You will never be able to escape from your heart.
So it is better to listen to what it has to say
San Luis Obispo Buddhist Temple
6996 Ontario Rd., San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Resident Minister: Rev. Naomi Seijo Nakano
In September, President Obama honored the last of the surviving Japanese American soldiers who fought so valiantly during World War II. They were flown round trip from their hometowns to Washington D.C. They were given shirts and jackets to wear and ushered in wheelchairs, if needed. There was a monument dedicated to the Japanese American soldiers who lost their lives. For many of these soldiers we know them as our neighbors, friends and temple members.
We have our own dedication, not in the sense of patriotism but in the founding of our temple. These people could have served on the board or just kept the church alive and functioning. Some may have worked in building the gardens around the church and the house. These people created a space for the temple to grow. They can be referred to as our founders.
The history of SLO Buddhist Church started many, many years ago. The first services were held in a barbershop on Sunday mornings. The Sangha would move everything around and put down crates so there would be seating. They used a portable altar and would chant sutras. For the people who attended, this was their temple.
They saved and donated and eventually they were able to move to another location. Then the temple
moved to the present grounds. So many hours and so much effort was put into place so that we could have such a beautiful and thriving temple. There were people who took “command” in ordering the articles for the main altar. A few went to Japan and looked around and made decisions. Once they found what they wanted, they came home. In flatbed and produce trucks, they drove to San Francisco to pick up the altar.
However it does not stop there, for many of the temple’s affiliations would donate other articles needed
for the altar. Our members donated many items to the temple. We have been very fortunate to have those who entrusted and relied on the teachings. We honor them in our Namu Amida Butsu.
We observe a yearly memorial service to those who saw the future. November we observe Eitaikyo, which means yearly perpetual chanting. This chanting connects us to those who dedicated energy and took action on our behalf. This act of chanting connects us to all those who have passed from this earthly realm and we become one with them. As we chant we reflect on the challenges faced by all and how they survived these challenges. They encountered the ocean of birth and death, so that we could continue to hear the Buddha.
In dedication many families have donated to the Eitaikyo Fund. This donation is saved for such tragedies that may occur to the temple. In a special Eitaikyo book their names are written in and is presented each year at the service. We pay our honor and thank them for their self-less giving. Our Nembutsu is a show of appreciation for the hard work, dedication and heart they continue to share
with us. This is “dana” at work.
We can continue to hear and learn because of the “founders” but it is also because of the living that continues to dedicate so much to the church. Their membership dues pay for heating the hondo when it gets cold, lights so that we may be able to see, water to drink and flush toilets and wash hands, toilet paper, light bulbs, paper plates, cups, or flatware so we can eat. This membership dues allows us to sit and listen to the Buddha Dharma.
We owe so much to descendents and their dedication. We also owe to the Sangha who continue to practice the Jodo Shinshu way. We recite Nembutsu with gratitude and thankfulness for what continues to be given us every day. Namu Amida Butsu.
Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano
Southern District Temples