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, December 2nd
9:00 am - Q&A Session
10:00 am - Dharma Service
11:00 am - Dharma School Class
Open to Public
Sunday, December 9th
8:30 am - Morning Meditation
9:00 am - BWA Meeting
10:00 am -Dharma Service
11:00 am - Dharma School Class
11:30 am - Bodhi Day Lunch
Open to Public
Saturday, December 15th
8:00 am - Rice Washing & An Preparation
Sunday, December 16th
8:00 am - Mochitsuki
- No Temple Service -
Sunday, December 23rd
10:00 am - Dharma Service
11:00 am - Dharma School Class
Open to Public
Sunday, December 30th
- No Temple Service -
Monday, December 31st
7:00 pm - "Joya-E" New Year's Eve Service
Open to Public
Tuesday, January 1st
10:00 am - "Shosha-E" New Year's Day Service
Open to Public
Please join us for some quiet sitting, chanting, and guided meditation. Most sessions last from 10 to 20 minutes. Sit in one of our comfortable chairs, borrow one of our zafus or bring your own!
-see above schedule for meeting times-
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
My dog of nine years, Abbey, passed away last week. It was unexpected and quick, as far as these things go. The veterinarian suggested that it was simply her time, the result of bad genes and worse kidneys. As with all big changes in life, the explanation for this is a lot easier to understand than the actual process of living through it.
It’s a strange thing losing a pet after such a long time, especially when they’ve been so thoroughly built into your life. You see reminders of them nearly everywhere you look. You see evidence of them of them when you cook. You think you can feel them when you set down for meals, when you wake up. You check on empty blankets when you get ready for bed; the silence when you arrive home, on your walks, the evenings at home, all feel artificial. Much of the rest goes on almost the same, almost.
So it is that I still find myself living my life around the space she has left behind. The routines and contours of my daily life have been so thoroughly built around her that I don’t exactly know how to change them. It feels dishonest to betray them, even though I know this to be silly. Her water bowl is still sitting in our kitchen, full, and I feel the compulsive need to keep filling it, to clean it, to leave tiny biscuits by the door, to watch where I walk so as to not impede the spaces where she might have been.
In many of my Dharma messages, I reflect on the notions of impermanence, or attachment, or the constantly changing nature of life. I talk about how it helps us appreciate the good times, how to persevere through the bad. And yet, as many times as I say the words, losing the ones we love never really gets easier. At the end of the day we are all just people, attached to that which we care about the most. To suffer greatly in the face of loss is simply another way of saying that we loved, that we cared. It’s a reminder of the fact that understanding the Dharma is something we can always intellectually pursue, but never really master.
And maybe this is the most important lesson of all. I cannot imagine a world where I didn’t wish my dog were still here, but I think I can imagine one where my gratitude for having her in my life exceeds my grief. It’s not something I can achieve on my own, but maybe with the benevolence of the Buddha, it’s something that one day I can be guided to. I don’t believe we should ever be ashamed of our grief; rather, it’s exactly this that allows our appreciation of the Dharma and our gratitude to the Buddha to grow.
In the end, Abbey had a good, albeit too brief, life. She passed without pain and wanted for nothing for the whole of her nine years. She was spoiled and loved by any reasonable measure, and when I think about her, while it’s painful in the now, I know that eventually it will eventually become a source of comfort for me for exactly the same reasons. She was loved and we shared many years together. I will miss her terribly, but even in her absence, Abbey is helping me understand what it means to let go, to live in gratitude and to appreciate all the little causes and conditions that allowed us so many happy years together.
Megan Tang - December 2018
I hope this message finds all of you doing well. The holiday season is finally upon us. I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.
Mochitsuki is coming up. Please come out to help if you can on Saturday, December 15th to wash rice and make an balls and Sunday, December 16th to make Mochi! Mochi orders are due on Sunday, December 9th.
The National Council Meeting will be coming up in early March. The conference will be held here in Phoenix, Arizona. Some of the ministers will be attending a golfing event with some of our temple members and we are looking for golf club sets that the ministers can borrow for a day. If you have any that the ministers can use, please contact Megan Tang or Jim Kawashima. Also, the Jr. YBA will be hosting a children’s book drive for the conference. All of the books will be donated to the Boys and Girls club. The YBA will start collecting books in December, so please bring any books you would like to donate to Temple.
On behalf of the Temple, I would like to send deepest condolences to the families of Hajime Sugiyama, Grace Mizokami and Akiko Hennessey who recently passed away.
Arizona Buddhist Temple Women's Club
It’s getting close to the end of the year and time to make mochi. Those who are able to help, washing the mochigome and making the an balls will be on Saturday, December 15th starting at 9 am and we plan to be done by noon. Mochitsuki will be on Sunday, December 16th with the first batch of mochi to start at 8:00 am. Sunday is an all –day event, so we encourage everyone to come out and help. As a “Thank You” for supporting the ABT Thrift Store, the Women’s Club will be furnishing the main meal. Please bring your favorite side dish or dessert to share with all the workers. Deadline to order mochi is Sunday, December 9th.
The ABT Thrift Store is busy with the coming holidays. Please visit us. Store hours are Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Please verify that the thrift store is open as it might be closed because of temple events or activities. We are always looking for volunteers to help at the thrift store. The thrift store will be closed on December 16th for Mochitsuki.
Please note the next BWA meeting will be on Sunday, Dec 9th at 9:00 am and not Dec. 2nd as previously announced.
Birthday Sunday: Sunday December 23rd
Birthday cake: Fran
Chairing in December: Pre-School through 2nd Grade
Bodhi Day: on December 9th. Please join us for service and a spaghetti lunch made by the Jr. YBA..
Mochitsuki: on December 16th. We will be washing the rice and making An balls on Saturday December 15th. All are welcome to come and help on both days
Joya-E Service: Please join us for New Year’s Eve Service On December 31st in the evening. There is a short service and then the ringing of the bell. This is followed by delicious soup. It is a fun time!
Shusho-E Service: Please join us for New Year’s Day Service at 10 am on January 1st.
Dharma School Kid of the Month
Our Dharma School Kid of the Month is Sean Belcheff! Sean made a wonderful picture about family! Great job Sean!
Japanese American Citizens League, Arizona Chapter
Announces Flower Growers Memorial on Baseline Road
PHOENIX, AZ— On October 20, 2019, the Japanese American Citizens League, Arizona Chapter (JACL-AZ) in collaboration with the Circle K Corporation and the City of Phoenix, will unveil a memorial to the Japanese American farmers who grew flowers on Baseline Road for over 50 years. The memorial will be located at the northwest corner of 40th Street and Baseline Road and will include photographs of the fields and a short history of the Japanese American families who lived and farmed along Baseline Road.
Funded and installed through a donation from the Circle K Corporation, the memorial was conceived and included during the master plan redesign of the Baseline area. Historian Pamela Rector and former JACL-AZ president Ted Namba worked with the City of Phoenix and Circle K to ensure that the vision of the memorial was fulfilled.
The unveiling will take place on October 20, 2019 at 10 am at the northwest corner of 40th Street and Baseline Road and will be followed by a reception at Baseline Flower Growers, 3801 E. Baseline Road, Phoenix 85042.
Contact: Kathy Nakagawa, Board Member, Japanese American Citizens League-AZ Chapter, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: (602) 373-7322
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.
Arizona Buddhist Temple Board Members 2018
I have been coming to temple regularly since my senior year of high school. I have
childhood memories of coming to temple for Obon and Hanamatsuri. I met my now
husband through the Temple and we have been happily married now for 6 years.
Chuck Matsumoto helped Mike and I fulfill the Temple roles we now have today.
We hope to serve our Sangha to the best of our abilities. We are grateful for the
temple community and hope to continue to aid in spreading the dharma for future
I really had an awesome experience attending the Buddhist Temple in San Jose during my youth years and Jody & I want our children, Lauren and Kendall, to have the same. Many of my best friends are from the temple and from the YBA. I enjoy and appreciate the Dharma talks and learning Buddhism. I value the friendships made and building relationships with the Sangha.
84 still young and healthy. BSEE from ASU, retired computer HW designer, married 55 years to only wife Kathryn and have one daughter, Sandra. ABT Board member for about 37 years and counting.
I have been attending services at the Arizona Buddhist Temple since I was little, long before I can even remember. My family is originally from the Big Island of Hawai'i, having associated mainly with the Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin as well as the Puna Hongwanji. My parents after having lived in Hawai'i, Saipan, and California for a number of years, eventually moved to Arizona where I was born. The youngest of my siblings, I grew up in Chandler for most of my youth until I started High School where I then lived in Las Vegas for a few years before eventually returning to Arizona to attend Art School, where I graduated with a Bachelors in 2007. Even when I was living in Las Vegas, I would regularly travel with my parents to Phoenix to participate in Arizona Jr. YBA activities., in addition to Obon, the Arizona Matsuri, Hanamatsuri, Potlucks, and regular Dharma Services.
These days I work as an editor for a film and video company in the east valley along with freelance graphic design as a side gig. I also manage the AZ Temple Website, so let me know if you feel like posting something cool! I consider many in the Sangha as my friends and family as well, having encouraged me throughout my lifetime to maintain an open mind, a compassionate heart, and to seek a greater understanding of the world around us.... hmm does that sound too corny?
I have been a member at our Temple for 11 years. I have been happily married to
Vonn Magnin for the last 21 years. I have two beautiful boys: James and Lance. I
have been a kindergarten teacher for the last 21 years. I really enjoy being a member
of our Temple and the community.
I am a second generation native Arizonan. I have lived in the Valley all my life.
My favorite reading is science fiction novels.
Assistant Treasurer, Finance
The first time I came to the Temple was with my then girlfriend Enid Sugiyama for an Obon dance where I sort of learned how to dance the Tanko-Bushi. Over the next
few years, we would attend occasional services on special occasions, but we did not
begin to attend regularly until our daughter Ehsa was born. (I will never forget the
generosity of the temple members during Enid’s baby shower). When Kaoru was not
feeling well and Enid was expecting Nicholas, Sugiyama Sensei, two-year old Ehsa
and I would attend service and have lunch at Cherry Blossom afterwards. Over the
years we have made many good friends and memories while participating in Temple
activities, road trips and events and we hope to continue to contribute to the Temple
for many years to come.
Member at Large
My name is Lorenzo Frausto and my family and I have been coming to temple for
about 4 years. My wife, Suzanne, found out about temple through the booth at
Matsuri and we immediately liked it after our first visit. I have lived in Arizona my
whole life and am an immigration attorney. I watch too many movies.
Member at Large
I am a last year pharmacy student whose temple attendance probably predates my
birth. Seeing the involvement of my family and the support of my community has
shaped the person who I have become, and I want to help give back to the community that has given me so much. When I am not doing artwork, design work, or home work, you can find me watching the latest Korean dramas. Please feel free to stop by and say hi or contact me with any questions!
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.