Happy New Year!
“To learn and to share the Jodo Shinshu Understanding of the Three Treasures-Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.”
You may recognize that sentence. It’s on a banner that hangs in our gym. Since 2011, that sentence has been the temple’s Mission Statement, a simple declaration of our purpose. In a real sense, the mission isn’t new, it’s been much the same since the temple was founded 115 years ago.
For the past couple of years, the Board has been discussing how to expand on that statement. Led by Board members Rajan Saigusa and Matt Ogawa, the temple’s Research and Planning Committee has developed a draft Vision Statement for the temple:
Envision a place that is thriving, vital and meets the needs of its members.
Envision a place where an individual can hear the call of the Nembutsu and awaken to the reality of life through learning, practice and ritual.
Envision a place where family and individual histories are appreciated and preserved.
Envision a place where anyone in pain and suffering can find support through the kindness and compassion of others and accepted as they are.
The San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin is such a place.
We’re interested to hear what you think about the Vision Statement. You can talk to me or one of the other Board members or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. After we adopt the Vision Statement, the next step is to develop a long-range plan that will put the vision into action over a 5- to 10-year period.
This year we will step up the planning for Generations Phase 2, the project that will replace the Education Building across from the temple with a brand new structure that will meet the needs of the entire Sangha, but especially Lotus Preschool, Dharma School, Japanese Language School, the Library, Media Center, and Scout groups. We’ve gathered suggestions and comments from more than 200 members of the Sangha and community at large about what features they would like to see included in the building. After we round out the membership of the Generations Fundraising and Infrastructure committee, we will plan a joint meeting with the committee members, Komon (senior advisers) and Board members to kick off a process that will design the project, develop a cost estimate and fundraising plan. We’ll keep you updated each step of the way.
In November, about two dozen members of the Obon Committee attended a meeting to reorganize how we run the bazaar and festival. They agreed we should explore a structure where an executive committee is in charge of running Obon instead of one chairperson who oversees the entire Obon Committee. Each executive committee members will oversee several Obon activities, and one executive committee members will chair the meetings. In other words, we couldn’t replace Jim, so we’re trying another way to run Obon. But this is not new, we had a similar structure about 20 years ago. We hope to firm up the executive committee structure by February.
We’re also in the process of re-designing the Betsuin’s website to make it more appealing, user friendly and filled with the information members of the Sangha and the wider public are looking for when they visit the site. This month we will be asking each of our organizations to either review the content on their page on our website or, if the group doesn’t have page, write a few paragraphs for inclusion on the new website. We will also be seeking photos to be attached to each page.
This year will bring changes to the Board. Paul Endo and Ken Furukawa, who have been long been involved in temple activities, will join the Board. And Ed Nodohara – longtime Dharma School teacher, choir member and Board members – is the president–elect. He will become president in 2019 (a transition I eagerly anticipate). Thank you Paul, Ken and Ed for stepping up to take on news responsibilities!
This year is shaping up to be another eventful one for the temple. Stand by for action!