January 2024 Monthly Newsletter

🎇Happy New Year🎆
January 1 9:30 New Year Day Celebration Service
January 7 10:00 Sunday Service,
11:00 Board Meeting
January 14, 9:30 Social Sunday with AAUW (Additional information below)
January 20, 1:00 Dungeons & Dragons Role Playing Game’s Next Adventure
January 21, 10:00 Shotsuki Memorial Service,
11:00 Annual General Members Meeting with Otoki
January 28, 9:30 Social Sunday

Message to Sangha
Happy New Year, hope you are starting well on an exceptionally enjoyable year 😁.
We have several activities planned for the month as shown in the attached calendar and noted

● Among the events is the addition of the AAUW (American Association of University Women)
attending the Jan 14 Social Sunday they are coming here for:
“Connection and Conversation with the Japanese-American Community of Guadalupe”.
The AAUW wants to learn about the Japanese-American culture and community in the Santa
Maria Valley. They want to hear the family histories with a focus on the women.”
That does not mean the men out there don’t have stories regarding Mothers, wives, sisters and
maybe a girlfriend or two.
Lata Murti includes, ”I will be passing around consent forms to everyone to make an audio
recording of the discussion and take a group photo. The audio recording would eventually end
up in a digital web archive available to the public but would not have to include anyone’s full
name. I will explain this at the beginning of the discussion. I will moderate it like a panel
discussion or group interview but try to keep it conversational and informal too (like I try to do
for radio).”

If you would prefer not to partake in having your history preserved for posterity, don’t worry we
will have our regular activities available and of course, food is usually involved.

● Also on Saturday, January 20 starting at 1, will be the next adventure of the role playing game
of Dungeons & Dragons with the Dungeon Master David Cochran who includes the following
“Did you know that we have a once-a-month Dungeons and Dragons game hosted in our Social
Hall here at GBC? Our Heroes are just beginning to learn who the Villains /really/ are and could
use all the help they can get!
We have plenty of room at the table and all are welcome, regardless of your previous
experience with table-top roleplaying games. Game dates vary, but they’re always on a
Saturday (1 to 5pm), and always announced at least 2 weeks in advance.
Please contact Lee Humphrey at the Church, or myself at 323-251-5474, if you’re interested in
joining!” –Dave Cochran
If you are interested please let me know or if you want to check it out first, please come on out.

● Sunday, January 21, in addition to our normal Memorial Service and luncheon, we will have
the Annual General Members Meeting. The annual meeting is a requirement to keep the
Sangha aware of what is going on and ensure that we, the Board, are acting responsibly in
behalf of the Sangha. We will keep the meeting short and start after everyone has gotten their

● We will have another opportunity for a Social Sunday on January 28 starting at 9:30 and going
to 11:30 or so. The times are loose, we are not punching a clock and we are not kicking folks
out if they are busy having fun. Social Sundays are all about enjoyment and having fun with
your friends.


Minister’s Message 

Although I have no arms and legs, how peaceful the day is

that I am being wrapped in the Buddha’s sleeve.
From the book, The Hands and Feet of the Heart, Hisako Nakamura

We have seen many statues or scrolls of Amida Buddha. For some, these statues or scrolls
are considered pieces of art; however these “pieces of art” have more meaning for us. As we gaze on
the image of the Buddha, we begin to believe this is what Amida Buddha must look like. However, the Buddha has no tangible features; we can see the artistry and skill of the painter or sculptor, yet it is the Buddha that touches our hearts and minds; for the Buddha is everywhere and in everything. The Buddha is emptiness with no form, yet we are touched by Compassion and Wisdom.

Artisans have only heard of the characteristics and created the Buddha’s image in their idea.
Yet we do not truly know what the Buddha looks like. It is the teachings that we begin to awaken to
and that is when we can begin to see the true form of the Buddha.

There are 32 major characteristics of the Buddha and one of the features of the Buddha is the hands. It is said that the feet and hands are finely webbed. The teachings are always in full grasp and offered to us to hear and learn from. As a young child, I was told that the left hand was inviting us to come and the right hand was the hand of giving of the teachings and hearing.

The forefinger and thumb of both hands are joined to form a circle. This circle represents the knowledge of teachings, which is unending. This circle of teachings has no beginning or end. If one looks at a wedding band, it is a circle that also has neither a beginning nor an end. Marriage is like the teachings; no matter what the circumstances or troubles that may be had, the Buddha encircles us. We can join anywhere in the circle and learn from that point of entry.

The right hand of the Buddha is a symbol of Wisdom and is also the Wisdom shared so that we too can gain knowledge which deepens our entrusting. The right hand shares and offers Wisdom, so that we can make choices of the paths to awaken to our true self.

The left palm of the Buddha is extended outward symbolizing Compassion. I have always seen the left hand as a cup offering us the opportunity to hear the teachings. When we look at the left hand, it seems to be an invitation calling us to come and be sheltered in the warmth of Compassion. When we enter the temple, we are filled with confusion and we bring our sufferings with us.

Pondering on the teachings, we put our hands together in Gassho in thankfulness and gratitude for non- judgment, non-discrimination and acceptance of “just as we are”. It is the Buddha’s heart that is offered as Compassion for those who are struggling and Wisdom shared with everyone.

At the temple we only have a scroll, however this scroll still reminds us of what was heard, can be heard and to be thankful for being able to hear. Being imperfect beings, we live with anger, greed, ignorance and ego. It is our ego driven self that can cause deafness, our sufferings and struggles. We cannot always remember the teachings, but reflecting on the hands of the Buddha, we can be assured that we are never alone. We can be assured of the Compassion and Wisdom that guides and directs us in the search of what we truly are. We put our hands together in gratitude and thankfulness and the joining of the hands is bringing Compassion and Wisdom together as One.

It is the New Year and we are given time to deepen our hearing and awaken ourselves to the Compassion and Wisdom of the Buddha. It is our responsibility to open our eyes and ears to the teachings and to look within and choose. May the New Year bring you peace and the heart of the

Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano

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