December Newsletter 2023
December 3 Sunday 10:00 Sunday Service
December 3 Sunday 11:00 Board Meeting
December 9 Saturday 9:00 Omigaki (Altar ornament cleaning)
December 10 Sunday 9:30 Social Sunday
December 16 Saturday 1:00 Dungeons & Dragons
December 17 Sunday 10:00 Shotsuki
December 17 Sunday 11:00 Otoki
December 24 Sunday 9:30 Social Sunday
December 31 Sunday 9:30 Social Sunday
January 1 Monday 9:30 New Year Service (Short Service to welcome the New Year)
Message to Sangha
December is a busy time, school, work, end of the year activities and holiday plans. As we prepare
for the next year, I would like you, especially our newer members, to consider opportunities to
participate in the operation of the church board, not to mention producing the monthly newsletter as well as interfacing with Central Coast and BCA bodies. If you have questions regarding how you may participate please contact myself or any of the board members.
We have several activities scheduled this month in addition to our normal services. On the 9th is a
cleaning activity to clean out the past and prepare for a clean fresh start in the new year.
The 16th is the next adventure for the Dungeons and Dragons role playing game. The game is where
the players have adopted a character with strengths and powers and do battle against the forces of
evil while on a noble quest. New players and observers are welcome.
We have 3 opportunities for Social Sundays in December. Social Sundays are times when members
get together to play games, talk, listen to music or even watch a football game, whatever makes us
happy. We have a variety of games and puzzles that have been donated, and usually food is
SOCIAL SUNDAYS – We started Social Sundays so the Sangha can gather and enjoy each other on Sundays we do not have Church Services. Starts at 9:30 and continues to around 11:30, we are not punching a clock. We can watch a football game, it may not be your game of choice, or watch a movie, or play some games or cards or just sit back and drink some coffee and talk with your neighbors. The purpose is simply to enjoy life and your friends. Everyone does not have to do the same things, we have sufficient space to host a variety of activities. Let me know if there is anything you would particularly like to do at the Social Sundays.
Each of us, in outward bearing,
Makes a show of being wise, good and dedicated;
But so great are our greed, anger, perversity, and deceit,
That we are filled with all forms of malice and cunning.
~Shinran Shonin, Hymns of Lament, Verse 95
The holiday season supposedly brings out the best in all of us. We tend to be kinder,
more compassionate and our spirits are high. We anticipate the arrival of the little jolly
person wearing the red suit, with the “pot belly”, sporting a white beard and a twinkle in
the eye. Yes, I still believe in Santa Claus, just in case there is one.
I know the holiday is just around the corner when I see Santa Claus at the end of the
parade. Each year, Santa looks different, and I have seen many of them. Yet this
season can also bring out the “Godzilla” in us. When there is a bargain or good sale,
beware. The people we know who are normally so kind and sweet, show their other
side. There is pushing, shoving, elbows poking into the ribs and sometimes being
stepped on. At times there may be harsh words spoken, but always followed by a
I have been pushed aside by people who use both elbows or stepped on, just so I
would move. When I turned around to say something to that person, I realized I knew
that person. They also knew me and with a smile would say. “Oh Sensei, excuse me”.
Sometimes they would be very formal and say “okagesamade” then watch out,
because it was full steam ahead, without hesitation or regret.
Amazingly, some of these people would change from pure sweetness to sumo
wrestlers. It is an eye-opener to see how the power of sales or bargains can change so
many people. They would only start to talk with me when they had the item(s) in their
Yet the usage of the word, “okagesamade”, which roughly translates as “because of
you” or “thanks to you” makes the situation less harmful. It is an expression of gratitude
or appreciation towards someone who has helped or supported them. It also means,
“whatever I am today, it is because of you”, but of course in a positive way.
Before the “wrestling match”, they try to be kind and gentle and protect those weaker
than ourselves. They continue to do good deeds by getting the sale item(s) for others
as well. It is not always just for themselves, for their intentions can be beneficial to
friends and neighbors.
For humans, a bargain or sale is a big deal. At times like these, we tend to forget the
teachings. Afterwards, it is back to being kind, gentle, and thoughtful. We share our
Nembutsu/Namu Amida Butsu in thankfulness for the constant compassion and
wisdom of Buddha, we are grateful for the teachings, guidance and direction. But most
of all, we come to appreciate that it is merely a short period of time when they go back
to their “old self”.
Who does not like a bargain or sale? It is our blind passions of greed, anger and
ignorance that can turn the “sweet, gentle and kind person” into an “All-Star Wrestler”.
It is our Nembutsu that will remind us to “watch the elbows” and not “step on others”,
just for a bargain. It is Namu Amida Butsu, while we dive into the crowd.
Happy Holiday, be safe and always Namu Amida Butsu.