Placer Buddhist Church

3192 Boyington RoadPenryn, CA. 95663(916) 652-6139
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A Dharma Message by Rev. Candice Shibata

“Having entrusted ourselves to the teaching of Namo Amida Butsu, we experience the joy of having received the assurance of buddhahood. From constant gratitude that arises within, we shall strive to live in service to the community and humanity.”[1]

It is hard to imagine that we are nearing the end of the year and this will be the last issue of our newsletter for 2019. I cannot thank the members of the Buddhist Church of Florin and the Placer Buddhist Church enough for your kindness and support during this past year. My experiences and relationships with you have truly touched me and I will carry these valuable encounters close to my heart as they continue to guide and inspire my ministry and my life.

Much has happened over the course of this year (personally and professionally), which has been filled with happiness, joyous celebrations, finally being able to see Jay on a regular basis after being in a long distance relationship for a year and a half, time well spent with my family in Stockton, and other cheerful occasions. However, of course in life we also face challenges, which for me included some eye-opening health concerns to prompt my acknowledgement for better self-care, working out the quirks of actually cohabitating with a partner for the first time, and sadly, the loss of a Shibata family member and many temple members.

As a minister, losing a temple member is never easy. For myself, I believe that it becomes more difficult with each passing year in my ministry because of the relationships that I am able to build with the members I meet. Over time and at each temple that I serve at, I have been fortunate to establish another temple family, unique and special in their own way, and losing one of those temple family members is never easy.

When I was assigned at the Buddhist Church of Florin, Mr. Ron Okimura and Mr. Lon Tsukamoto were the co-presidents in 2018. I still remember our first meeting as we ate lunch together at the nearby local winery, Frasinetti’s. Although I think this was kind of an interview before I was officially assigned in Florin, meeting with Ron and Lon and enjoying lunch with them was as comfortable as hanging out with a couple of dads from my home temple. I think this is attributed to their kind, fun and welcoming nature. From there, my relationship with Ron and Lon began and has been great ever since.

During the course of this year, the members of the Buddhist Church of Florin were deeply concerned to hear of Ron’s diagnosis of cancer. His positive attitude and strength during his treatments were inspiring and like countless others, I kept him and his family in my constant thoughts. I was truly grateful to Ron and his family for the opportunity to visit with him during this time. Sadly, Ron passed away just a few days ago of writing this article.

Ron’s life and character, valiant battle, and his passing have impacted me in such a way that is hard to describe (or write) without getting teary eyed. I will always be indebted to him for the valuable lesson he has given me, which will remain with me forever.

I have been awakened to the reality of all life because of Ron. Although I must acknowledge that I am still an unenlightened foolish being and experience the attachment and grasping of my worldly life, I have been awakened to recognize that all living beings (including myself) will encounter aging, sickness and death. However, as noted in “The Essentials of Jōdo Shinshū,” we can entrust ourselves to the Buddha’s teachings that can help to alleviate our worries and sorrows of facing these realities of life. With our sincere hearts and minds, we recite the Nembutsu as Namo Amida Butsu to express our deep gratitude that will allow us to attain Buddhahood like Ron, as we too, make our journey to Buddha’s Pure Land.

Because of my encounter with Ron and the deep gratitude that has arisen in me because of the Nembutsu life that he led, I will strive to do everything that I can for my temples and temple families like Ron did to share the Buddha-Dharma. As a truly enlightened Buddha, Ron will continue to guide each of us in our daily lives. When we finally meet again I’ll be able to say to him as he said to me, “It’s good to see you.”

With Gratitude in Gassho,

Rev. Candice Shibata

[1] “Kyōsho: The Essentials of Jōdo Shinshū,” in Shin Buddhist Service Book, ed. Department of Buddhist Education (San Francisco: Buddhist Churches of America, 1994) 2.

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.