Placer Buddhist Church

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

office@placerbuddhistchurch.org

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A Dharma Message by Rev. Candice Shibata


“The One Vehicle is called Buddha-nature. For this reason, I teach that all sentient beings have Buddha-nature. All sentient beings, without exceptions, possess the One Vehicle. Because it is covered over by their ignorance, they are unable to see it.” 1

With an upcoming oil change appointment on my calendar, I began to have some worries about the condition of my car and the possible cost of this service. This reminded me of an article I previously wrote (below), which first appeared in the March 2017 issue of the Berkeley Buddhist Temple’s newsletter called Padma.


A few weeks ago, I took my van to the Honda dealership for what I thought was going to be a routine oil change. Not knowing much about cars, I always have an uneasy feeling when taking my vehicle in for a service. I often wonder, “Does that really need to be fixed or are they trying to convince me to spend more money?” Because of this uneasy feeling that I usually have, I was worried about how much this visit was going to cost.

Upon my arrival at the dealership, a service representative quickly greeted me. We walked to his station and I told him that I needed an oil change. He inquired if I needed any additional work done and suggested that I also get my tires rotated. I declined this service and asked for a ride home so I could work while I waited.

Luckily, my van was ready earlier than expected and I was kindly greeted by my service representative. Unfortunately, he reported that my van needed approximately $6,000 in work and since it was a 2002 model, this was the time to consider putting more work into it or start thinking about getting a new car.

I eventually said a sad good-bye to my van and am now driving a pre-owned, but very reliable car. This made me think about cars in general. Although I do not know much about cars, I am fascinated by how they operate. With a push of a pedal, we can accelerate or stop. Temperatures can be set to our preference and we can listen to music with ease. Cars are so sophisticated now that they can alert us to when we are out of our lanes or assist us with parallel parking. We rely on our cars so much without truly understanding it.

As Jodo Shinshu Buddhists, we all have one vehicle that we all rely upon as well. This One Vehicle is the Primal Vow of the Buddha. This Vow can be explained as Buddha’s promise to not attain enlightenment unless all sentient beings are born in the Pure Land and also experience a great awakening. To achieve this, the Buddha has selected the Nembutsu as our path to enlightenment. Shinran Shonin also believed that “the Nembutsu of the Primal Vow is the ultimate teaching.”2

Because of the Buddha’s wish for us, we all possess Buddha-nature and can be born into the Pure Land. The key to this wish, or One Vehicle, is the recitation of the Nembutsu that comes from our sincere hearts and minds. When we recite Namu Amida Butsu, we are answering the call of Amida Buddha to us and in doing so, we entrust ourselves to the Buddha’s teachings.

From a similar perspective, we entrust our lives to our vehicles as well. Everyday, our vehicles (even without truly understanding how they work), protect us and get us to our final destination; And for that, we must always be grateful.

In Gassho,

Rev. Candice Shibata



1 From The True Teaching, Practice, and Realization II, CWS, 61.

2 Alfred Bloom, http://bschawaii.org/shindharmanet/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2015/02/Bloom-Ultimacy.pdf, Accessed 2/20/17.


The Placer Buddhist Church is located at 3192 Boyington Road in Penryn California, County of Placer. It sits at the 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 Group. The church also holds various classes during the week including calligraphy, flower arranging, Tai Chi and exercise classes. See the church calendar for class times.