using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : September 2018
The Buddhism practiced by the BCA is called Jodo Shinshu, popularly known in the West as Shin Buddhism. It was founded by Japanese monk Shinran Shonin in the thirteenth century and is a school of Pure Land Buddhism. “Very briefly, it’s the path for the ordinary beings,” says Rev. Ronald Kobata, resident minister at the Buddhist Church of San Francisco. “It is to be awakened to one’s foolish, ignorant self by virtue of taking refuge. We chant Namu Amida Butsu as an expres- sion of gratitude. There’s a poem that captures this appreciation: The Pure I, which is not I, being in me, reveals to me, my defiled I. This could be interpreted as the Buddha’s deepest wish of metta, loving-kindness, for all beings to be happy and at peace.” When she was a child, Akiko Rogers’ family life revolved around the BCA. She attended dharma school, worship services, and marked life events through the lens of Shin Buddhism. Generation by generation, her family story is the story of the BCA, and of the Japanese experience in America. Akiko’s Great-Grandparents: Immigrants to a Hostile Land “Both sets of my great-grandparents, who came to the U.S. about 1919, found many aspects of being in the U.S. really difficult,” says Rogers. Her great-grandfathers were set up with fishing and farming jobs by friends, which required minimal English. Japanese men working on the West Coast and Hawaii found themselves pressured to become Christian. In 1899, Buddhist priests sent from Japan founded an organization to help the Japanese immigrants preserve their culture and religion. After going through various iterations and titles, it eventually became known as the Buddhist Churches of America. Many of the first Shin temples were built in segregated rural areas. “They actually had racial designations for where people could live, like the Exposition Park area of Los Angeles, which was for Japanese,” says Rogers. When they went outside a Japa- nese area, the racism was palpable. “Basically, they were all told to keep your head down and do your work. If you have to go out, go out with several others, and don’t go out by yourself.” “By the 1920s,” writes scholar and BCA member Scott Mitchell in Buddhism in America, “ongoing debates both within the Japanese community and the wider culture regarding the assimilation of immigrants led to direct attacks against Bud- dhist Japanese schools. Editorials in local newspapers regarded the schools as thoroughly un-American, anti-Christian, and promoting worship not only of the Buddha but the Emperor of Japan.” Japanese immigration was legally banned by the Immi- gration Act of 1924. The BCA became a refuge to help people navigate racism and social stigmas, and grounded them in a sense of their own culture and faith. “Shin Buddhism played a major role for that generation to have a spiritual means to endure all the various challenges they had to deal with,” says Rev. Kobata. BCA priests con- ducted funeral and worship services in Japanese and taught Bud- dhism and traditional Japanese culture. Japanese language and English language schools were common at many temples. Orga- nizations such as the Young Buddhist Association and Buddhist Women’s Association created sangha and ethnic solidarity, while participation in groups such as the Boy Scouts demonstrated the ways in which BCA members were becoming more American. Mitchell says many Japanese immigrants came to America with a plan to make money and then go back home. “But once you get settled and start raising a family, things change. Then PHOTO(BELOWL)U.OFWASHINGTONLIBRARIESSPECIALCOLLECTION,#UW523 Japanese immigrants working in the U.S . as laborers faced language barriers, racism, and pressure to convert to Christianity. They requested Buddhist priests to be sent from Japan to establish Shin Buddhism in America. PHOTO(OPPOSITER)COURTESYOFMANZANARNATIONALHISTORICSITEANDTHESHINJONAGATOMICOLLECTION.(L)NATIONALARCHIVESCATALOG LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2018 44