Southern Alberta Buddhist Choir performs
Engaged Buddhism was the theme of the 2010 Alberta Buddhist Conference. A theme that continued into the weekend, as Sensei James Martin and the Calgary Buddhist Temple hosted the 32nd edition of this annual event.
The volunteer committee coordinated the conference to coincide with the Calgary Buddhist Film Series and the Alberta District's 750th Shinran Shonin Memorial Commemoration on October 29-31, 2010.
The gathering attracted over one-thousand people, including thirty delegates from Lethbridge. Ten people participated in the Sarana Affirmation Ceremony led by Socho Orai Fujikawa of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada.
Guests included Dr. Leslie Kawamura of the University of Calgary and Living Dharma Centre, and Sensei Susumu Ikuta (ret.).
The program opened with a discussion on theme of "Engaged Buddhism" led by Sensei Fredrich Ulrich of the Manitoba Buddhist Temple. Other speakers included Sensei Yasuo Izumi of the Buddhist Temple of Southern Alberta, Rod Burylo, of the Calgary Buddhist Temple, and Tracey Pickup of Thich Nhat Hanh's 'Order of Inter-being'. Mr. Burylo, an internationally known speaker, delivered an interactive session on Ethical Investing, while Ms. Pickup continued on the conference topic of Engaged Buddhism.
Sensei Fredrich Ulrich of Winnipeg opened the conference.
Guest speaker Rod Burylo of Calgary
The Southern Alberta Buddhist Choir performed at the Saturday evening banquet and again for the Sunday service. One of their songs was "May Peace Prevail" with words written by Mrs. Carrie Kawamoto of Mililani Hongwanji. The composition was chosen as the winning entry in the Shinran Shonin's 750th Memorial Gatha Lyrics Contest. The words reflect an affirmation of peace in everyday life, and were set to music by Professor Takeo Kudo of the University of Hawaii Music Department. The inspirational lyrics were included in a commemorative booklet, edited by Susan Huntley and was given to all attendees as a keepsake of the occasion.
Attending Ministers from across Canada
Thanks to the organizing committee and all the volunteers
Organizing Chairperson, Ken Madden summarized, "The success is measured in the weekend's support of our vision: 'To set in motion a way of living, learning and teaching a life of joy and gratitude through Jodo Shinshu Buddhism.' In reflection of this Vision, I believe that we 'cast seeds of dharma' to even more people than ever before!"
The Calgary Buddhist Temple would like to thank the Calgary Public Library for their generous support of the Buddhist Film Series. They also realize that this event is not possible without the help of all the volunteers who gave their time and skills.
Photos courtesy of L. Tsukishima
The special Guest Minister was Koyo Kubose Sensei of the Gyomay Kubose Foundation in Chicago Illinois. He gave a most interesting talk on “..ing” to express the conference theme of “Embracing Buddhism” (Oshie wo Itadaku) in the simultaneous act of our embracing Buddhism as well as of the act of Buddhism embracing us. For his Sunday service dharma talk, he explained the significance of “ok” (the mudra or hand gesture of Amida Buddha) in the context of Jodoshinshu.
At the conference banquet, hosted by Mr. Haji Sugimoto, Mrs. Toshiko Takeda and Mrs. Heidi Konosu were presented with the “Award of Gratitude” (Kansha-jo) for their untiring and subtle contribution to Buddhism in Alberta and in Canada. The term “subtle” is used here to describe that these two ladies quietly and unobtrusively worked for the betterment and progress of Jodoshinshu in Canada. Never have they complained about their participation in the church nor have they ever demanded to be noticed. They were always-ready and ever-lasting in their concern for the benefit to all. Congratulations to both. Unfortunately, owing to Mrs. Konosu’s Nirvana, she was not able to be recognized in person.
Mrs. Takeda receiving her “Award of Gratitude” from Socho Fujikawa
The Southern Alberta Buddhist Choir, that Mrs. Konosu single handedly established, entertained the attendants under the directorship of Mrs. Lorita Ichikawa with its harmonious presentions of 1) Sen no Kaze (A Thousand Winds), 2) Mojiji (Dream Autumn Dreams), 3) Mura Matsuri (Village Festival), 4) Sieya (Splendor of an Evening Sky) and 5) Circle of Life and Nembutsu. The choir was accompanied by Sololist, Charlotte Ikuta; Pianist, Jennifer Koba; and Flute & Drum, Andrew Ichikawa.
Watch the Southern Alberta Buddhist Choir perform “Seiya” (Splendor of An Evening Sky).
from L to R. (Dr. Kawamura, Socho Fujikawa, Sensei Izumi, Reverend Kobose, Sensei Ikuta, and Sensei Martin)
The conference services were led by Sensei Izumi (Buddhist Temple of Southern Alberta) and assisted by Reverend Kubose (Chicago), Sensei Susumu Ikuta and Sensei James Martin (Calgary Buddhist Temple), and LDC Director Leslie Kawamura (BCC & University of Calgary).