


  Ugh. I keep remembering that the Vow Mind is nothing less than the determination to transform Mara Himself and every deluded being in his Six Realms of Transmigration into a Buddha.


  That means having to be kind and loving to everybody all the time. “Ugh” because the more I remember this, the less of an excuse I have for not being kind and loving to everybody all the time.




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 


David Belcheff 


    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.  




4142 W Clarendon Avenue

Phoenix, AZ 85019

Phone: (602) 278-0036

Fax: (623) 738-3927