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Greetings Friend
Introducing Buddhist Values and Japanese Culture 
70th Anniversary 
1951-2021
President's Message
As we enter the final months of 2021, if you are like me, the days in November and December seem to fly by.  Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season, and then before you know it, we are welcoming 2022 with great expectations.
 
The American Buddhist Study Center is wrapping up this year with a 70th Anniversary Celebration on Wednesday, December 15, and you are all invited!  We are planning an exciting event-filled evening to be held on Zoom.  I hope you will join all of our friends of the ABSC in celebrating our memorable milestone.  It will begin at 7 pm EST and last about an hour.  I’ll provide more details as we get closer to the date.
 
Our 70th Anniversary will also be our final end-of-year fundraiser.  Throughout 2021, we did not ask or charge for any of our programs and events, including our monthly Seiza meditation, lectures, workshop, and book discussions.  We know how hard it is for everyone, and we wanted to give you all peace of mind in listening and reading about the Dharma.  We also provided Dharma text messages, dial-in messages, YouTube videos, and podcasts, all free. 
 
So I hope you will support us in the final months to continue giving free programs throughout 2022.  In the coming weeks, we are putting together another fine art auction.  It will be bigger and grander than ever.  Ken Horii will have new paintings, Auguste Elder will have his beautiful wood-fired pottery, and even more artists and photographers will be participating.
 
With deep gratitude from all of us, thank you for joining our programs, receiving our emails, watching the American Buddhist Study Center YouTube channel, listening to our podcast, receiving SMS text messages.  Most importantly, thank you for letting us introduce Buddhist Values and Japanese Culture to you and thousands of others for the past 70 years!
 
In Gassho,
Hoshina Seki
Understanding Buddhism

空観
Kūgan
Contemplation on the void

The meditation in which one seeks to realize the essential voidness of all existences.

Buddha
Wisdom: a Dharma Message

This week, we will look at some basic terms mentioned in Dr. Toshikazu Arai’s “The Path to the Pure Land.”  This will be a refresher for some, and for others, these are some basic Buddhist concepts.
 
“Pure Land” and “Birth in the Pure Land”

Every Buddha has his or her own pure land, also called Buddhaland, as a spiritual realm concretely manifesting the Buddha’s enlightenment.  Amida Buddha’s Pure Land is called Sukhāvatī in Sanskrit, meaning the “land filled with happiness.”  It has been variously translated into Chinese as “Land of Extreme Joy,” “Land of Peace and Happiness,” and “Land of Peace and Nurture.”  This book will use the term “Land of Bliss” as the translation of “gokuraku,” which was popularly used during and before Hōnen’s time.

In the Larger Sutra and Amida Sutra, the Land of Bliss is depicted as a place made of gold, silver, and precious stones such as diamonds, sapphires, lapis lazuli, and rubies, where exquisite smells and beautiful music fill the air.  However, both Hōnen and Shinran explain that such picturesque descriptions of the Pure land are meant to attract people to the Pure Land teaching and not to be depicted as a physically existing world.  According to Shinran, the Pure Land is a world of jinen, which means “naturally made to become so.”  It is a spiritual realm in which those who are born there are naturally made free from attachment, greed, anger, and ignorance and given the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha.  We may not be able to attain such a condition while alive because of our innate blind passions (bonnō), but we are guided to the world of joy and happiness naturally through Amida’s compassionate working.  When we say the nembutsu, entrusting ourselves to Amida’s Primal Vow, we attain a state of the “truly settled,” in which our birth in the Pure Land becomes certain.

Some Shin Buddhist scholars argue that birth in the Pure land occurs while we are alive in this world.  That viewpoint is not wrong when considering that people who recite the nembutsu are already embraced by the working of Amida’s Primal Vow and join the ranks of the truly settled in this life.  However, the world in which we live is full of conflicts and pains, making it a far cry from the Pure Land.  Moreover, we cannot eliminate our blind passions in this life.  Therefore, it makes more sense to say that true birth in the Pure Land occurs after we depart from this world.  Amida’s salvific power is always working both in this life and after this life.  By reciting the nembutsu, we can establish a close relationship with the Buddha and the Pure Land.

ABSC Fundraiser
Special 70th Anniversary Membership Offer

The American Buddhist Study Center (ABSC) was founded in 1951 by Reverend Hozen Seki, a Jodo Shinshu minister.  His vision was to create a learning center to teach Buddhist values and Japanese culture to America.  Following in his footsteps, we are carrying on his mission.
 
Our theme for our 70th Anniversary is Introducing Buddhist Values and Japanese Culture to America.  By supporting the ABSC, you are helping sustain one of the oldest Buddhist Libraries in America.  Your support allows us to continue to offer free programing so everyone can learn Buddhism and the beautiful crafts of Japan. Your support helps us continue to publish meaningful Buddhist and cultural publications.
 
Now is the best time to join, during our 70th Anniversary.  Here are two exciting membership offers: 
 
Limited ABSC Lifetime Membership in celebration of our 70th Anniversary*

For the first time in our 70 year history, we are offerring lifetime memberships that include all the following benefits.
Your name will be engraved on a beautiful cherrywood plaque prominently displayed at the Study Center.
You will receive a lifetime certificate.
You will receive a surprise gift basket of goodies.
Your lifetime membership is transferrable to anyone you designate. It will never expire.
Your lifetime membership is 100% tax-deductible.
So please consider becoming a lifetime member today, for $1,000.
*Limited membership offer expires 12/31/2021
Please click here
 
Annual membership
Become a member during our 70th Anniversary, and we will send you the ABSC baseball cap as our gift—this great-looking cap with the ABSC gold logo is smartly embroidered on this 100% cotton cap.
Annual membership is $100.
Please click here


Get ready for the holidays with this beautiful 2022 desktop calendar with a different image of the Buddha each month and the ABSC gold embroidered baseball cap. 

We ordered a limited supply for our end-of-year fundraiser.  So order yours today! 


 The 2022 Buddhist Desktop Calendar is $17 each plus $4 for handling and shipping. Total $21.  

The ABSC Baseball Cap is on $15 plus $4 for handling and shipping. Total $19.


Note: You can pick each up at the Study Center for $17 and $15.
Buy Now
New Publication Coming Soon
Friday Night Talks
with 
D.T. Suzuki

We are working on a new D.T. Suzuki book to be published later this year.  Friday Night Talks with D.T. Suzuki: on Shin Buddhism, Shinran, and Saichi is a collection of Suzuki’s Shin Buddhist works. It includes a missing chapter that never made it into the original Shin Buddhism publication. His keynote address at the dedication of the Shinran Statue and other essays and poems.    

We need your help to get "Friday Night Talks with D.T. Suzuki: On Buddhism, Shinran, and Saichi" published. Please help us with a donation. Thank you. 


Click here to donate
*When donating, click 0% tip after entering donation amount. 
ABSC Upcoming November Programs 

Saturday, November 20, from 1 to 2 pm EST 
Introduction to Buddhism, Part 5 
Buddhism in Japan 

Professor Aaron Proffitt will talk about the different Buddhist practices in Japan.  He will cover their history, traditions, and how they each played a significant role in the Japanese culture.
 
Click here to register

Saturday, November 20, from 7 – 8 pm EST 
Book discussion 
The Path to the Pure Land 

Please join us for a special book discussion with Dr. Toshikazu Arai, the translator/author of “The Path to the Pure Land.”  Shinran wrote this book at a ripe age of 85 about the teachings of his mentor Hōnen. Followers of Jōdo-Shinshū and Jōdo-shū will gain new insights into the teachings of Hōnen and Shinran through this book.

“The Path to the Pure Land, A Translation of and Commentary on Shinran’s Saihō-Shinan-shō” is now available as an eBook on Amazon.

If you like to purchase the softcover book, click here.

Click here to register

Events Going on Around the United States
Online
West Los Angeles Buddhist Temple Dharma Center
Buddhism Beyond Mindfulness
5 Fall Sessions
November 6th, 2021
Through these sessions, we hope to offer an opportunity for young adults to engage with Dharma teachers as well as with other people interested in learning about the Buddha-Dharma.

For more information, click here
Click here to register
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Yoshitomo Nara art exhibit extended to January 2, 2022.

Click here for more information
Introduction to Buddhism - Pure Land Buddhism
Professor Aaron Proffitt will lay the foundation for exploring Buddhist ideas and practices. Learn what Buddhism is. Is it a religion or philosophy? Who was the founder? What do Buddhist believe? How does one become a Buddhist? How did Buddhists come to practice in North America?
Seiya Gatha
The Kyoto Women’s University Chorus performs one of the most famous Jodo Shinshu Gāthās Seiya. A poem by Lady Takeko Kujo.
Myoman-ji Temple in Kyoto
Here is a short 2:17 minute video showing the four seasons at Myoman-ji Temple with nice jazz background music. Enjoy!
My Favorite Buddhist Quote

Even though there are a zillion Buddhas and great sages, I will visit all of them and study under them. 

Nothing is greater than seeking the way, continuously advancing, and never retreating. 

Dharmakara 

Please send us your favorite Buddhist quote at info@ambuddhist.org
Your Support Matters
Now more than ever, people are struggles with so many stressful issues in life. By providing a window into the wisdom and compassion of Amida Buddha, we hope it will ease your load of everyday life. 

The Study Center is working hard to bring you these emails and free programs. However, we cannot do it without your support. So, no matter how little you can give, every little bit helps us to carry on.
Please give a donation.

Thank you.
Click Here to Donate
ABSC Podcast
This week Rev. Shobo Gary Jaskula continues his reading with Episode 28 with Kōsō Wasan by Shinran Shonin. If you missed any of the Wasan’s, you could hear them all on the ABSC Podcast. We also have interviews up as well.  So, select your favorite Podcast provider to be always up to date with the latest ABSC podcast programs. 

Click here to listen to the podcasts 
Dharma on the Go!
SMS text messages. Sign up to receive each week a Buddhist-inspired text message. Click here to register

Dial 607-350-ABSC (2272) listen to the history of the ABSC and an inspiring Buddhist message. 

To listen to our past recordings from Lady Kujo and other various books, please click here.
Calendar of Events

Saturday, Nov. 20, from 1 to 2pm EST
 
Saturday, Nov. 20, from 7 to 8pm EST
Introduction to Buddhism Part 5
Buddhism In Japan
Led by Aaron Proffitt
The Path to the Pure Land Book Discussion
Stay Safe, Stay Calm, Stay Mindful.
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