Do you have a Butsudan at home? Or do you know of a Butsudan that is no longer being used as a Butsudan?
New members to our temple often ask about where they could purchase a new Butsudan for their home. Often choices are limited, but sometimes the Betsuin is asked if there are some for sale. The Betsuin does not sell Obutsudans. The religious department recently took up the subject of looking at the state of affairs for home Butsudans. Most Issei members of the Betsuin had Obutsudans in their own home as a center of the home religious activities. However as Issei have passed on, it appears the tradition of home Butsudans have not been passed on to Nisei and much less so to Sansei. As such, some of us have seen old custodians, once a center of the home of the Issei, now relegated to a dark dusty corner of the storage room. Worse yet, we have seen some Butsudans show up at the annual rummage sale.
The Religious Department passed a motion to start the Butsudan Project. The purpose is three–fold: 1) Educate our members on the subject of home Butsudans, 2) Locate those which are no longer being used as a center of home religious life, and 3) Collect and recycle those Butsudans to those members who will put them to use as a center of Jodo-Shinshu life.
Do you have or do you know of a Butsudan at home or at your relative’s home or in storage that is no longer being used as a Butsudan? The one and only purpose of a Butsudan is to serve as the center of home Jodo-Shinshu life, and to house the intent of the Amida Buddha. As such, it is to be treated with utmost respect and honor, not something to store away with your X-mas tree ornaments or as an object’ de arte. If you know of a Butsudan that is no longer being used as a “Butsudan” and is available for donation to the Betsuin, please contact us with information regarding how we can recycle it for greater use.
Since the introduction of the project, we have received a number of inquiries from Betsuin members and friends on how the unused Butsudans can be donated to the Temple. Some may feel that the fact that they are donating their deceased parent’s Butsudan may somehow bring shame to the family. Nothing could be farther from the truth.<p>
The purpose of the Butsudan project is to rescue unused Butsudans and adopt them to families needing a Butsudan for their home. Some of the donated Butsudans may be dusty and may require work. That is perfectly fine! Restoring a Butsudan is indeed another way to express our “dana” or selfless giving. So please, there is NO SHAME in donating an unused Butsudan. The alternatives are sometimes frightful (donating to Value Village or worse yet, the county dump). Please help us help others. Butsudan donations may be made anonymously. Please contact us and we will make private arrangements. No names will be used. Drop offs can be arranged.
This is a terrific idea. Do you know of any similar projects that are currently underway?