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the Padma BERKELEY BUDDHIST TEMPLE
October 2010 Web Edition
Our Temple A Place To Begin A Place To Grow
The Path Of Enlightenment, The Way Of Oneness
October 2010 t h e P a d m a BERKELEY BUDDHIST TEMPLE 2121 Channing Way, Berkeley, California 94704 (510) 841-1356 WEB EDITION
Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat
NOTE: For temple matters, please contact Rev. Matsumoto at (510) 841-1356, or leave a message on the temple answering machine. Temple web: www.berkeleysangha.org Temple e-mail: email@example.com
2Temple Picnic @ Richmond Country Club
11:00 am 3:00 pm
3 9:30 am Comb. Dharma Family/ Eitaikyo Service
FBWL Delegates Mtg. in Sacramento
10 9:30 am Dharma Family Service
Onenju Repair Workshop 1:30 3:30 pm
10:00 am 1:00 pm
Temple Board Mtg. 7:30 pm
BDBWA Conference @ Enmanji
17 9:30 am Comb. Dharma Family/ Eshinni/Kakushinni Svc Guest Speaker: Ms. Edythe Vassall
Padma Newsletter 6:30 pm
22 23Dharma School
24 9:30 am Dharma Family Service
Crafts 10:00 am 1:00 pm
31 9:30 am Comb. Dharma Family/
Shotsuki Hoyo Service 11:00 am BBWA Cabinet Mtg for
FUTURE DATES TO REMEMBER October 2 - Temple Picnic October 3 - Eitaikyo Service October 10 - Onenju Repair Workshop October 17 - Eshinni/Kakushinni Service October 23 - Dharma School Halloween Party October 31 - DFS & Shotsuki Hoyo Service November 7 - Keiro Kai Luncheon (re-scheduled) November 14 - Ho-on-ko Service and BBWA Sushi
and Crafts Sale November 28 - DFS & Shotsuki Hoyo Service
A Finger Pointing to the Moon
From this treasure ocean of oneness form was manifested, taking the name Bodhisattva
Dharmakara, who ... became Amida Buddha. ... [This] refers to manifesting form,
revealing a name and making itself known to sentient beings.1
SYMBOLS ARE IMPORTANT to us. For instance, a country's flag is a symbol. It represents the
ideals and principles of a nation, as well as its history and its future. A symbol has the power to
say many things to us, in ways that mere words cannot. Think of it. Our lives are filled with
symbolsstatues and images, sights and sounds that resonate with meaning for us.
There are symbols in Buddhism as well: the Wheel of Dharma, statues of Buddhas, portraits
of bodhisattvas, images of the Pure Land, and the like. For Buddhists, these religious symbols
represent the teachings and the reality that they direct us to.
Shinran Shnin goes even further in explaining the importance of religious symbols. He
teaches us that the Buddha's enlightenment is formless; we cannot see it, touch it, or grasp it. But,
because it is true, it makes itself known to us by taking form. Shinran says that formless truth
takes the form of the light of wisdom and the Name of Amida BuddhaNamu Amida Butsu. The
images and stories of Amida Buddha are all religious symbols, the form taken by wisdom and
compassion in order to guide us to enlightenment
This is pretty confusing stuff. So Shinran Shnin and Ngrjuna (ca. 150250 C.E.) used
the idea of a finger pointing to the moon to explain it. Picture this: We are walking along a path
at night, staring at our footsteps as we try not to stumble. Suddenly, someone comes up to us,
taps us on the shoulder, and points up into the sky. We follow the direction of his finger and, for
the first time, we see the moon, gleaming high up in the dark sky.
Here, the finger is a symbol. It represents the teachings or imagery which point us to the
moon. The moon is like enlightenment itself. Normally, we don't see it and, when we do, we
don't know what it is. It seems so far away. We're disconnected to it. Shigaraki-sensei says,
"What we need is a finger that can point us to the moonthe dharma, a teacher or a symbol,
which can connect us to it. Teachings of Amida Buddha, also painting and statues of Amida are
the finger. Enlightenment, to which a Buddha awakens, constitutes the moon."2
Religious symbols, such as teachings, images, songs and stories, all help to direct our
attention away from worldly matters and toward ultimate truth. Without the finger, we could not
see the moon. But, we should not mistake the finger for the moon. Religious symbols all help to
change the direction of our lives or the way we see things. A statue of Amida Buddha may focus
our reverence and help to generate a sense of joyful faith in our hearts. But it is a statue
nonetheless; it is not the Buddha.
At the same time, however, Shinran Shnin's insight was deeper. A finger is just a finger. It
simply points to the moon. However, without the light of the moon, we could not see the finger.
It could not guide us to see the moon. In other words, a symbol takes on religious power only
when it acts together with the working of enlightenment. A statue, story or word can only do its
"symbolizing work" when enlightenment makes itself known to us through it.
Through the images of the Buddha, the story of Amida Buddha and even the Name of the
Buddha, timeless and formless truth takes the form of a symbol, pointing us to that truth and
revealing the deepest levels of our lives.
Namu Amida Butsu
Rev. D. Matsumoto
1 Shinran Shonin, Notes on Once-Calling and Many-Calling, Collected Works of Shinran, I, 486.
2 Takamaro Shigaraki, A Life of Awakening (Kyoto: Hozokan, 2005), 26-7.
Renovations at the Temple continue in preparation for our centennial next year. In August, the Founders Rock was placed. It will be dedicated with a plaque to commemorate our Temples founders. Thank you very much again to everyone for your continuing support.
Metta, Scott Takeda
Mr. Namba is a prominent landscape designer specializing in rock gardens. His work is well known throughout the U.S. and Japan, and his clients include Oracle CEO, Larry Ellison. The new Dharma School term began in September. We welcome returning and new students, families and friends. Our Gohonzon is also atop the onaijin again after a brief summer retreat. Rev. Matsumoto conducted a special service to rededicate the enshrinement.
Meet our Ministers Assistants
Degree in Religious Studies, University of Colorado
Ministerial Candidate, I.B.S.
Certified as a BCA Ministers Assistant, March 2009
Diana will be going to Kyoto, Japan this month for Tokudo ordination. Tokudo is the initial step in which one makes a commitment to learning the Dharma and is the first step in becoming a BCA minister. The rite will be conducted at Honzan in the Goeido (Founders Hall) of the Hongwanji. We are fortunate to have Diana as part of our sangha and wish her happiness and success in all that she does.
With gratitude and appreciation, the Berkeley Buddhist Temple and BBWA presented Diana with an orei at the Ohigan service. We invite everyone to join us in support of her endeavors.
Welcome New Members Molly Momii
BBT Trivia Can you name these Sunday School students? Answers in the e-Edition
BBT Courtyard, Halloween 1951 Photo courtesy of Kenji and Amy Ota
Thank You to our supporters
Shigeru Namba and family Wes Fukumori
Shotsuki Hoyo Service October 31, 2010, 9:30 AM
The following persons will be remembered during the Shotsuki Hoyo (monthly memorial service) for October.
Jean Mieko Doi
Nancy S. Fukumori
Rev. Taigan Hata
Jack Y. Imada
Doris Marie Kami
Matthew U. Koblick
Frank H. Matoba
John N. Muranishi
John Y. Nakahara
James S. Nakashita
Noboru B. Morita
Jane T. Richofsky
Namie K. Tsuda
Note: If there are any additions, corrections or deletions to the above list, please notify the Berkeley Buddhist Temple at 510-841-1356.
COMBINED DHARMA FAMILY SERVICE &