Placer Buddhist Church

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

Preorder deadline for the Hanamatsuri Box Lunch

Is Friday March 31, 2023 

A Dharma Message by Rev. Matthew Hamasaki

April 2023

In April, we celebrate Hanamatsuri, which in Japanese literally means, “flower festival.” This is taken from the legend of the historical Buddha’s birth when his mother, Queen Maya, stopped in Lumbini’s garden on the way back to her hometown to give birth. It is said that all the flowers bloomed, and it rained sweet tea from the sky. Thus, we decorate the Hanamido, or small altar, with the statue of the baby Buddha, with flowers and pour sweet tea over the statue.


Within all the rituals of Buddhism, there are multiple meanings. Some have roots in practical uses, and some have symbolic reasoning attributed to them. Depending on the sect or even just the minister you are talking to, you may get several different interpretations of any given ritual. Pouring the tea over the baby Buddha’s head is one of them. One such interpretation is that “it is easy to wash away physical dirt, but much more difficult to cleanse one’s inner impurity of greed, anger, and ignorance.” You may recognize these three as the Three Poisons.


It’s so simple for us to wash our hands, and we have gotten a lot of practice during the pandemic. Of course, we should continue to wash our hands regularly for our safety and for the safety of those around us. How do we wash our spirit though? One tradition during Hanamatsuri is to pour the sweet tea over the Buddha three times. While doing this, being very mindful of what you are doing and concentrating each time on one wish for yourself and the world -- 1st time: May I eliminate all evil thoughts; 2nd time: May I cultivate good deeds; 3rd time: May I help save all living beings.


Of course, as Jodo Shinshu Buddhists, we recognize that these aspirations are ideals which are impossible to achieve. However, but cultivating this mind we are blazing a trail that our actions may follow. With these wishes, the next time we are given a choice, it will be easier to choose the right path: think pure thoughts or bad thoughts, do kind deeds or selfish deeds, help others or harm others. And with practice, it will become second nature just like washing our hands!  


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.