Attending First Nishi Hongwanji Service: What to expect?

Attending First Nishi Hongwanji Service: What to expect?

Postby kendali » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:56 pm

Gassho,

I've never been to a service at this temple. I was in the area last week (Little Tokyo, Los Angeles) and peeked in. Did I see pews? I have juzu beads and know how to gassho. Does one approach the altar and "offer" incense like, dare i say ... communion in a church? That is, folks line-up down the aisle and approach the altar organized one at a time to "offer" incense? I think I saw an organ but I'm not sure, so I can possibly expect some singing with chanting?

I like to know what to expect in advance; it helps ease my anxiety.

Thank you,
kendali

p.s. I am familiar with Pure Land teachings so there's no need for an explanation or debate (as I see one going on already).
p.p.s. I won't be going this week due to Obon.
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Re: Attending First Nishi Hongwanji Service: What to expect?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:45 pm

kendali wrote:Gassho,

I've never been to a service at this temple. I was in the area last week (Little Tokyo, Los Angeles) and peeked in. Did I see pews? I have juzu beads and know how to gassho. Does one approach the altar and "offer" incense like, dare i say ... communion in a church? That is, folks line-up down the aisle and approach the altar organized one at a time to "offer" incense? I think I saw an organ but I'm not sure, so I can possibly expect some singing with chanting?

I like to know what to expect in advance; it helps ease my anxiety.

Thank you,
kendali

p.s. I am familiar with Pure Land teachings so there's no need for an explanation or debate (as I see one going on already).
p.p.s. I won't be going this week due to Obon.



Japanese Buddhism in North America after WWII in particular felt the need to integrate into mainstream society, so they adopted church pews and service models based on contemporary Christian ones. They didn't want to alienate themselves even further from the mainstream public by having temples with tatami mats and cushions.
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Re: Attending First Nishi Hongwanji Service: What to expect?

Postby kendali » Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:00 pm

Japanese Buddhism in North America after WWII in particular felt the need to integrate into mainstream society, so they adopted church pews and service models based on contemporary Christian ones. They didn't want to alienate themselves even further from the mainstream public by having temples with tatami mats and cushions.

After the internments and strong bigotry I can sympathize with the feelings that drove them to this decision. I'm a Reform Jew. When early Jews came to America (mid to late 19th c.) some wanted to be "American." These Reform Jews ditched kashrut (kosher "laws") amongst many other practices that made them "unusual" to popular American culture. After the Holocaust some Jews abandoned their religion altogether. To this day Reform temple services are still very Protestant Christian in appearance and order.

So, back on topic. Was I correct in what to expect?
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Re: Attending First Nishi Hongwanji Service: What to expect?

Postby rory » Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:31 am

Hi Kendali;
heh, I'm reform too. And not to worry, Jodo Shinshu churches are uber friendly and helpful. As said, expect pews, a service book, in the Shinshu Church I attended in 1998 in NYC we'd line up to offer incense, usually make a cash offering as well (totally optional) I was worried too about etiquette, but I just looked at the people ahead of me & saw when to bow etc & then all these nice people told me what to do. So don't sweat it. I loved it, they made newcomers really welcome.
The same with Jodo Shu (my group), they're in LA as well & feel free to pop in, Rev. Tanaka is really big on outreach.
gassho
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Re: Attending First Nishi Hongwanji Service: What to expect?

Postby kendali » Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:39 pm

Thanks, Rory (great Irish name, by the way). You said your Jodo Shu temple is in LA. Is that the one on 3rd Street downtown? I'm just curious - no need to answer if you feel uncomfortable.

~kendali
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Re: Attending First Nishi Hongwanji Service: What to expect?

Postby rory » Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:55 pm

Kendali;
lol thanks but rory was a screen name I used when I was living in Ireland, as I was the only Courtney there:)
funny I was just about to log off. Yes, that's the one, Jodo Shu on 3rd street, they've a facebook site, where you can ask the minister etc..No I'm not the least bit shy, so feel free to ask me any ques you have.
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Re: Attending First Nishi Hongwanji Service: What to expect?

Postby kendali » Sun Jul 10, 2011 6:07 pm

rory wrote:Yes, that's the one, Jodo Shu on 3rd street, they've a facebook site, where you can ask the minister etc..No I'm not the least bit shy, so feel free to ask me any ques you have.

Thanks! A quick question: in your own words from your own eperience what is/are the difference(s) between Jodoshu and Jodoshinshu?

~kendali
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Re: Attending First Nishi Hongwanji Service: What to expect?

Postby rory » Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:55 pm

Okay from my experience:

Shinshu: no real Pure Land,, this world is the Pure Land, Amida is a metaphor for total compassion. No praying to other deities or other practices. Amida already accomplished his vow so there is no need to pray for anything or others, shows a lack of faith. Chanting Nembutsu purely out of gratitude so Shinjin is achieved.

Jodo: real Pure Land , chant lots of Nenbutsu so Amida & Kannon & Daiseishi will come to you on your deathbed. Amida is real & you can pray to him ,Kannon, Jizo , etc & other deities for this worldly help You can chant & transfer merit to help others.. Other practices are fine if they support your main Nenbutsu practice.

Here is the LA Nishi Hongwanji page with explanations & etiquette!
http://www.nishihongwanji-la.org/church ... inshu.html

And here is the Jodo Shu LA temple website: http://jodo.dehartbrothers.com/ with service & when to bow.

I'd say go to both & see which feels right for you. If you like PM me & I can tell my friend Lisa at JshuNA to say hi to you. Sorry I don't know anyone at Nishi Hongwanji, but if you go to Japan I do:)
gassho
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Bother, forgot to mention, I live on the East Coast, otherwise I'd be happy to go with you
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