Placer Buddhist Church

3192 Boyington RoadPenryn, CA. 95663(916) 652-6139
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Hatsubon Service

PBC is scheduling a Hatsubon service on Saturday, August 7th at 11:00 AM for families that have lost family members in 2020 and 2021. This service will be limited to family members ONLY. Other members of the Sangha can join virtually through a link that will be sent to you at a later date

A Dharma Message by Rev. Matthew Hamasaki

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!

I’m not 100% sure why, but ever since I remember I was able to, I have enjoyed grilling. Maybe it’s because I like fire or maybe it’s because it’s in my blood but, either way, I enjoy cooking food outside over a hot grill. Even back in college in the Japanese American Student Society, we had a “Welcome BBQ” where we would introduce ourselves to potential new members. I volunteered to cook the burgers and, while others were mingling, I was happy to be making food for everyone. And don’t get me wrong, while I enjoy cooking, I also enjoy eating barbeque, especially when it is infused with a delicious smoky flavor!

These days, smoking as a cooking process does little more than impart flavor, whereas long ago it was used as part of a preservation process. Smoke has both antimicrobial and antioxidant properties which help keep out unwanted bacteria, as well as stop the fat in meats from going rancid, especially in oily fish (who doesn’t like some smoked salmon!). It isn’t possible to preserve meats with smoke alone though, it usually is salted or dried also to help them last longer.

Although no one can be sure about the exact way smoking as a process was discovered, it’s thought that it was by accident when someone had the food that they were preserving too close to a fire and realized later that it made the food tastier, and longer lasting. It’s a fun exercise of the imagination to think about the first time that happened and how exciting it must have been to find a new way to make food yummy! Then thinking about how it was perfected over generations, and currently how our advancement in food science has made it more of a culinary tool rather than one of necessity.

Our practice of Buddhism should be, in a way, very similar. It’s important for us to learn and study the teachings. However, it cannot stop there, and we must apply it to our lives. When we try out different things that we’ve picked up, we will have a similar experience as the person who discovered smoking food and have a bit of an “aha!” moment. From there, we will continue to try to use what we found to improve our life and perfect it. Ideally, we will perfect it to the point that we would not even need to think about that lesson anymore, it has become a part of who we are. We will still use it, but unconsciously, bringing it to mind only when we want, no longer when we need it. Thus, I hope everyone continues to try to apply the teachings in their everyday life so that your life eventually becomes effortlessly more meaningful just as over the years the teriyaki chicken at your temple has become perfectly delicious.

In Gassho,

Rev. Matt

The Placer Buddhist Church is located at 3192 Boyington Road in Penryn California, County of Placer. It is located at the scenic base of the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains just off Interstate 80. It is approximately half way between San Francisco and Reno, Nevada.

The Church was founded in 1902 in the small foothills town of Penryn. The original church was near the center of town approximately 3 miles from its current location. The church moved to its current location in approximately 1963. The church is well known in the community for the annual food bazaar which is always held on the 4th weekend of September. The annual food bazaar started in 1964, just after the church moved to the new location.

The church supports many organizations such as the Placer Buddhist Women’s Association (PBWA), Young Buddhist Association (YBA), Sierra Bonsai Club, Dharma School, and Placer Ume Taiko Groups. The church also holds various classes during the week including calligraphy, flower arranging, Tai Chi, Obon dancing and exercise classes. See the church calendar for class times.

Placer Buddhist Church