Minister's Blog

Minister's Blog

Fall O-Higan: Finding a Balance in Life
Reverend Matt Hamasaki, Resident Minister

September 2022

This month, we will be observing Fall O-Higan which happens during the fall equinox, when the day and night are the same amounts of time. This balance is a signal to us to reevaluate the balance in our lives and reflect on our recommitment to the Buddhist teachings. Higan is translated as “other shore,” meaning that we are on the ocean of life and death, coming from the shore of ignorance and heading toward the other shore of nirvana.

Minister's Blog

In Solidarity with Ukraine
Reverend Matt Hamasaki, Resident Minister

August 2022

This month, the Sacramento Betsuin is putting on a fundraiser for humanitarian efforts to help the people of Ukraine. It will be on Saturday, August 13, at 2 p.m. called “Songs in Solidarity with Ukraine” and features performances of songs.

The event is free, but donations are welcome to go to the cause. The reason for this event is, of course, the ongoing conflict with Russia. The Buddhist Churches of America Ministers Association has put out a statement on the conflict as follows:

Minister's Blog

Are You Doing Enough?
Reverend Matt Hamasaki, Resident Minister

July 2022

On Memorial Day we paid tribute to all the U.S. military personnel who have given the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the United States armed forces.

As Jodo Shinshu Buddhists, we recognize that we are the beneficiaries of infinite sacrifices and as Americans, the product of the lives given by our nation’s military. With this recognition, we pay forward our gratitude in part through our gatherings and our rituals, but more concretely and meaningfully through our actions and how we live our lives.

Minister's Blog

Shinran Shonin’s 20-Year Lesson
Reverend Matt Hamasaki, Resident Minister

May 2022

This month will be Gotan-E, the day commemorating the birth of the founder of Jodo Shinshu, Shinran Shonin.

He was born Matsuwaka-maro on May 21, 1173, near Kyoto, Japan. He lost his parents at a young age and was put in the care of his uncle who, upon seeing his potential, brought him at age 9 to Shoren-in Temple to become a monk.

Minister's Blog

Ransetsu and the Plum Blossom
Reverend Matt Hamasaki, Resident Minister

April 2022

It’s April and hopefully by the time you are reading this, we are in spring and well into the warm weather!

As I’m writing this, the weather outside is dreary but not quite cold, indicative of the strangely back-and-forth days we’ve been having where one day the high will be in the 50’s and freezing, and the next week the high is in the mid-70’s and shorts weather.

Minister's Blog

Teriyaki Chicken and Buddhism
Reverend Matt Hamasaki, Resident Minister

August 2021

It is now August, which means that bazaar season is upon us.

Unfortunately, this year we are still in the pandemic and so it will not be like the bazaars that we’re used to, when everyone would come together to chat, work and eat with one another. However, we are still able to capture a little bit of spirit with one of the key pieces of bazaar: teriyaki chicken!

Minister's Blog

“A Lesson from Okei-san”
Reverend Matt Hamasaki, Resident Minister

July 2021

In 2019, I had the opportunity to participate in the 150th anniversary of the creation of the Wakamatsu colony, the first settlement of Japanese people in America, about 45 miles from Sacramento. Although the knowledge of this historic site is increasing, many people (myself included) were not aware of the existence of this group of people until recently.

Minister's Blog

“Understanding How We Interact With the World”
Reverend Matt Hamasaki, Resident Minister

June 2021

One of the interesting things that I learned in my high school physics class that I still remember today for some reason, is that in physics, there is no such thing as “cold.”

What we understand as “heat” is the kinetic energy being given off by any particular thing. Things that we think are “cold” have much less kinetic energy and therefore lack “heat.” An example of this would be if you put ice cubes in a warm drink, the “cold” in the ice doesn’t transfer, making the drink cold; rather the “heat” in the drink transfers to the ice cubes to warm them up.

Minister's Blog

Listening to Show True Compassion
Reverend Matt Hamasaki, Resident Minister

I was fortunate enough to be invited to be the keynote speaker for the Northwest Convention put on by the Northwest District in the Buddhist Churches of America chaired by the White River Temple. It was at the Doubletree in Tukwila, which is right by the Seattle-Tacoma airport. I have many friends in the Pacific Northwest and was able to see them along with my convention duties.