Happy New Year

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I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a happy new year.  During the past year all of you have kindly supported me in my efforts to bring the Buddha Dharma to Watsonville and the surrounding area.  Because of your efforts and support we have been able to see some growth and increased interest in our programs.  I look forward to 2018 as we increase our efforts and programs at the temple.

On behalf of my family I send to all of you our deepest thanks and gratitude for all of your support and look forward to your advice and assistance in 2018 the year of the Dog.

In Gassho,

Rev. Jay & Jane Shinseki and family.

This year 2018 (or 2,581 from the time of the birth of the Buddha) is the year of the dog, people born in 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006 and 2018 are considered dog people.  Some characteristics of the dog are:  Sincere, reliable, considerate, understanding, patient, intelligent, hardworking, brave and responsible.

It was believed that as the Buddha lay dying; all the animals were summoned before him.  Of all the animals twelve in number showed up to say their farewells to the Buddha.  In honor of the twelve the Buddha designated a year after each.  It was therefore thought that the person born in that year is strongly influenced by that animal.

The 12 animals that showed up in front of Lord Buddha included the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig successively.  The story is that the cat spoke with his friend the rat.  They agreed that whichever one of them awoke in the morning first would be responsible for waking the other so they could go to Lord Buddha together.  Unfortunately, the rat did not wake his friend the cat.  And for this reason the cat is missing from the twelve who visited the Buddha.

Many of us enjoy hearing and talking about the different characteristics of the 12 animals.  However, the positive characteristics attributed to each animal can be achieved by each of us and the negative characteristics can be avoided.  We can be the very best we can in 2018 no matter what our sign is.  We each have the hearts and minds to be understanding, patient, intelligent and responsible even if our sign is not the year of the dog.

Together let us all make every effort to practice patience, compassion understanding and spread kindness and peace wherever we are.

Also, in the month of January we also celebrate on of our most important observances as Jodoshinshu BuddhistsGoshoki Hoonko literally means a gathering to express our indebtedness at a memorial to Shinran Shonin the founder of Jodoshinshu Buddhism.  According to the western calendar Shinran was born on May 21st 1173 and died on January 1, 1262.  What makes Shinran remarkable as a Buddhist is his achievement in setting forth, with a thoroughness and coherence, that is quite remarkable, a path to enlightenment accessible to all people.   A teaching still relevant and applicable to our everyday lives.

This year we will observe the Hoonko service together with Monterey and Salinas at our temple on January 28, 2018.  The observance will begin on Saturday, January 27th with a special lecture by our guest speaker Rev. Nariaki Hayashi of the Ekoji Buddhist Temple in Fairfax, Virginia.  The special lecture/presentation will begin at 2:00 pm.  The Hoonko observance will continue on Sunday, January 28th at 10:00 am with a special service and luncheon to follow.  I encourage everyone to join us for this very special gathering.


Rev. Jay Shinseki