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Introducing Buddhist Values and Japanese Culture 
Understanding Buddhism
 お焼香
O-shoko
burning of incense

In the past, O-shoko has often been interpreted as an incense offering. This is an incorrect translation and usage in our Jodo Shinshu tradition. In the ritual of O-shoko, we are not offering the incense to any god or idol. It is not an act of petition. It is a ritual to remind us of our intentions’ purity and the interdependence of all things. The translation should be to “burn incense.” This burning of incense is a way to acknowledge our existence and our gratitude for the various causes and conditions in our lives. The incense is representative of who we are. As the incense burns away, so do our lives. However, as the smoke from the incense moves beyond the koro to touch everyone in the room. Our lives also move beyond our body to connect with all other beings. Therefore, we acknowledge our interdependence with the world.

Salt Lake Buddhist Temple Visitor Guide

Buddha
Wisdom: a Dharma Message
The “Priceless Jewel” within Us

I want to talk about the importance of going inward and discovering a “priceless jewel,” something perfect, that exists with us.  Dr. Kitarō Nishida (1870-1945, a famous Japanese philosopher) says that there are two types of religions in this world.  He calls them “religions of external transcendence” and “religions of internal transcendence.”  Christianity is a religion of external transcendence, and Buddhism is a religion of internal transcendence.  In Christianity, people go out of human existence and seek God, something perfect, outside it.  In Buddhism, we go into human existence and discover something perfect in ourselves.

Buddhism does not allow us to seek an external (divine) savior.  It teaches us to thoroughly examine ourselves through the words of our teachers and recognize our delusions. It is in the process of self-examination that we can transcend our delusions and discover the “priceless jewel” that exists within ourselves. 
  
What, then, is the “priceless jewel” that we already have within us here and now?  Buddhism teaches us that it is life.  Life is simply so close to us that we have not fully discovered and appreciated it.  “Life” is such a common word, an ordinary word that we use all the time.  It may not sound like a profound religious or Buddhist concept.  But there is no greater or deeper religious concept.

When Shakyamuni attained Buddhahood, he simply discovered life.  He simply found that he was life – that he had always been life.  Shakyamuni’s becoming a Buddha means that he became awakened to what he already was.  He did not create a new reality.  He just discovered the Truth was already there.
 
Dharma Breeze, Nobuo Haneda, page 71
Coming Soon, Rev. Dr. Mark Unno's Talk
The Future Past
The Unfurling of Great Compassion Beyond Time

In July of 2020, Rev. Mark Unno gave a virtual talk to our members and friends of the ABSC.  As you know, we were in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.   Mark spoke about compassion, Amida Buddha, Namu Amida Butsu, and recollections of his father, Rev. Dr. Taitetsu Unno.


If you like Rev. Mark Unno's trailer, please click like on Youtube. Thank you.
ABSC Art Gallery
The ABSC Art Gallery and store is now open. 
We are featuring Ken Horii's Illuminating Reflections series of sculptures and small and large works on paper. These fine art pieces were part of our end of the year art auction fundraiser.   
In the coming weeks and months, Ken will add to his collection, and we will add other artists to the gallery. 

 A portion of all purchases will be tax-deductible as ABSC is a 501(c)3 corporation.


Click here to view 
Coming ABSC Events in February
 Seiza Meditation, Saturday, February 20 from 11 to 12 noon EST
The Art of Sitting Perfectly Still
Meditation Sessions

Led by Rev. Miki Nakura, a Shin Buddhist minister
 
Please join us and learn the fundamentals of Seiza (sitting-in-stillness) meditation, which Torajiro Okada established. You can sit on a chair or a cushion on the floor. Rev. Nakura will demonstrate how to make the correct posture, breathe, and put full power into the lower belly. Sensei will explain the history and why this is an excellent meditation to clear your mind from all the daily stress of life.
 
This will be Free live virtual event.  

Register and join the meeting here

 Meeting ID: 921 2630 1233

Passcode: ABSC

   
 
Book Discussion, Saturday, Feb. 20, from 1 to 2 pm EST
Truth In The Rivers
By Bruce Hopkins and watercolors by Howard N. Horii
 
Please join us as Ken and Paula Horii cohost this book discussion about Howard Horii, one of the many Japanese Americans uprooted and placed in an American Internment Camp during WWII.  
2021 marks the 79th anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history. The Executive Order 9066, taking away all rights and privileges of being an American citizen from the Japanese Americans living on the West Coast and the Hawaiian Islands.
 
This will be Free live virtual event.

Register and join the meeting here

 Meeting ID: 935 7339 5800

Passcode: ABSC

Click here to buy Truth in the Rivers special book discussion price: $20, including shipping and handling fees.
Japanese Green Tea
Learn from the experts the perfect cup of green tea
Your Support Matters
Please give a donation so we can continue to bring you these emails along with many programs we are planning in 2021. Any donation is humbly appreciated. 
Click here to Donate
My Favorite Buddhist Quote

At the bottom of the abyss
comes the voice of salvation.
The black moment is the moment when the real message
of transformation is going to come.
At the darkest moment comes the light.

Joseph Campbell
 

Please send us your favorite Buddhist quote at info@ambuddhist.org
Calendar of Events
Saturday, Feb. 20, from 11am to 12 noon EST

Saturday, Feb. 20, from 1 to 2pm EST
Please join us for a virtual Seiza, quite sitting, Meditation with Rev. Miki Nakura

Book Discussion Truth In The Rivers
Stay Safe, Stay Calm, Stay Mindful.
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