Betsuin Board Highlights

San Jose Betsuin Board of Directors Meeting

Thursday September 05, 2019


submitted by Joyce Iwasaki

Mission Statement

The mission of the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin is to learn and to share the Jodo Shinshu

understanding of the Three Treasures

Buddha, Dharma and Sangha



  • A motion was moved/seconded/passed to accept the June 2019 board meeting minutes as corrected.
  • A motion was moved/seconded/passed to accept the July 2019 board meeting minutes as corrected.
  • Three motions regarding confidential and personnel issues of the Japanese Language School were moved/seconded/passed.
  • A motion was moved/seconded/passed to reimburse Chidori Band $489.40 from the Obon budget for the rental of speakers used for the 2019 Obon audio system.

Minister Report – Rinban Sakamoto

  • Mikame Sensei
    Reverend Etsuko Mikame arrived in San Jose on August 16. She has settled in her temporary home, is preparing for her driving test, and becoming familiar with various aspects of the Betsuin.
  • Bishop Selection
    Reverend Jerry Hirano and Reverend Ron Miyamura are nominees for the Office of Bishop. Their names have been submitted to the Selection Committee that will review each candidate’s platform, interview the candidates and select a candidate to submit its recommendation to the BCA National Board for approval.
  • Ondobo Ondogyo

During Sunday services, the ministers and ministers assistants will chant from the gejin. This is a significant change. The change comes from Shinran’s feeling of ondobo ondogyo, “equal companions in the Dharma”.  By chanting from the gejin, we can listen to and express our appreciation of the Dharma together. In the Kyogyoshinsho Shinran writes: “In reflecting on the ocean of great shinjin, I realize that there is no discrimination between noble and humble or black-robed monks and white-clothed laity, no differentiation between man and woman, old and young.” In the same paragraph he continues: “The medicine of the Tathagata’s Vow destroys poisons of our wisdom and foolishness.” We hope this change will help us deepen our appreciation of the Nembutsu together.

Obon Committee Report – Dennis Akizuki

Ken Kamei has agreed to chair the Obon Committee. Ken has been involved in the operations of Obon for several years and appreciate that he is stepping into this leadership role.  The Board thanks Dennis Akizuki for his work as chair for the past few years.

Special Events Committee Report – Emi Tsutsumi

  • San Jose Betsuin Keiro Kai Roundup Event

Please attend, encourage friends and family to attend.

Date:              Sunday September 29, 2019

Time:             12:00 – 2:30 pm – Doors open at 11:30 am

Place:            Betsuin Annex

Honorees born in 1939 or before – meals are complimentary

Other guests – meals are $15.00 per person

Menu:          Catered by Golden harvest Catering: BBQ pork, BBQ chicken, baked beans, salads and                                      other sides

Dessert by Sangha Bakers

  • Welcome Reception for Reverend Etsuko Mikame

Please attend a reception welcoming Rev Mikame to the San Jose Betsuin.

Sunday October 27, 2019 from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm in the annex.

Japanese Language School – Janice Doi

President Ed Nodohara will appoint members to a newly-formed JLS Committee to report to the Betsuin Board. Purposes of this committee include overseeing the JLS operations and to keep to Betsuin Board apprised of teacher/student/parent accomplishments and concerns. This committee will be comprised of (but not limited to) Rinban Sakamoto, a JLS teacher, a JLS parent, and a Betsuin Board member.

Buddhist Women’s Association – Karen Akimoto

World Buddhist Women’s Convention (WBWC) in San Francisco, August 30 – September 1.

There were 66 attendees – our two ministers, 5 Men’s Auxiliary members, and 59 BWA members. Thank you to the Betsuin board for sponsoring our San Jose BWA polo shirts. The Chocolate Bliss workshop on Friday evening was delicious and popular.  We were successful selling crafts at the Marketplace.  Finally, the arrangements and meals at the Saturday evening banquet were excellent.  We thank our hard-working SJ BWA volunteers.

The next WBWC will be in Kyoto on May 11-12, 2023, commemorating the 850th anniversary of Shinran’s birth and 800th anniversary of the establishment of Jodo Shinshu teaching.

Minato Restaurant generously hosted Dine-out #2 benefit recently.  Thanks for your patronage at Minato.

The SJ BWA will be selling finger foods prior to the Kalapana concert on Sunday, October 6.  Profits will be split with Generations Phase II.

Annual trip to Graton Casino and this year, Charles Schulz Museum, is a joint trip with ABA on Friday, October 11. Everyone is invited to go on the trip.

Eshinniko / Kakushinni / Lady Yoshiko Ohtani / Past Members’ Memorial – Sunday, November 17, 2 pm.  Our speaker is Rev. Etsuko Mikame.  Refreshments will be offered after the service.

SJ BWA General Meeting / BonenKai Luncheon / New Member Welcome is scheduled for Sunday, December 8.

Buddhist Churches of America and Coast District Council – Joyce Iwasaki

The quarterly Coast District Council Meeting was held on Thursday, August 22, 2019 at the Watsonville Buddhist Temple. Rick Stambull, BCA President, attended the meeting along with CDC temple representatives and CDC officers.

  • CD Minister’s Association – CD Kyokucho Rev Shinseki
    • The CD Ministers’ Association 2020 Fuken will be held on June 16-17.
    • The 2020 CD Nembutsu Family Conference will be held at the Watsonville Buddhist Temple on Oct0ber 18 with the theme “Peace and Tranquility”. Plans include having all affiliated organizations incorporate their meetings and activities in the programming.
  • CD Dharma School Teacher’s Association – Ken Tanimoto
    • Ken Tanimoto expressed deep appreciation and gratitude to Lisa Usuki for chairing the 2019 Federation of Dharma School Teachers’ Association Conference which was held on    April 27-28 at the Holiday Inn San Jose Silicon Valley and at the San Jose Betsuin. With Lisa’s dedication and leadership, the conference was a success. The theme was I am a     link … heal ourselves, heal the world with speaker Gregg Krech of the ToDo Institute. Joyce Iwasaki added her appreciation to the Coast District Ministers who encouraged          not only teachers but all interested people to attend the conference. Not only did this extend the opportunity to others to gain more insight and information about the Jodo      Shinshu practice, it gave others a glimpse of the good works and dedication of Dharma School teachers’ contributions to one of the strongest temple programs. The council meeting attendees gave Lisa Usuki a round of applause for her extraordinary leadership, time and skills she devoted to this conference.
  • CDBWL – CDBWL Members
    • The next CDBWL Cabinet Meeting is on Thursday November 7, 2019 in Monterey. The next CDBWL cabinet will be comprised of San Luis Obispo BWA members. Installation of the new cabinet will happen during this time with Rev Shinseki officiating.
  • MOU between Coast District Council and San Luis Obispo and Guadalupe temples was reviewed.
    • At the April 25, 2019 Coast District Council Meeting, Glenn Kitasoe advised the CD Council to review three documents regarding the Coast District Realignment issue, discussion and resolution since some of the agreed upon decisions have not been recently been followed.
      • Documents included:
        • Realignment of Coast District
        • Realignment Resolution of the SLOBC and GuadBC signed MOU
        • BCA Coast District Council Meeting Minutes of January 20, 2016
      • Tonight’s review of the agreement resolved:
        • To follow the decisions of the 2016 details and agreements which include:

Guadalupe Buddhist Church and San Luis Obispo Buddhist Church combine as meeting hosts alternating as lead host. GBS/SLOBC will coordinate meeting sites with Monterey Peninsula Buddhist Temple, Buddhist Temple of Salinas, and Watsonville Buddhist Temple indicating there will be no CDC meetings held in             Guadalupe nor San Luis Obispo.

  • BCA Updates – Rick Stambul – Current BCA President
    • Rick thanked Glenn Kitasoe (Mountain View Buddhist Temple member) for his excellent leadership and dedication as Chair of the BCA Ministerial Affairs Committee. Glenn along w/ Gicho Patricia Usuki and BCA Administrative Officer Gayle Noguchi worked and implemented a minister pension plan that is a tremendous improvement from the          previous benefit plan. The Council’s appreciation was expressed by a round of applause.
    • Rick visited the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg Pennsylvania after the October 2018 mass shooting where 11 people were killed and at least 6 injured, to express BCA condolences and to gain more information about the tragedy. Since then, Rick learned that the US department of Homeland Security has information and recommendations specifically for faith-based organizations as well of having a Youth Advisory section in the Department. Rick strongly recommends that the temples, sanghas and organizations contact the Department of Homeland Security for information, training and support. Additional information on this topic is in Rick’s Wheel of Dharma May 2019 issue (page 3). It was encouraging for Rick to know that some BCA temples are already working on creating security methods and plans for safer environments. MVBT scheduled an active shooter training on August 24th at their temple.
    • The BCA Finance Committee recently spent over 50 hours studying the budget, expenses and income. Each line item was meticulously reviewed which gives the Finance Committee and National Board a better understanding of the financial strength of the organization.
    • Updates on BCA Property Issues include addressing leakage at the Jodo Shinshu building and upgrades and other decisions of the Belmont parsonage.
      • Garage leak and a newly discovered deck leak are being addressed.
      • Upgrades and other decisions on the Belmont parsonage are on hold pending on living arrangements and input from the new bishop.
    • BCA Archives is the largest collection of American Buddhism which is now housed at UCLA. A recent visit to the UCLA Archives Department was impressive. The Department has started to digitize documents and information which will allow online access to this valuable collection.
    • The Estate of Richard Allen Bloomquist Update

On December 3, 2016, Rick presented information to the BCA National Board of the Bloomquist death and will instructions. This three-year case and over 700 hours of investigating and research, the $1,475.000.00 cash and real estate assets of Mr Bloomquist has been resolved. The funds are directed to the Institute of Buddhist Studies, to the Buddhist Education Departments and to the BCA Endowment Fund to  generate income for emergency situations.

It was through Rick’s expertise, research and persistence, this issue was resolved to BCA’s benefit. It was through support and additional research from then BCA President Ken Tanimoto and IBS Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Rev Dr David Matsumoto that greatly helped Rick in this pursuit.

    • Next CDC Meeting is scheduled for November 21, 2019 in Salinas at 7:00 pm.