In the last weekend of September, just as it was starting to feel like Autumn with the turning leaves and the chill in the air, about 50 people gathered at Harrison Hot Springs for the annual BC Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples Federation (BCJSBTF)Convention and AGM. This year was a little different, as it was a No-Host Convention. This meant that not one temple organized the weekend, but members from every temple in the BC Federation worked together to bring the event to fruition. Friends from all temples in BC, as well as White River and Seattle Temples from Washington State gathered for a weekend of fellowship, "dharmanizing", and plenty of time to enjoy leisurely activities in and around the resort. Dharma talks were given by Socho Ikuta and Sensei Bob Akune (VBT).
Kelowna Buddhist Temple President and Dharma School Teacher, Mari Cameron, spoke to the group on the topic of Omoiyari, which translates as "sympathy" or "consideration" in English. She shared stories from the devastating earthquake and tsunami in north eastern Japan this past spring to illustrate examples of Omoiyari, cooperation and interdependence. She visually showed our interdependence by physically tying together conventioneers, demonstrating how the actions of one person affect the others. The structure for this year's convention afforded the attendees a lot of free time to enjoy each other's company. One of the most popular activities was soaking in the Hot Springs of course! People also enjoyed swimming, and walking, as well as a golf tournament with prizes organized by Kuni Ikuta.
At the lunch on Saturday, the names of the BCJSBTF Raffle winners were drawn. The Top Prize of $1500 went to Kari Nishi of Surrey, BC. Congratulations go to all 8 winners of the raffle draw (whose names will be listed elsewhere in this issue), and thank you to all who helped sell and buy tickets for this year's raffle. The business part of the weekend took place on Sunday morning with the convening of the representatives of the temples in the federation for the Annual General Meeting.
Amongst the highlights was the announcement of the recipients of this year's BC Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples Association Post-Secondary School Scholarships. The 4-year scholarship was awarded to Alyssa Eby of the Kamloops Temple, who has just started her first year at the University of Victoria. The 1-year scholarship was awarded to Emily Lacey from Kelowna, who is now attending the University of Toronto. The handing out of the scholarships is one of the most important activities we undertake as the provincial group. Thanks goes to Lori North who heads the BCJSBTF Shinshu Education Committee to offer students access the financial help they need to pursue their goals. One of the major events for our provincial sangha is, of course, the Manning Park Family Retreat. After having had the help of the LDC for the last few years, we are happy to announce that the BCJSBTF will be holding the reigns of this event once again. We are grateful to the LDC for their support these last few years. The late Dr. Leslie Kawamura (LDC Director), who passed away this past March, was a great proponent of the Manning Park Family Retreat as a time and place for the sangha to gather to explore the Dharma in various ways. We will keep moving in that direction, to deepen the roots of Jodo Shinshu in those of us already planted, but also to "grow the forest" by offering this retreat to our friends and family who are interested in Buddhism. Information for registration for Manning Park 2012 will be found in the November issue of the Bodhi Mind Newsletter.
Also on the agenda of the AGM was the election of the Executive Board of Directors of the BCJSBTF. For the next year, the Executive Board of the BCJSBTF will be headed by President, Greg Chor (VBT); Vice President, Denji Kobayashi (Kamloops BT); Secretary, Joanne Yuasa (VBT); and Treasurer, Frank Hamanishi (VBT). This selection sees 3 new faces to the Provincial Board. Though 3 of us are new, we have with us, our treasured Treasurer, Frank Hamanishi, who has had his seat on the Board for 17 years! We are grateful we have a "veteran" with us to keep the continuity of past Executive Boards running through this generation of directors. With much input from all of you, we aim for the next year to be a year of discovery and learning new and innovative ideas. With gratitude to all who have and continue to work with the federation and special appreciation to our "retiring" officers President Kuni Ikuta and Secretary Jeanne Ryan.
In gassho...living with the Dharma,
Your 2012 BCJSBTF Board