Message from the Bishop
2018 Report from the Office of the Bishop
Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada
When I was still the chairperson of the Ministerial Association, the National Board of Directors used to meet twice a year, once in the springtime and another time during the fall. However, presently the National Board holds a teleconference meeting on the third Tuesday evening of every month. Along with the Ministerial Association Chairperson, the board spends about 1 to 2 hours discussing various items associated with the running of the National Body.
As the Socho (Bishop) of Canada, I have spent time visiting the temples across our country. Over the past year, I have visited the following temples:
November 24th to 26th, 2017: Visited the Kelowna and Vernon Buddhist Temples
December 14th to 17th, 2017: Visited the Manitoba Buddhist Temple
March 2nd – 4th, 2018: Visited the Buddhist Temple of Southern Alberta
June 14th – 17th, 2018: Plans to visit the Toronto Buddhist Temple
During my term in office, the only temple I have yet to visit is the Kamloops Buddhist Temple. I am presently coordinating with the local minister to arrange a time that I can visit the Kamloops Temple.
I have been receiving regular correspondence from our mother temple, the Nishi Hongwanji in Kyoto, Japan. The most important correspondence has been the completion of Monshu Sennyo’s Accession Ceremony, which originally began on October 1st, 2016. The final Accession Ceremony Service took place on May 31st, 2017. Representing our Kyodan, Rev. Grant Ikuta led a group of 18 members to participate in the Overseas District Special Accession Ceremony Service which took place at the Hongwanji on Oct. 21st, 2016. I, myself, participated during a special Accession Ceremony Service in March of last year when all the Overseas Bishops attended the service together. For the occasion, I took a $5,000 donation on behalf of our National Organization. Gomonshu Kojun Ohtani is making an effort to visit all of the districts both within Japan and overseas. In 2015 he visited Calgary and took place in the World Buddhist Women’s Convention which was hosted in Calgary. In September 2017, he visited the Hawaii Kyodan, and in March 2018, he made a visit to the district of Taiwan.
I have been receiving other correspondence, both on a regular basis and for special occasions. One such example is writing an official request for the annual New Year’s Message from the Gomonshu. A formal request must be submitted six months in advance. Other correspondence includes the necessary paperwork for guest ministers sent from Japan, as well as registering the ministers in Canada according to their rank within the Hongwanji organization. This past year, I received a request from the Hongwanji monthly publication “Shuho” to have articles submitted introducing overseas temples. I asked Rev. Ikuta to write an article introducing the Steveston Buddhist Temple and Rev. Izumi to introduce the Buddhist Temple of Southern Alberta. The office of the Bishop was responsible for collecting the articles and submitting them to the Hongwanji.
In May 2017, the World Coordinating Council Meeting, also known as the Sochos Meeting, was held at the Hongwanji. Bishops from the Overseas District (BCA, Hawaii, South America, Canada) and representatives from the Hongwanji (Governor responsible for Overseas District and International Department Head) gathered to discuss issues regarding Overseas propagation and the roles of the ministers overseas. The main points of discussion for last year’s meeting were as follows:
• To review the procedure of Sarana Affirmation Ceremonies that the Bishops of the Overseas districts conduct.
• The vestments of Kaikyoshi, to re-emphasize the usage of the Kaikyoshi Wagesa by Kaikyoshi ministers
• The English translation of Gomonshu-sama’s book and the selling of the book overseas.
• The termination of support for propagational activity in Kenya. Due to the lack of evidence of any propagational activity being done.
• Proposal to open a branch of the Hongwanji International Department in San Francisco.
(Above is an excerpt only)