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Namu Amida Butsu

Northampton Shin Buddhist Sangha

2008 Activities

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All are welcome, regardless of whether you have previously attended.



Namu Amida Butsu Family Dharma Namu Amida Butsu

2008
As more detail becomes available, this page will be updated.

Archived activity calendars:
2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003


Online Message Board
Follow this link to our Yahoo Group to post messages or chat online.



January February March April May June
July August September October November December




NEW FOR 2008


It's a Gift

We are saying a grateful goodbye to the Dhamma Dena space and moving to Smith College in Northampton for 2008. Sangha will meet in the Bodman Lounge of the Helen Hills Hills Chapel.

Thank you!

Palms together to the wonderful people at Insight Meditation of Pioneer Valley for sharing the Dhamma Dena space with us for so long! And palms together to the wonderful people at Smith College for offering us the new spaces.

A detailed schedule of projected days and times for meetings be added shortly. Please return to this page for more information, and sign up for our email updates if you have not already done so.

Namu Amida Butsu


Click here for a map of the Smith College campus.


January 2008


Reflections for January


Print by Shiko Munakata

Happy New Year!


In our Shin Buddhist practice we celebrate the arrival of 2008 and say "Happy New Year," followed by the Nembutsu, because our teaching reminds us that every moment is an occasion for celebration, since it is unique and unrepeatable. This is expressed symbolically by a Shin writer who wrote, "When I woke up, I was held in the palm of the Buddha." The same sentiment is found in an inscription by Shiko Munakata, the famous printmaker, who inscribed his wood-block prints with the words, "No matter where I look, everything is held in the palm of the Buddha." This affirmation of reality is verbally expressed as "Namu-amida-butsu.

With palms together, Ty Unno

Saturday 01/12/08

  • 12:30 p.m. Quiet Sitting, (preparation to listen to the Dharma)
    Everyone is invited to participate.
  • 1:00 p.m. Service/Discussion

    Location: Bodman Lounge of the Helen Hills Hills Chapel (Smith College).



  • Regular Sangha Gathering.

    Service including Sutra Chanting.

    On Saturday, January 12, 2008 the Northampton Shin Buddhist Sangha will offer a service & discussion led by Rev. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki, Resident Minister of the New York Buddhist Church .

    This event will be our first in our new location; the Bodman Lounge at Smith College ’s Helen Hills Hills Chapel in Northampton and will start at 1:00 PM, with quiet sitting available for those who wish to arrive at 12:30.

    Rev. Nakagaki has worked closely with our own Rev. Unno for many years, offering the Shin Dharma to diverse audiences in New York City . He now is available to help us and provide a link to the larger Sangha of BCA temples and programs.



    Refreshment dana and flower dana are always welcomed, so please bring whatever you'd like to share.

    01/17/08(Thursday)

    7:00 PM

    Location: Smith College Campus Center, in the lounge across from the cafeteria.




    NSBS Book Discussion Group

    Our Book Group plans to meet Thursday January 17 in the Smith Campus Center (Elm St.) at 7 p.m. discussing "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism" by Chogyam Trungpa. We will convene in the large Lounge opposite the Cafe, main floor. Inexpensive copies (look under "Used") are available from Amazon.com or at several local college libraries. All are welcome for our discussion even if you cannot bring a book copy with you.

    Sunday 01/27/08

    11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

    Location: Dewey House on the Smith College Campus.

    Family Dharma
    for children, parents and everyone. All are welcome!

    Dharma lesson, storytelling, crafts, kid-friendly quiet sitting and chanting, birthdays, hands-on crafts.

    Dharma talk continuing the theme of this month's "Reflections." Everyone is invited to contribute to the on-going discussion of activities and themes to include in this year's Family Dharma gatherings.

    Please bring a brown bag lunch. Parents and children are reminded to bring their ojuzu/nenju beads if you have them (if you don't have them, no problem!)

    Refreshment dana and flower dana are always welcomed, so please bring whatever you'd like to share.

    February 2008


    Reflections for February


    Shinran recites the Nembutsu


    Why do we say "Namu-amida-butsu"? This is our PRACTICE as Shin Buddhists. Saichi, a woodworker and devout Shin follower who lived more than a century ago, sums up his reason in a short poem that he wrote: "The namu is myself; Amida is the namu. And both namu and Amida are Namu-amida-butsu." Namu comes from Sanskrit and means "I bow (to the Buddha)," but it is not me but Amida Buddha that prompts me to bow and say NAB. That is, the Buddha also bows to me, affirming my life as it is. "Namu-amida-butsu" thus affirms my life just as it is. This is why we praise the Buddha as the Great Compassionate One. Thus, our PRACTICE is to say, "Namu-amida-butsu, in our every day life with appreciation and gratitude.

    With palms together, Ty Unno


    Saturday 02/09/08

  • 12:00 p.m. Quiet Sitting, (preparation to listen to the Dharma)
    Everyone is invited to participate.
  • 12:30 p.m. Service/Discussion

    Location: Bodman Lounge of the Helen Hills Hills Chapel (Smith College).



  • Regular Sangha Gathering.

    Service including Sutra Chanting.

    Once again, Rev. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki, Resident Minister of the New York Buddhist Church, will be our guest. He will offer his thoughts on the Shin dharma and sangha, and lead an open discussion. Please do attend!

    Refreshment dana and flower dana are always welcomed, so please bring whatever you'd like to share.


    American Buddhist Study Center Workshop

    February 16, 2008. 2:00 - 4:30 PM

    Ty Unno

    Introduction to Buddhism Workshop at the American Buddhist Study Center.
    Ty Unno will participate via conference call.


    Click here for the event flyer with more information.


    Note: Ty will NOT be present in NYC, as previously stated.


    02/21/08 (Thursday)

    7:00 PM

    Location: Smith College Campus Center, in the lounge across from the cafeteria.




    NSBS Book Discussion Group

    Our Book Group plans to meet Thursday February 21 in the Smith Campus Center (Elm St.) at 7 p.m. discussing the chapter "Shunyata" (pp. 187-206) in "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism" by Chogyam Trungpa. We will convene in the large Lounge opposite the Cafe, main floor. Inexpensive copies (look under "Used") are available from Amazon.com or at several local college libraries. All are welcome for our discussion even if you cannot bring a book copy with you.



    Family Dharma Postponed

    Family Dharma
    The February Family Dharma gathering has been postponed due to changes in the availability of a meeting space at Smith College. We are exploring options, and will reschedule as soon as possible.

    March 2008


    Reflections for March


    life renews


    This month we observe Ohigan (Spring Equinox). The day and night are of equal length. Nature gives us this time of year to reflect and appreciate this balance within itself instead of "just another day of busyness."

    As Buddhists, we are reminded to observe the natural rhythm of light/darkness within all of life as well as within oneself.

    With palms together, Ty Unno


    Saturday 03/08/08

  • 12:00 p.m. Quiet Sitting, (preparation to listen to the Dharma)
    Everyone is invited to participate.
  • 12:30 p.m. Service/Discussion

    Location: Bodman Lounge of the Helen Hills Hills Chapel (Smith College).



  • Regular Sangha Gathering.

    Service including Sutra Chanting.

    Our special guest, Rev. Ron Miyamura of Minneapolis ?Twin Cities Sangha, will lead our service and discussion. Rev. Miyamura grew up in California ’s Central Valley and graduated from UC Berkeley (in 1969) and Ryukoku University in Japan. The resident minister of the Midwest Buddhist Temple from 1976 to 1981, Rev. Miyamura currently works for United Airlines in Chicago. He has also organized and made the drums for several Taiko groups at various temples over the years.

    Refreshment dana and flower dana are always welcomed, so please bring whatever you'd like to share.

    03/20/08 (Thursday)

    7:00 PM

    Location: Smith College Campus Center, in the lounge across from the cafeteria.




    NSBS Book Discussion Group

    Our Book Group plans to meet Thursday March 20 in the Smith Campus Center (Elm St.) at 7 p.m. Feel free to contact Mina Harrison or Mary Lynn Brezsnyak (or email us) for information on readings, or to make suggestions.



    Family Dharma TBA

    Family Dharma
    No March Family Dharma gathering has yet been scheduled. We are still looking for a new meeting space, and will reschedule as soon as possible.

    April 2008


    Reflections for April


    Buddha Shakyamuni ordains an "untouchable."


    On April 8 we celebrate the birth of the baby Buddha 2,500 years ago. Why do we remember him even today? Because he taught the value and dignity of every human being, regardless of education, family background or social status. Thus, the ethical action of a person from a lowly caste is to be highly praised, while unethical actions of the high born should be castigated. He thus taught the equality of women and men, social classes, all professions, races, etc. He was the great liberator from all social bondages and restrictions as the first step on the Path of Enlightenment.

    With palms together, Ty Unno


    Saturday 04/12/08

  • 6:00 p.m. Pot-luck dinner with our guest speaker, Rev. Ron Miyamura
    Please bring a prepared dish if you can.
  • 7:30 p.m. Service/Discussion

    Location: Bodman Lounge of the Helen Hills Hills Chapel (Smith College).



  • Regular Sangha Gathering.

    Happy Hanamatsuri!

    Please feel free to bring children to this month's gathering!


    Rev. Ron Miamura will share his experience of Jodo Shinshu in North America. Rev. Miyamura has asked us to invite kids to this April Sangha Meeting. In addition to celebrating the festival of flowers, Hanamatsuri, he plans to give a Dharma talk appropriate for all ages.

    The quiet sitting period will be shorter this month. After the Dharma talk we'll offer incense and form a circle for discussion. Kids who are interested can join the discussion. If they don't want to join the discussion but their parents do, they can bring something that will quietly occupy them on the side for 45 minutes or so. If neither parents nor kids want to stay for discussion it is fine to leave after the incense offering.

    Refreshment dana and flower dana are always welcomed, so please bring whatever you'd like to share.

    04/17/08 (Thursday)

    7:00 PM

    Location: Smith College Campus Center, in the lounge across from the cafeteria.




    NSBS Book Discussion Group

    The Northampton Shin Sangha book group will discuss Everyday Suchness by Rev. Gyomay Kubose,a short book on living the Buddhist life, which we hope to use for several meetings. We will be purchasing copies, for sale, with a discount from the Buddhist publishing company, which will be available at sangha meeting or by contacting Mina Harrison or Mary Lynn Brezsnyak. We hope you will join us.

    Feel free to contact Mina or Mary Lynn (or email us) for more information, or to make suggestions.

    Sunday 04/27/08

    11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

    Location: NOTE CHANGE! We are back at the Dhamma Dena space!

    Family Dharma
    for children, parents and everyone. All are welcome!

    Dharma lesson, storytelling, crafts, kid-friendly quiet sitting and chanting, birthdays, hands-on crafts. MUSIC!

    Dharma talk continuing the theme of this month's "Reflections" and the meaning of Hanamatsuri. We will also continue to discuss the meaning of our chant, "I Gassho With Amida." Everyone is invited to contribute to the on-going discussion of activities and themes to include in this year's Family Dharma gatherings.

    Please bring a brown bag lunch. Parents and children are reminded to bring their ojuzu/nenju beads if you have them (if you don't have them, no problem!)

    Refreshment dana and flower dana are always welcomed, so please bring whatever you'd like to share.

    May 2008


    Reflections for May


    Shinran Shonin
    Shinran Shonin


    On May 21 we observe the birth of Shinran Shonin, the founder of Shin Buddhism, who lived in Japan in the 13th century. He taught the path of Buddhism that was not limited to monks and opened the door to all people--peasants, fishermen, merchants, warriors, women of all classes, and so on.

    What did he teach? It was a twofold awareness:

  • First is the awareness of our karmic limitations--we get angry, experience hatred and selfishness, we get lonely and unhappy, etc.

  • Second is the awakening to the gifts of life granted us by parents, friends, teachers, farmers, fishermen, etc., as well as by the teaching of Buddha Dharma that cultivates deep gratitude for this very life itself, giving us the opportunity to really be grateful and enjoy life as it is. This appreciation of life was succinctly expressed in the popular saying, "When I awakened, I was held in the palm of the Buddha." Buddha is none other than true and real life as it is that sustains us all without any discrimination.


  • With palms together, Ty Unno


    Saturday 05/10/08

  • 7:00 p.m. Quiet Sitting, (preparation to listen to the Dharma)
    Everyone is invited to participate.
  • 7:30 p.m. Service/Discussion

    Location: Bodman Lounge of the Helen Hills Hills Chapel (Smith College).



  • Regular Sangha Gathering.

    This month’s discussion will focus on our sangha; how it has been in the year since the Unnos left, and our hopes for the future. In the context of this discussion we hope to explore the meaning of Sangha as it is beginning to manifest here in New England.

    Some Questions to Consider Before the Meeting: One Year Since the Unnos Left

  • Has there been a moment over the past year, at any of our meetings, in which something really resonated with you; a highlight, something you were able to apply to your life situation?
  • If the sangha disappeared tomorrow, what would you miss most? What would you miss the least?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the cluster presentations? What are the strengths and weaknesses of visiting minister presentations?
  • Any comments on the balance of ritual/dharma talk/discussion in each meeting?
  • Do you have any suggestions for strengthening the content or format of the monthly sangha meeting?
  • Would you like having a central theme for each year (for example, “What is Amida??or “The Four Noble Truths?


  • Refreshment dana and flower dana are always welcomed, so please bring whatever you'd like to share.

    05/15/08 (Thursday)

    7:00 PM

    Location: Bodman Lounge of the Helen Hills Hills Chapel (Smith College).



    NSBS Book Discussion Group

    The book group will continue discussing Everyday Suchness by Rev. Gyomay Kubose, a short book on living the Buddhist life. We will be purchasing copies, for sale, with a discount from the Buddhist publishing company, which will be available at sangha meeting or by contacting Mina Harrison or Mary Lynn Brezsnyak. We hope you will join us.

    Feel free to contact Mina or Mary Lynn (or email us) for more information, or to make suggestions.

    Sunday 05/18/08

    11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

    Location: Dhamma Dena

    Family Dharma
    for children, parents and everyone. All are welcome!

    Dharma lesson, storytelling, crafts, kid-friendly quiet sitting and chanting, birthdays, hands-on crafts, and music!

    Our themes for this time:

  • The meaning of our chant, "I Gassho With Amida" (continued).
  • The meaning of Vesak, a Buddhist holiday celebrated around the world in May.
  • We will also follow up on some excellent questions raised last time about the the meaning of the legends surrounding Siddhartha Gautama's birth.


  • Please bring a brown bag lunch. Parents and children are reminded to bring their ojuzu/nenju beads if you have them (if you don't have them, no problem!)

    Refreshment dana and flower dana are always welcomed, so please bring whatever you'd like to share.

    June 2008


    Reflections for June


    Smile!


    One of my favorite sayings that summarizes the Shin Buddhist teachings is the poem by Saichi:


    I may be in possession of 84,000 evil passions
    And Amida, too, is 84,000
    This the meaning of Namu-amida-butsu.


    While we experience countless passions--hate, anger, selfishness, deceit, etc.--compassion also embraces each passion and transforms it with each saying of Namu-amida-butsu. This is the oneness of foolish being and boundless compassion.

    With palms together, Ty Unno


    Saturday 06/14/08

  • 7:00 p.m. Quiet Sitting, (preparation to listen to the Dharma)
    Everyone is invited to participate.
  • 7:30 p.m. Service/Discussion

    Location (NOTE CHANGE): Dewey Common Room (Smith College - click here for map). We have used this space in past years for Mark Unno's one-day workshops.



  • Regular Sangha Gathering.

    Kerry Homstead and Fritzi Kelly kick off his month’s discussion which will take as its starting point Alice Unno’s essay from the book Women Practicing Buddhism entitled “Growing Up Buddhist.?



    Refreshment dana and flower dana are always welcomed, so please bring whatever you'd like to share.

    06/19/08 (Thursday)

    7:00 PM

    Location: Bodman Lounge of the Helen Hills Hills Chapel (Smith College).



    NSBS Book Discussion Group

    The book group will continue discussing Everyday Suchness by Rev. Gyomay Kubose, a short book on living the Buddhist life. We will be purchasing copies, for sale, with a discount from the Buddhist publishing company, which will be available at sangha meeting or by contacting Mina Harrison or Mary Lynn Brezsnyak. We hope you will join us.

    Feel free to contact Mina or Mary Lynn (or email us) for more information, or to make suggestions.

    Sunday 06/22/08

    11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

    Location: Dhamma Dena

    Family Dharma
    for children, parents and everyone. All are welcome!

    Dharma lesson, storytelling, crafts, kid-friendly quiet sitting and chanting, birthdays, hands-on crafts, and music!

    Our themes for this time:

  • The meaning of our chant, "I Gassho With Amida" (continued).
  • We will also continue our discussion about motive, right intentions, foolish beings, and the meaning of the legends surrounding Siddhartha Gautama's birth.


  • Please bring a brown bag lunch. Parents and children are reminded to bring their ojuzu/nenju beads if you have them (if you don't have them, no problem!)

    Refreshment dana and flower dana are always welcomed, so please bring whatever you'd like to share.

    July 2008


    Reflections for July


    Ripening persimmon and a wise bird.
    Natural Ripening of Fruit


    In Japan persimmons grow in abundance in autumn. The fruit is sweet and tasty when picked at the right time. But if picked too soon and not given the chance to ripen, the fruit is bitter in taste and not even edible.

    This natural process of the ripening of persimmons--bitterness to sweetness-- is used as a model of religious awakening in Shin Buddhism. The persimmon to ripen properly depends on the right conditions, especially good sunny weather. Likewise, Shin practitioners develop true appreciation of the Buddha Dharma by the working of good karmic conditions--a supportive Sangha, a teacher responding to our spiritual needs, the daily practice of worship at home, reciting the Nembutsu in sadness and joy, applying the teaching to problems faced in everyday life.

    With palms together, Ty Unno




    Fri. (eve.) 7/11, Saturday 7/12 - Sunday 7/13
    Annual Workshop with Ty and Mark Unno

    Location: Barre Center for Buddhist Studies



    This workshop explores the deeper dimensions of Shin Buddhism in larger philosophical and cultural contexts, taking up the core issues of relative perspectives, dissolving dualistic boundaries, and realizing the oneness of reality. The discussion is based on the words of Shinran (1173-1263) contained in the classical Tannisho (Lamenting the Deviations). The weekend consists of dharma talks, open discussion, and free inquiry, as well as quiet sitting and sutra chanting.

    Please contact BCBS at (978) 355-2347 or bcbs@dharma.org for information about availability of space. Hurry!


    NOTE NEW DAY!
    Tuesday 07/15/08

  • 5:30 p.m. Pot luck dinner.
  • 7:00 p.m. Quiet Sitting, (preparation to listen to the Dharma)
    Everyone is invited to participate.
  • 7:30 p.m. Service/Discussion

    Location: Bodman Lounge of the Helen Hills Hills Chapel (Smith College)..





  • Regular Sangha Gathering.

    Our founding teachers, Ty and Alice Unno.


    We would like to invite you to an evening with the Unno family and the Northampton Shin Buddhist Sangha.

    On Tuesday, July 15th the Northampton Shin Buddhist Sangha will reunite with the original founders of our group, Mrs. Alice and Rev. Taitetsu Unno, as well as our friend, their son, Rev. Mark Unno of the University of Oregon .

    We will meet at the Bodman Lounge at the Smith College Helen Hills Hills Chapel on Elm Street in Northampton, for a potluck dinner starting at 5:30 pm. (Please call or email Lois Bowman, or reply to shin_sangha@yahoo.com.

    At 7:00 pm we will have quiet sitting and at 7:30 we will have a Shin Buddhist service and discussion.

    Even if you will be coming for the first time, please join us!

    Refreshment dana and flower dana are always welcomed, so please bring whatever you'd like to share.

    Important Note:
    The NSBS Board of Directors election ballots were mailed out to the paid members on 23 June 2008. The requested return date is July 21, 2008. Please mail your completed ballot to: NSBS, P.O. Box 1482, Northampton, MA 01061. (A stamped, addressed envelope was included for your convenience). The Governance Committee wishes to thank everyone for their cooperation.



    No meetings during July and August.


    NSBS Book Discussion Group

    The Book group will be on hiatus for the months of July and August, resuming in September 2008.

    For anyone who would like to get a start on our next book we will be reading excerpts from, "Living in Amida's Universal Vow - Essays in Shin Buddhism" edited by Alfred Bloom.

    Feel free to contact Mina or Mary Lynn (or email us) for more information, or to make suggestions.

    Sunday 07/20/08

    11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

    Location: Dhamma Dena

    Family Dharma
    for children, parents and everyone. All are welcome!

    Dharma lesson, storytelling, crafts, kid-friendly quiet sitting and chanting, birthdays, hands-on crafts, and music!

    Our themes for this time:

  • The meaning of our chant, "I Gassho With Amida" (continued).
  • We will also continue our discussion about motive, right intentions,foolish beings, and compassion.


  • Please bring a brown bag lunch. Parents and children are reminded to bring their ojuzu/nenju beads if you have them (if you don't have them, no problem!)

    Refreshment dana and flower dana are always welcomed, so please bring whatever you'd like to share.

    August 2008


    Reflections for August


    Ice of blind desire melts without fail to become 
the water of enlightenment.
    Ice of blind desire melts without fail to become the water of enlightenment. (Shinrian)


    The goal of Shin Buddhist life is twofold:

  • acknowledging one's limitation as an unenlightened human being,

  • and simultaneously affirming the unlimited compassion of life itself that we describe as the working of Amida Buddha.



  • Expressing this by a metaphor 700 years ago, Shinran writes: "Ice of blind desire melts without fail to become the water of enlightenment." Bind desire, for example, give rise to our anger and hatred (ice), but they can become the source of true understanding (water) of ourselves. When anger directed to others enables us to see ourselves as we are, then it is like ice melting to become water that sustains all life. This whole process is contained in the saying of nembutsu, Namu-amida-butsu.

    With palms together, Ty Unno





    Annual Picnic - All-Sangha, Friends & Family




    Location: Look Park, Northampton, MA

    Tables 6A & 6B.

    (Click on the link above for directions, maps and general information.
    Note that Look Park charges a $4 per vehicle entry fee.)


    Sunday, August 17, from 11:00 until... whenever!
    Coming later than 11:00? No problem! We will be glad to see you!


    This picnic is a true "pot luck." Just bring whatever you want to bring, and if you bring something to share, that will be even better. The sangha will provide paper plates, plastic utensils, charcol and grilling tools, and paper napkins, as well as burgers, buns, hotdogs, and condiments.

    This is a chance for the sangha, Family Dharma, the book group, and all of our friends and families to simply enjoy being together, and to get acquainted or reacquainted with one another. Plan to have relaxed fun!

    Look Park has a number of attractions, including a nearby playground and wading pool, and further off a minature golf course, train ride, small zoo, and bumper boats. Sangha members will be bringing equipment for volley ball and other activities. There will be no formal service this time!

    Please join us! We hope to see you there!





    08/28/08 (Thursday)

    5:30 PM

    Location: Bodman Lounge of the Helen Hills Hills Chapel (Smith College)..

    Important! The location may change. In that case, we will announce the new location via email by 8/21.




    Visiting Reverends

    Visit from Revs. Kodo Umezu, Harry Bridge and TK Nakagaki.

  • Rev Umezu is the Director of Buddhist Education at the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley.

  • Rev. Bridge used to be an occasional participant in NSBS when he was a jazz musician in Boston and now is the resident minister at Alice Unno’s childhood temple in Lodi, CA.

  • Rev Nakagaki, Minister of the New York Buddhist Church, our Supervising Minister and twice a visiting teacher at NSBS this last year.


  • The location for this event will be confirmed by email no later than 08/21, and will either be at Bodman Lounge at the Smith College Chapel or at the home of one of our members.



    No meetings during July and August.


    NSBS Book Discussion Group

    The Book group will be on hiatus for the months of July and August, resuming in September 2008.

    For anyone who would like to get a start on our next book we will be reading excerpts from, "Living in Amida's Universal Vow - Essays in Shin Buddhism" edited by Alfred Bloom.

    Feel free to contact Mina or Mary Lynn (or email us) for more information, or to make suggestions.

    Sunday 08/31/08

    11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

    Location: Dhamma Dena

    Family Dharma
    for children, parents and everyone. All are welcome!

    Dharma lesson, storytelling, crafts, kid-friendly quiet sitting and chanting, birthdays, hands-on crafts, and music!

    Our themes for this time:

  • The meaning of our chant, "I Gassho With Amida" (continued).
  • We will also continue our discussion about motive, right intentions,foolish beings, and compassion.


  • Please bring a brown bag lunch. Parents and children are reminded to bring their ojuzu/nenju beads if you have them (if you don't have them, no problem!)

    Refreshment dana and flower dana are always welcomed, so please bring whatever you'd like to share.

    September 2008


    Reflections for September


    The sangha is a family.


    Recently we had a family gathering, attended by our siblings, their children, and many close friends in Lodi, California, which is Alice's home town. I felt a strong sense of interconnectedness and interdependence with everyone, including the children present.

    The kinship we felt was that of a real Sangha, akin to a harmonious family life. Unlike Zen which is basically monastic, for monks and nuns, Shin Buddhism nurtures a Sangha that is like a family, where everyone fulfills his or her responsibility for its maintenance. The model is the agrarian household where every member had to do his or her share in order to survive. This is the reason that Shin Buddhism was central to Japanese immigrants in Hawaii and the West Coast in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    How to extend such a vision in American Buddhism is a challenge, since its emphasis is on the individual, rather than the family and community. But if Shin teachings make sense to us and our families, we seek to follow he Shin path, since it is closest to the Buddhist path originally conceived by the historical Buddha himself.

    With palms together, Ty Unno


    Saturday 09/13/08

  • 7:00 p.m. Quiet Sitting, (preparation to listen to the Dharma)
    Everyone is invited to participate.
  • 7:30 p.m. Service/Discussion

    Location: Bodman Lounge of the Helen Hills Hills Chapel (Smith College).



  • Monthly Sangha Gathering

    Please join us for our monthly service and a discussion of chapter one of Tannisho, the 13th century classic of Shin Buddhism.

    Poet Gary Snyder wrote:
    The Tannisho teaches the truth of leaving differences
    and disputes behind,letting ego and spiritual ambition go,
    the mysteries of the Vow and the Name, dropping it all,
    waking up, and going on.


    For an online version of Ty Unno’s translation go to
    www.livingdharma.org/Tannisho/TannishoContents.html
    This site includes a glossary and the article "How to Read the Tannisho."

    We are interested in extending the discussion to those unable to attend the meeting in corporeal form, so please feel free to email comments and questions. After the meeting, perhaps there will be an opportunity to share our thoughts electronically.

    Refreshment dana and flower dana are always welcomed, so please bring whatever you'd like to share.



    09/18/08(Thursday)

    7:00 PM

    Location: Smith College Campus Center, in the lounge across from the cafeteria.




    NSBS Book Discussion Group

    The Book group will resume this month, reading excerpts from, "Living in Amida's Universal Vow - Essays in Shin Buddhism" edited by Alfred Bloom.

    Feel free to contact Mina or Mary Lynn (or email us) for more information, or to make suggestions.

    Sunday 09/21/08

    11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

    Location: Dhamma Dena

    Family Dharma
    for children, parents and everyone. All are welcome!

    Dharma lesson, storytelling, crafts, kid-friendly quiet sitting and chanting, birthdays, hands-on crafts, and music!

    Our themes for this time:

  • The meaning of our chant, "I Gassho With Amida" (continued).
  • We will also continue our discussion about motive, right intentions,foolish beings, and compassion.


  • Please bring a brown bag lunch. Parents and children are reminded to bring their ojuzu/nenju beads if you have them (if you don't have them, no problem!)

    Refreshment dana and flower dana are always welcomed, so please bring whatever you'd like to share.

    October 2008


    Quick Update for October




    (My apologies for this late and hasty update, which was delayed by health problems. The web site is not yet up to date, but should be current by Thursday evening. NAB, David)


    ~~ TY UNNO'S REFLECTIONS FOR OCTOBER

    Shinran wrote many religious poems, summing up his experience of the nembutsu and expressed them in succinct verses. I shall discuss one verse every month and explore with you its essential meaning. In the year 1257, when Shinran was 87 years old, he had a dream that told him, as follows:

    Entrust yourself to Amida's Primal Vow,
    Through the benefit of being grasped, never to be abandoned.
    All who entrust themselves to the Primal Vow
    Attain the supreme enlightenment.


    As followers of Shinran, we want to fully appreciate the meaning of Primal Vow that signifies the deepest wish of every human being to realize perfect peace and happiness in life. This wish is called "Primal," because it is inherent in reality (Amida) itself AND in each of us at the deepest core of our being. Once we realize this as a fact, we are "grasped, never to be abandoned," no matter what happens, and we are destined to attain supreme enlightenment. This total or true entrusting inevitably leads to supreme enlightenment, the goal of all Buddhist paths and the promise fulfilled of the Primal Vow. Namu-amida-butsu is an affirmation of this as a fact, expressed with humility and gratitude.

    Palms together, Ty Unno.


    ~~ MONTHLY SANGHA GATHERING (10/10)

    You should have received an email announcement for the monthly sangha gathering (10/10) from Geoff Brown. If you did not receive the announcement, please reply to this email and let us know!


    ~~ BOOK GROUP ~~ October 16, Thursday, 7 p.m.

    On October 16, Thursday, 7 p.m. we will be meeting to view and discuss the DVD on D.T. Suzuki, the Japanese scholar who has written much about Zen and Shin Buddhism. As we will be meeting in a member's home to access this media, we ask that you contact Mina Harrison for further information, as space is limited. (Mina is in the White Pages for Northampton.) We expect to read another chapter of Living In Amida's Universal Vow ed. Alfred Bloom on November 13, meeting in the Campus Center top floor; for a copy contact Mina.


    ~~ FAMILY DHARMA ~~ Sunday 10/18/08, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM. Location: Dhamma Dena

    Children, parents and everyone, all are welcome! Dharma lesson, storytelling, crafts, kid-friendly quiet sitting and chanting, birthdays, hands-on crafts, and music! We will continue our discussion of the Four Noble Truths, with Carol and Seth Waag leading the discussion on "the arising of dukkha." Please bring a brown bag lunch and your beads, if you have them (if you don't have them, no problem!) Refreshment dana and flower dana are always welcomed, so please bring whatever you'd like to share.





    I once heard a story about a visit to heaven and hell.
    In both places the visitor saw many people seated at a table
    on which many delicious foods were laid out. In both places
    chopsticks over a meter long were tied to their right hands,
    while their left hands were tied to their chairs.

    In hell, however much they stretched out their arms, the
    chopsticks were too long for them to get food into their mouths.
    They grew impatient and got their hands and chopsticks tangled
    with one another's. The delicacies were scattered here and there.


    In heaven, on the other hand, people happily used the long
    chopsticks to pick out someone else's favorite food and feed
    it to him, and in turn they were being fed by others. They all
    enjoyed their meal in harmony.


    (Quotation from Zen Seeds: Reflections of a Female Priest by Shundo Aoyama)


    Namu Amida Butsu


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