Orai Sensei's Message for July 2012 Obon

On June 24th, two weeks before our annual Obon Service, we had general clean-up day and I would like to thank many members coming out with their own tools to clean the temple yard. It looks fresh and neat just like you have a haircut. Especially the Bodhi-tree which had brown leaves falling down in the spring had a lot of upper branches chopped down. And as I watered for a few days around the tree after the clean-up, it now has got a lot of new green leaves which is amazing to watch. I guess everything gets very dry here in Salinas as we didn’t have much rain for some time.

This reminds me of HOU-SUI (DHARMA WATER). Water is one of the four fundamental elements and very important for us to live. For example, more than 80 % of our body contains water. Water flows and moves things, washes, cleans, and helps things grow. You can drink, swim, perspire, and shed tears in joy and sadness. Like water Buddha Dharma comes into our mind; giving us peace of mind, wisdom, compassion, enlightenment, and consolation.

And it is good to know that the essence of Dharma in Jodo Shinshu tradition is Namo Amida Butsu which is easy to hold and recite wherever and whenever. May this sacred name be with you in work or play in your daily life.

In Gassho, Namo Amida Butsu, Orai Fujikawa


七月 白道 お盆 メッセージ






Orai Sensei's Message for July 2012 White Path

According to the calendar, today is June 20 which is officially the first day of summer, although we have been enjoying a lot of sunshine for some time. May this message find you in good health and spirit in the light of compassion of Amida Buddha.

In a few weeks we are observing Obon Service which is one of the highlights of summer. Do you know Obon Service is also called KAN-GI-YE? KAN is physical joy, GI is spiritual joy, and YE is assembly or service, therefore it literally means the assembly of both physical and spiritual joy.

As you know, Obon service consists of three important events; Hakamairi (visiting gravesite), Oteramairi (hearing Buddha-Dharma at the temple), and Otoki (feast). Visiting gravesite and meeting or communicating with your loved ones and then going to the temple to hear Buddha-Dharma and partaking Gochiso (feast), you are spiritually and physically satisfied, so that you would like to dance around. Yes, Obon dance is the dance of joy.

Dance practice started on June 19th and will continue on every Tuesday and Thursday until July 19th. And then we will be celebrating Obon Festival on July 29th.  May I ask each and every one of you to join either dancing or coming to the temple to give us hand to make the Festival successful again. I am sure this is the Buddhist way of life that our ancestors wish us to do in summer time. I will see you.

In Gassho, Namoamidabutsu, Rev. Orai Fujikawa

七月 白道 メッセージ



ところで皆様はお盆のことを「歓喜会=かんぎえ」ともいうことをご存知ですか? 「歓」は肉体的なよろこび、「喜」は精神的なよろこびです。つまりお盆になると、まづ墓参りをし、先亡者を懐かしく思い起こし、敬意と感謝をささげます。そしてお寺にお参りして仏の教えを聴聞して、ご馳走を食して、精神的にも、肉体的にも満足して、喜びにあふれて踊りたくなるのが盆踊りです。


合掌。なもあみだぶつ。釈 往来


Orai Sensei's Message for June 2012 White Path 

As we commemorated Gotanye, the birthday of Shinran Shonin in May, I would like to mention a couple of important points that should be remembered.

Today if you spell Shinran Shonin in your computer, you get hundreds of information about his life and teachings of Jodo Shinshu. And the name of Shinran has been well known to most of the scholars of religious studies in the world. However he was little known for 300 years after his death in Japan until Rennyo, the eighth Monshu of Hongwanji, studied the textbook Kyogyoshinsho over and over and introduced it with spoken language.

Furthermore his name was not recorded in the book of Honcho Koso Den, the great priests in Japan, which was published in the Edo period. Although there were 1600 names introduced, Shinran’s name was missed due to the fact that he was the first Buddhist priest officially married. One of the main characters of Jodo Shinshu is Zaike Bukkyo, Buddha Dharma practiced in the family. Shinran was the first one who broke off the tradition of celibacy and practiced Buddha Dharma as a family man. Our tradition is neither in the monastery nor academics. It has to be practiced in the daily life.

I have been in Salinas for four months now and I am very glad to witness our tradition has been well practiced in this community as well as in the families. The Food Sale is near and the Obon Festival is not very far away.  While cherishing the Nembutsu, we can work together to make those occasions very meaningful and joyful.

In Gassho, Orai Fujikawa

六月 白道 メッセージ




合掌。なんまんだぶつ。釈 往来


Orai Sensei's Message for May 2012 White Path 

Although it was cool and cloudy with fog in the morning on April 15, I was very happy to see many people, young and old, gather on the occasion to celebrate Hanamatsuri 2012. Some of them were new visitors as far as from Japan as well as from surrounding cities. Mrs. Shindo, widow of the late Rev. Shindo, the former resident minister, was a surprise visitor from LA. Many people were delighted to see and talk to her. 

Our guest speaker Rev. John Iwohara, sansei minister from Venice Hongwanji in LA spoke to Dharma School first and continued his talk in English and Japanese. One elderly Japanese speaking lady was very much impressed by his great effort to give a deep meaning of YUIGA DOKUSON (I am the only honored one.) which is said Gautama Siddhartha had proclaimed at his birth. 

I wish to express my appreciation to a group of Buddhist women who volunteered on Saturday afternoon to decorate Hanamido with hundreds of colorful flowers which were generously donated by the flower growers in our community.

By the time we finished our service we got a warm California sunshine and we all appreciated various potluck lunch with hotdogs and of course enjoyed meeting and talking with new and old friends in the social hall.

I recalled the time of my childhood in Hiroshima, picking small pink flowers in the field with friends and decorated Hanamido with them using rice glue. Also I remember the Hanamido decorated with all yellow daffodils in Vancouver, Canada. In the Eastern Canada we had to use paper flowers as the season was too early for flowers. Hanamatsuri is different depending on the time and place, but the spirit is always the same; joy of human life, joy of encountering with Dharma, and joy of meeting friends, and joy of food. 

Namoamidabutsu, Rev. Orai


五月 白道 メッセージ








Orai Sensei's Message for April 2012 White Path

Last Sunday (March 11) we commemorated Spring Higan (equinox day) and Monthly Memorial Service. Furthermore we paid tribute to the 20,000 and strong victims of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami on 3.11 last year. If you count the people who have been evacuated and living at the temporary facilities, they say more than half a million of people were affected. And the radiation crisis is far from over and they say it may take twenty and thirty years.

Twenty-five minutes before the service I got a call from TV crew for interview on the Earthquake and the cameraman and reporter rushed to our temple taping our service. Although it was a short notice, I was glad to watch some of the temple members on the evening news. Have you seen the news on Sunday evening?

They gave me a five minutes interview, but I appeared for only a few seconds in the evening news reciting a Japanese poem created by a friend in Vancouver, B.C. The poem goes;

Bouzen to Tachitsukuserishi Hitono Seni Umi Odayakani Hiwa mata Nobori

My translation; Against a back of a man of heartbreak standing on the shore, the ocean is now calm and the sun rises again.

Losing his family and friends as well as his house and boat, this man is heartbroken and standing on the shore. Yet the ocean has now been calm as if nothing happened a few days ago and the bright sun rises again.

Although it was incredibly huge disaster, we all have learned the truth of impermanence of life and its preciousness as well as the importance of human relationships and friendships.

In gassho, Namoamidabutsu,

Orai Fujikawa 

四月 白道 メッセージ




呆然と立ち尽くせりし 人の背に 海穏やかに 陽はまた昇り



合掌。なむあみだぶつ。釈 往来

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