"Did you know that the current temple on Vineyard Street was built by the YBA in 1937 to serve as their social hall where dances and other social activities were held? It was just after World War II, that the YBA Social Hall was converted to its current temple function. (The altar area in the temple was formerly the Social Hall’s stage.)"

Namu Amida Butsu

 

AS WE BEGIN THE YEAR 2017,may we all recite the Nembutsuwith the true mind of gratitude,joy, and appreciate the infiniteLight and Life of Amida Buddha.

On the first day of January, which is NewYear’s Day, traditionally many people eat"OZONI,” which is Mochi soup.

On the first day of January, which is NewYear’s Day, traditionally many people eat"OZONI,” which is Mochi soup.

However, before we consume the "Ozoni"soup, we should put our hands together in"Gassho," to express our gratitude and recite theNembutsu, Namo Amida Butsu, Itadakimasu.Then, we can partake this New Year’s special food.

The old Japanese saying said, "Ten people like ten different colors." Yes, allof us who make "Ozoni" soup, use different styles and tastes in "Ozoni" soup.People prepare their soup based on their district’s traditional or their families’ specialtaste.

In order to make this particular dish, I believe what is important for this is all upto the cook who makes the "Soup." Some people use "chicken broth," others use"Konbu" which is a seaweed base, and some use "Kasai," which is dried bonitobase. But, all of them never forget to add salt and soy sauce. These two specialseasonings create the secret for this special dish.

The ingredients are varied, too. Some are very simple and use only minimumitems such as mizuna. However, many people adopt other people’s recipes andcreate their own Ozoni soup by adding other ingredients such as "shiitake mushroom,""gobo" which is burdock, "araimo," "mizuna," "chicken," and so on.

So with the mochi, this Ozoni soup becomes kind of a big dish on New Year’sDay. After we eat this traditional soup, we all are truly satisfied and at the end of themeal we offer the great words of appreciation and say "Gochisou sama, Namanda--bu, Nam man da--bu".

Maybe this is a biased comment, but I think this feeling of satisfaction or fulfillmentis so peaceful. The words, "Gochisou sama, Naman da bu, Naman da bu"is "Ah, I am so satisfied and truly appreciative of this moment" which expresses truegratitude.

When the Nembutsu comes out from our mouths, especially old timers—they are reciting Naman da--bu, Naman da—bu." It seems to me they are trulyexpressing their gratitude to Amida Buddha. I don’t know what they are expressingtheir gratitude for but I firmly believe that it is for "Amida’s spiritual guidance,compassion, wisdom, courage, and sincere heart to all of them and makes theirlives more meaningful.

Nembutsu guidance is not only for people who are facing difficult times, but itis for our daily lives to be aware that his great compassion and wisdom are reachinginto our heart and showing us the great path of the truth.

Let us all have a mind of gratitude for what we have around, what we receive,and that we are able to share our thoughts of minds with our ohana from the beginningof the year. Let us rejoice and share in the spiritual joy and happiness with theNembutsu in our precious life.

May Peace prevail in our community with the great guidance of theNembutsu throughout the year of 2017 with Amida Buddha’s infinite wisdomand compassion

Namu Amida Butsu

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