Hello from Kyoto! More on that later.

The youth of our Betsuin are a great group and do amazing things for our Betsuin. I’d like to highlight a couple of their accomplishments.

Rajan Dasu completed his Eagle Scout project this past spring. Rajan’s project was to replace and refurbish the fence between the church office building and the Betsuin’s next-door neighbor. Although it was more complicated than expected, Rajan was able to complete the project with help from Mike Mori and Boy Scout leaders Mr. Kadokura and Mr. Yamada. Congratulations on completing your Eagle Award project Rajan!

At our last board meeting, we had a report from Kaitlin Kubo, Alyssa Nagatani & Chiemi Wong about their Girl Scout Silver Award Project. These three Girl Scouts built a community lending library box and have collected Japanese language books to put inside. As you can see in the photo above, it is a beautiful lantern-shaped box and their neighbor (who is pictured) helped them with the construction. Congratulations on completing your Silver Award project Kaitlin, Alyssa, & Chiemi!

And on Sunday, June 4th, we will have our annual SJ Betsuin Baccalaureate Service where we celebrate our youth that are graduating and those who have earned Betsuin scholarships. Many thanks to all of you (including parents, Dharma School teachers, Scout leaders, & Jr. YBA leaders) for all that you do for our youth!

So why did I say, “Hello from Kyoto”? As you may know, all articles for the monthly Dharma newsletter are turned in around the middle of the prior month. The deadline for the June edition was May 15th which meant that I had to write it from Kyoto since I was in Japan from May 1st – May 16th because I was one of the 38 SJ Betsuin members who went to the Hongwanji’s celebration of Shinran Shonin’s 850th anniversary of his birth and the 800th anniversary of the beginning of Shin Buddhism. The group (which included Rinban Sakamoto and Reverend Mikame) had a wonderful time touring around parts of Japan for a week before attending the celebration in Kyoto. One of the highlights of our trip was visiting Tokuzenji Temple in Oda, which is Reverend Mikame’s family’s temple. After a service led by Reverend Mikame’s father, we were treated to a delicious lunch by Reverend Mikame’s mother and members of Tokuzenji Temple. I will always remember the kindness and generosity extended to us by Reverend Mikame’s family and their temple members.

Some of us also attended the 17th WBWC (World Buddhist Women’s Convention) which took place on May 11th & 12th. For me, the highlight of the convention was the speech given during the panel presentations by Karen Akahoshi, who represented the BCA. She spoke of her life’s journey and how her Buddhist faith has helped her deal with the ups and downs that life has thrown at her, including the recent death of her son. It was an incredibly powerful and moving tale from a strong Buddhist woman.

I was going to write more but I still have two more days in Kyoto, so I need to figure out what I want to see and especially what I’m going to eat. Take care and talk to you next month.