View in browser
Cleveland Buddhist Temple Newsletter

Dharma from the Forest City

Supervising Minister Rev. Ron Miyamura, 
Midwest Buddhist Temple

Contact Rev. Anita, Resident Tokudo Minister, CBT at:

September 5, 2020 Edition

Wassan 34

The countless bodhisattvas
throughout the ten quarters,
To cultivate roots of virtues,
Revere and praise Amida in
Let us take refuge in the

(Excerpt from A Pure Land Teaching Jōdo Shinshū Song of True Shinjin… Compiled by Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii 1999.)

Sentient Beings

The image above includes a human, animals familiar to Americans., trees, flowers, grass, maybe a pebble or two, and yes, weeds.   If you have been reading the excerpts from Takamaro Shigaraki’s Heart of the Shin Buddhist Path over the past few weeks, you will find this week’s excerpt speaks to the point of sentient beings.

This is not easy reading.  The words are understood easily enough, the meaning also. What is difficult is the concept. If this is a Buddhist path we choose in this life why is this concept so difficult to own, to practice, to follow? We say Jōdo Shinshū is the easier path, not the easy path. There is no easy path.  In Buddhism we own responsibility for ourselves, our outlook on life, our expression gratitude , our lack of expression of gratitude, our compassion toward self and others, etc. 

What Shigaraki is moving towards is the awakening of realization.  If we are “asleep” we live with our illusions, but this awakening, this giving up of our illusions, is possible in this life. 

He guides us to this awakening when he writes “When we deeply look into a thing, the “I” that sees becomes – in and of itself – the thing that is seen.”  Shigaraki then brings this to an everyday occurrence, that of eating food.  He writes “This teaching that the taking of the life of a living thing is a great evil offense is based on the perspective of that living thing. It takes the standpoint of awakening or wisdom (prajna) in which we see that the life of that living thing and our own lives are one.”

This is why I say this is not easy reading.  How easy is it for me to observe the flower and become one with the flower and experience its perspective?  How easy is it to observe a calf and become one with the calf and experience its perspective?  Some say this is empathy, but it goes deeper.  I have the illusion that I am compassionate, but am I? Can I truly experience the perspective of the flower or calf?  Or, would I rather stay “asleep?”

Namo Amida Butsu.

In Gassho,

Rev. Anita

Note: Thank you to those sending in their comments/thoughts on sentient beings, please keep sending them in.

Please email me at  Would really like to hear from you, your comments, thoughts, or just to say “Hi.”

Contents of this edition

Section I

For weddings, infant presentation, memorial service or funerals, please contact for information and an appointment (virtual, phone or in person).

Section II

Rev. Ron Miyamura - Resident Minister of Midwest Buddhist Temple in Chicago. Every Sunday morning, live Service and Dharma talk

Section III

Heart of the Shin Buddhist Path – A Life of Awakening by Takamaro Shigaraki. Translated by Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto, President and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Institute of Buddhist Studies - Berkeley, CA. Translator’s Notes.

Section IV

Buddhist Churches of America Membership.

Join directly with the BCA or join a BCA temple in our Eastern District: Midwest Buddhist Temple, New York Buddhist Church, Ekoji Buddhist Temple or Seabrook Buddhist Temple. If you have any questions, please contact Rev. Anita

Section V

Institute of Buddhist Studies – Schools Open!

Section VI

The Dharma in Your Life

  • Dial the Dharma
  • Dharma Surfing on the Web – Everyone is invited. Stay for a minute or the entire service, and remember, come as you are!
  • Calendar of Events

Section I

Wedding plans?

A Cleveland Buddhist Temple Wedding: simple or elaborate, traditional or non-traditional.

We welcome you to “Come as you are”

Please email rev.anita.cbt@outlook to make an appointment to visit and learn more.

Section II

Rev. Ron Miyamura, Supervising Minister of Cleveland Buddhist Temple

Midwest Buddhist Temple - every Sunday 11:30 AM Eastern Time.

Midwest Buddhist Temple, Chicago. Weekly on Facebook Live, at 10:30 am (CT) 11:30 am Eastern Time), short Service with Chanting and short Dharma Talk by Rev. Ron Miyamura. Rev. Ron is the Supervising Minister of Cleveland Buddhist Temple.


Rev. Ron Miyamura delivers weekly Dharma messages while our Temples are closed. Listen to all of his Dharma Talk podcasts. Rev. Miyamura begins his podcast with Sutra chanting and then delivers his message.

LIVE STREAMING VIDEO: Rev. Miyamura is streaming his Dharma Talks live on MBT’s Facebook page. If you wish to view Rev. Ron’s Dharma Talk “live” visit MBT’s Facebook page at 11:30 Eastern Time, on Sunday mornings or use the links below to view or listen to recorded talks.

CHANTED TEXTS: For those who would like to chant during service this document provides texts and English translations of some of the Sutras chanted by Rev. Miyamura during services. Chanted Texts

Section III

Heart of the Shin Buddhist Path


Takamaro Shigaraki

Translated by Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto, Institute of Buddhist Studies

Chapter 1 excerpts continued…

What is the Buddha?

What then does “buddha” mean? The word is derived from the Sanskrit word budh, which means “to awaken.” The verb budh, “to awaken,” is converted into the noun buddha, “awakened person” or “awakened one.”

Next, let me briefly discuss the meaning of “awakening.” In Buddhism, a person’s intellectual or mental activity is referred to as either “knowledge” or as “wisdom.” In Buddhism, human “knowing” can be generally divided into these two functions.

Knowledge refers to our normal mental activity. For example, take a case in which we see a flower. Intellectually, the “I” that sees and the flower that is seen arise in a relationship in which each stands in opposition to, and separate from, one another. In addition, when we usually see something in the ordinary sense, we have some kind of subjective reaction to it. For instance, we may feel, “I don’t like tulips!” or “I love carnations!” Our own subjective feelings come up to the surface. For the most part, when we human beings see something, we look at it in that way.

There is another way that people see things, which is more purely objective. It differs from the subjective way of looking at things. For instance, the scientific method is supposed to eliminate our feelings of liking or disliking the things that we observe. We may wonder about what flower family the tulip belongs to or where its habitat may be located. With this method of observation, we seek to analyze, synthesize, and comprehend things from many different angles in an objective, scientific way.

The first way of “knowing” encompasses both our ordinary, everyday way of seeing things in the scientific manner of observing objects. In both cases, it is based on a relationship between the subject, which sees, and the object, which is seen. In Buddhism, this way of looking at things is called knowledge. In contrast, in wisdom, the object that is seen in the subject that sees become one: I become the tulip and the tulip becomes me. That which sees and that which is seen become completely one. The second way of perceiving an object, such as our tulip, is called wisdom. It is also referred to as “awakening” or “realization,” and it represents another structure of knowing by human beings.

What does it mean that the object that is seen by the subject and the subject that sees the object become one? When we deeply look into a thing, the “I” that sees becomes – in and of itself – the thing that is seen. As we see the tulip, we enter into the life of that flower. Becoming one with the light of the tulip, we come to know the tulip and see the tulip. Conversely stated, the life of the tulip reaches into our lives and into the deepest part of our hearts and minds. There, we ourselves come to know that tulip’s heart, as well as its life and the meaning of its existence. This way of seeing his call “awakening.”

For instance, at the front of a flower shop we may see scores of tulips bundled for sale and observed that each flower has been marked with the same price. This is how we look at tulips using our ordinary way of thinking. Certainly, whether they are white, red, or yellow, tulips of the same variety and size would be price the same. However, from the standpoint of life of the tulip itself, the existence and value of each tulip would be utterly unique.

Each and every tulip flower is in the replaceable life; existing this one time only, it has survived the long winter and is now moving with all its might. Each and every tulip is blooming at the risk of its own life, so to say that all the flowers are the same would mean that we do not truly see the unique life of the individual tulip. That tulip is blossoming with irreplaceable life. When we are able to see the tulip at the place where the life of the tulip in our own life become one, then for the first time we will be able to see the world about life, in which each and every tulip is blooming with all its might. This is the way of seeing that I am talking about now.

According to Buddhist teaching, when we consume a living thing – such as when we eat the meat of animals such as fish, chicken, or cattle, or when we eat eggs – we are committing the terrible offense of taking life. As a result, special customs have been passed down among Buddhist followers whereby they either never eat such things or they occasionally refrain from eating them. This teaching that the taking of the life of a living thing is a great evil offense is based on the perspective of that living thing. It takes the standpoint of awakening or wisdom (prajna) in which we see that the life of that living thing and our own lives are one. It is born out of a re-examining of our own lives, based on that standpoint. In this way Buddhism teaches us that all living beings alike live precious, invaluable lives. Thus, all varieties of living things – fish – fish, birds, and humans – have lives of infinite value.

The Buddhist teachings include the notion of sattva, a Sanskrit word that is generally applied to all living beings and animals, including human beings. In China it was translated shujo, which refers to the multitude of living beings, or as ujo, which indicates things having any kind of feelings. All of these words points to be non-differentiation of all living beings. Again, this kind of thinking arose from the way of seeing what is grounded in the standpoint of awakening in which one sees an object when the subject and the object have become one, and the seer has entered into the object.

This way of seeing things eventually made its way into China, where it was expanded to include not just animals but also all plant life. That is to say daikon, potatoes, carrots, and so on all contain the same life is that of human beings. This gives rise to a way of thinking which hell that our own lives, the life of a daikon, or the life of a carrot should also be understood as sharing common value. Broadening that understanding somewhat more, and the lives of all living beings one discovers the fundamental, common nature of all life. In Japanese Buddhism, this way of thinking eventually joined together with traditional Japanese thought. Life came to be viewed very broadly, extending beyond plants and animals, even to minerals, so that life can be perceived even in a small pebble. Even there we can find a life that is in common with our own. This was the result of the gradual development of the notion of wisdom (awakening and realization) in Indian Buddhism.

One could say that this way of looking at things, based in Buddhist wisdom, whereby we see an object by becoming that object and transcend the opposition between subject and object, is an example of Eastern thought. In a certain sense, it might be regarded as a complete opposite of scientific thinking as it has arisen in the West. I believe, moreover, that, as the destruction of the environment worsens and we reach a point of crisis in which the very future of our planet is at stake, this way of seeing things based on Buddhist wisdom can be very important, for it can make possible a new kind of human life in a 21st-century. This unique kind of human knowing arises in the sphere of an exceedingly profound mind, that is, in the world of spirituality. This is the significance of wisdom and awakening today.

We must seek to stand at the point of intersection of the vertical access of self-responsibility and the horizontal access of the universal principle of the Dharma. If we do so our lives will become focused on seeing things with the eyes of wisdom and awakening. Buddhism teaches us that a life of awakening is the ideal way to live as a person of the world and a member of the human race.

(to be continued…)

Section IV

Cleveland Buddhist Temple Members,

Be a Buddhist Churches of America member as an individual. The BCA individual option became available this year. You may also be a BCA member by joining one of the following BCA member temples in our Eastern District: Midwest Buddhist Temple, New York Buddhist Church, Ekoji Buddhist Temple or Seabrook Buddhist Temple. If you have any questions, please contact Rev. Anita

Welcome to the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA)! We look forward to having you as a member in sharing the Buddha Dharma.

Established in 1899 as the Buddhist Mission of North America in San Francisco, CA, and subsequently in 1944 as the Buddhist Churches of America in Topaz, UT, the BCA today consists of 59 temples and churches across the Continental US dedicated to fulfilling the educational and spiritual needs of those who have chosen to follow the Nembutsu path. BCA is one of several overseas districts of the Nishi Hongwanji-ha, the mother temple of the Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land Buddhism) tradition in Kyoto, Japan.

By becoming a member, you help to support its vision of sharing the Dharma with others. Membership includes subscription to the Wheel of Dharma, our monthly newsletter of articles and essays on Buddhism. You will also receive Bishop Marvin Harada's book, "Discovering Buddhism in Everyday Life," to begin your path with the BCA.

Register on our web page today -

Section V

Curious about Buddhism? Want to learn more? School’s open!

Check out the Institute of Buddhist Studies for the Fall 2020 semester. Take a class or sign up for a certificate or degree program.

Why spend your precious time binge watching media that profits Wall Street? Profit by learning the answers to questions you always had about Buddhism, the world and you.

The Institute of Buddhist Studies is a leading American Buddhist graduate school and seminary that provides graduate-level education across the full breadth of the Buddhist tradition, with specialized training in academic studies of Buddhism, Buddhist chaplaincy, and Jōdo Shinshū Buddhist ministry.

In addition to numerous graduate degree and certificate programs, IBS produces excellent and innovative scholarship, and fosters engaged and inclusive community through conferences, symposia, and other events of interest for scholars and practitioners alike.

Section VI

The Dharma in your life

Buddhist Churhes of America

Dial the Dharma: toll free number is 1-800-817-7918

English language message, press 1

Japanese language message, press 2

Midwest Buddhist Temple, Chicago. Weekly on Facebook Live, at 10:30 am (Central Time), short Service with Chanting and short Dharma Talk by Rev. Ron Miyamura. Rev. Ron is the Supervising Minister of Cleveland Buddhist Temple.

Calendar of Events

Please check last week’s post for details

Every Sunday 11:30 AM Eastern time – Rev. Ron Miyamura Dharma Talk and Service, live

BCA Center for Buddhist Education YouTube Channel

Videos of most CBE seminars that have taken place recently can be viewed at

Sept 26, 1-3pm Ichi-Mi will be having a Gender Language Workshop

October 21 The Dharma in Your Life – Registration begins August 1

Sat./Sun: Oct. 3 & 4: Women in Buddhism Webinar - "Tools for Spiritual Wellness"

Speakers: Carmela Javellana Hirano, M.D. ("Radical Humility - Jodo Shinshu Path to Joy"); Bonnie Duran, Ph.D. ("Dharma for Undoing Internalized Stereotypes"), Sharon A. Suh, Ph.D. (Meditation & Yoga for Healing Trauma"), Sheri Mizumori, Ph.D. ("Brain Health & Everyday Well-Being"); Tara Tamaribuchi, B.F.A. ("Art as healing")

Sat. Oct. 10, 10 am- 12 pm: Technobuddha Seminar - Good Trouble! " I don't think Slavery ended in 1865... I think it just evolved." ~ Bryan Stevenson . Guest speaker: Rick Stambul

Sat. Oct. 24, 10 am - 12 pm: "Dharma in Your Life"- Guest speakers: Rev. Marvin Harada, Rev. Maribeth "Smitty" Smith, and Rev. Jon Turner. Presented by the CBE Every Day Buddhism Committee. Flyer:

Registration link

Sat. Oct. 31, 11 am – 1 pm PDT: “Shin Buddhism & the Supernatural”- Speaker: Rev. Jerry Hirano

Registration Link

(Previously Dr. John Paraskevolopous was scheduled to speak on Oct 31st but due to his work he had to cancel and a new date is TBD)

Sat., Nov. 7, 7-10 pm (PT): BYR and Friends Reunion - An online gathering for HS participants from the BCA Buddhist Youth Retreats (BYR) from all years, and all others interested.

Cleveland Buddhist Temple

21600 Shaker Blvd, Shaker Heights
Ohio 44122 United States

You received this email because you signed up on our website.