The Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) is an incorporated religious organization of American Shin Buddhist affiliated with the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha Hongwanji denomination within the Continental United States.
The BCA is governed by Americans of the Shin Buddhist faith through a Board of Directors comprised of the Bishop, the Board President, the Ministerial Association Chairperson, district-elected Board members, Board members-at-large and representatives from the recognized BCA-affiliated organization.
The American Shin Buddhists within the State of Hawaii have a separate jurisdiction and administration because of the historical separation at the time of its founding since the Kingdom of Hawaii was not a part of the United States. The Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha denomination is organized as the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii , headquartered at 1727 Pali Highway, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813.
The Buddhist Churches of America national headquarters serves as a regional center of the World Fellowship of Buddhists and is a supporting member of the World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP).
Welcome, and thank you for visiting our website. It is not by accident that you are reading this message. It is, in fact, due to your past karmic conditions.
Nothing happens without a cause or causes and conditions. You may be here because of family influences, a school assignment, or casual Internet surfing. Regardless of the reason, your visit is appreciated and it may even change your life.
I invite you, if possible, to visit a temple or church close to where you live and feel the warmth of the Buddhist Congregation called the sangha.
Let us find the true meaning of our lives through learning the Dharma taught by the Buddha and successive teachers. I assure you; their words of wisdom will inspire you and give a new dimension to your life.
Once again, thank you very much for your visit.
Yours Truly in the Dharma,
Reverend Kodo Umezu, Bishop
Buddhist Churches of America
BCA President’s Message | September 2015 Message
In April, 2015, I attended the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada (JSBTC) Annual General Meeting in Richmond, British Columbia. Just as the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) invites representatives from the JSBTC and Hawaii Kyodan (Hongwanji Overseas District) to the BCA National Council every year, I was invited to this annual meeting.
The JSBTC meeting was held at the Steveston Buddhist Temple. The hondo of the temple has supporting beams that look like they could be part of an upside-down ship. The design acknowledges the fact that the early pioneers of the temple were fishermen.
Similar to BCA, issues of membership dues, numbers and the national staffing budget were key areas of discussion. Notably, JSBTC delegates voted to have a full-time bishop, following many years of this being a part-time position. Currently, Rev. Tatsuya Aoki spends half his time as the resident minister of Vancouver Buddhist Temple and the other half as Bishop.
In May, 2015, I had the opportunity to visit Canada again for the 15th World Buddhist Women’s Convention which was held in Calgary. Attended by almost 2,000 BWA members, supporters and others from throughout the world, this was a very successful and memorable event. During this time, Rev. Kodo Umezu, Bishop of the BCA, and I took advantage of the opportunity to meet with Greg Chor, president of JSBTC; Pieper Toyama, president, Hompa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii; and Rev. Gikyo Kajiwara, Bishop of Communidade Budista SulAmericana Jodo Shinshu Honpa Hongwanji (Brazil kyodan). Bishop Umezu shared his idea of opening a branch office of the International Department of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha in San Francisco.
This office would facilitate communication between all the overseas kyodans, including groups in Europe, and the International Department. More materials could be translated into English and into other languages. We could help realize the Monshu’s vision of spreading the Dharma around the world. We could improve the continuing education programs for kaikyoshi ministers for all the districts. Everyone was excited about these possibilities.
I would like to thank Bishop Aoki, Greg and Gina Chor, and the board of directors and ministers of the JSBTC for the wonderful hospitality extended to me during these recent visits to Canada.
Focusing back home on the BCA, I would like to express my appreciation to members of the Joint Development Committee of the BCA Endowment Foundation (BCAEF), led by co-chairs Steve Terusaki, Char Grinolds and Rev. Jerry Hirano and honorary advisor, Bishop Umezu. As you will see from articles in this issue of the Wheel of Dharma, the new Annual Dana Program will begin this fall.
Please look for details in the coming month and join me in making the Annual Dana Program a vital opportunity for sustaining, developing and sharing the Nembutsu teachings – today, tomorrow and into the future.
Kent Matsuda, President
Buddhist Churches of America