Vol. XLX, No. 1                         January 2004
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AKEMASHITE OMEDETO  - HAPPY NEW YEAR
2547 B.E. (Buddhist Era)       - From the Parinirvana (death of the Buddha)
2004 C.E. (Common Era)      - From the birth of Christ
Heisei Jurokunen                  - 16th year of the Heisei Emperor’s Reign
Year of the Monkey              - Chinese Calendar Year

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SAMBUJO
Senshin Temple will begin the year with its Shusho-e New Years Day Service on January 1st from
9:30am. As has been the custom for the past few years, our first service of the year begins with the Sambujo or
“The Three Respectful Invitations”. This is an ancient chant taken from the Hojisan of Zendo Daishi, the fifth
of the Seven Eminent Priests of Jodoshinshu tradition.  The translation is as follows;

We respectfully call upon the Tathagata Amida to enter this Dojo
as we joyfully scatter flowers of welcome.
We respectfully call upon the Tathagata Shakamuni to enter this Dojo
as we joyfully scatter flowers of welcome.
We respectfully call upon the Tathagatas of the Ten Directions to enter this Dojo
as we joyfully scatter flowers of welcome.
Dojo was the original term for a Buddhist temple, literally meaning “the place where the Dharma is
cultivated”. Later, the term tera replaced the term Dojo and the latter term was used to mean a place of
practice, especially for martial arts. Tathagata means come from Thusness, and refers to all those forms and
names which manifest the formless and nameless Ultimate Reality. When the section as we joyfully scatter
flowers of welcome paper flower petals are scattered.  The Sambujo is the ritual enactment of opening ourselves
to all the manifestations of Ultimate Reality which call us to awaken to it. We thus begin the year by inviting
all the manifestations of Ultimate Reallity which call us to awaken to it.  We thus begin the year by inviting
all the manifestations of the ineffable Truth into this Dojo Temple and into our Dojo-body, so that we may lead
more true and therefore meaningful and joyful lives.
Each person participating in the New Years Day Service will be given 9 flower petals. Three petals are
scattered at each of three recitations at the point San - scatter of “Sangeraku - as we joyfully scatter flowers of
welcome”.

On the night of New Years Eve, we will have our Joya-e or Last Night of the Year gathering at 6:30pm.
The Juseige, the most basic and most frequently chanted Gatha is chanted for the last time that year.  Following
this short service, we retire to the Social Hall for a pot luck gathering and this year will show video tapes of past
temple activities. Everyone is cordially invited.
Gassho,
Senshin Temple

FUNCTIONING CHAOS – NON-FUNCTIONING ORDER
On our recent trip to India, 18 Senshin members and friends encountered a sudden Monsoon downpour
in the city of Madurai in south India. As our bus entered the city from an excursion outside we encountered a
huge flow of traffic in 6 to 8 inches of water in a city with no sewage system. We were inching along through
the city at about 5 miles per hour along with hundreds of people walking in water up to their calves, water
buffalo, cows, goats, cars, tricycle put-puts, bicycles, taxis, tricycle rickshaws, dogs, and a few chickens. But
this was not what was remarkable. What was remarkable was that all this traffic was moving along a narrow
street without touching each other, but flowing along nevertheless. The horns were beeping, not so much in
anger, as in warning others of one’s approach. There was no thought of road rage, anger, confrontation. The
rain was welcome after a long drought – and this was just a slight inconvenience, one to be shared and even
enjoyed.

I thought about how this would be received in the U.S. Most probably with indignation, road rage,
confrontation, irritation, and frustration. India, a nation with one billion people, 14 major languages, 5 major
religions, and extreme wealth and poverty is a remarkable functioning democracy. It has a lively and freewheeling
press, expanding high-tech economy, a multi-lingual educational system, etc. etc. It is also a country
racked by religious and caste strife, suppression of women, etc. But the land of the Buddha is a wonder to
behold. Differences and contradictions abound, variety is the norm. And in this incredible mix and chaos,
society flows on its merry way – with a kindness and flourish that is disarming. I suspect that it is because of
the overwhelming daily contact one has with people and other animals in India. Life is not imagined, it is
encountered, moment after moment.

In Los Angeles, I get into my insular car and drive to work, actually meeting and talking to 2 or 3 people
a day. I get back into my moving cubicle, get home, watch TV, go to bed and repeat the cycle again. Were it
not for a life at the temple – my human contact, not to mention other animals, would be sparse indeed. My life
is more in my head than anywhere else – it is not practical, not real, it has no odor, no real taste. Everything is
bland, antiseptic, efficient, glitzy, polished, refined, and boring. Dedication, sacrifice, perseverance, stick-to-itness,
really isn’t as important as being able to bend, being as kind and gentle as possible to every living,
enjoying the company of others (including humans) and just standing there (instead of always doing
something). What is true and real is beautiful. And nothing is what is required to get at it. And wanting it
spoils everything. And not wanting it is still wanting it. What can we then say except Namoamidabutsu?

Namoamidabutsu,
Rev. Mas