- Why is it that we publish the dollar amounts that people contribute to the temple? Isn't this contrary to the idea of selfless giving?
- May I stop by to sit in the temple?
- Does the temple have meditation classes?
- What do I wear to service?
- What happens during service? May I participate?
- Do you have regular services? Is the service in English?
Why is it that we publish the dollar amounts that people contribute to the temple? Isn't this contrary to the idea of selfless giving?
Your question is valid and we should revisit this question one in a while. We do have a long Japanese tradition of recognizing the donors by displaying their gifts with the family name, etc. The temple also wrote names on a wooden board and displayed and recognized them in the back of the hondo. Most of these also list the monetary amount. If you go to Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple you will see this above the entry in the hondo. Some major gifts such as bells, incense burners and statutes have family names on the back of the items for recognition. There are many other forms in which different Buddhist traditions recognize the donors and our BCA traditions are born out of this practice. However, there are many who feel the same as you do and would like to follow the Buddhist principle of DANA or selfless giving by staying anonymous or selecting not to have the amount posted in the donation list. Our temple is also divided in both thinking. However, if you wish not to have the amount noted please let us know. We appreciate your comment.
May I stop by to sit in the temple?
Visitors may sit quietly in the temple if no service or other activity is in session. Please check with the temple office first to make sure you may enter the temple. Although most services are open to everyone, some family memorial services are private.
Does the temple have meditation classes?
This temple is a Jodo Shinshu temple. Practices such as visualization, sitting or walking meditation, or contemplation are not primary practices of Jodo Shinshu. This temple does not have meditation classes, although other Jodo Shinshu temples have meditation sessions.
What do I wear to service?
The best clothes to wear are whatever makes you most comfortable for listening to the dharma. Children regularly attend in shorts, as do some young adults. Some people wear jeans or khakis. In a temple environment, some gentlemen feel more comfortable in a suit or sports coat with slacks. For special services, people tend to wear more formal attire.
What happens during service? May I participate?
The service features a dharma talk by the minister. Sometimes there is a guest speaker. Services typically include chanting, burning incense, recitation, and readings. Those in attendance are free to participate or merely observe, as they wish and are comfortable doing.
Do you have regular services? Is the service in English?
A typical week begins with service at 9:30am Sundays. Some Sundays a special service is held for a Buddhist observance such as Buddha Day (Hanamatsuri) commemorating the birth of Shakyamuni Buddha.
The regular and special services held on Sundays are conducted in English. Programs and service books are available so that those in attendance, even newcomers, can easily participate. Although some rituals are in Japanese or Sanskrit, English transliterations are printed in the service books.
There are typically three dharma talks during services: one in English for Dharma School students, one in English for adults, and one in Japanese if anyone in attendance speaks Japanese only.