Placer Buddhist Church

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

A Dharma Message by Rev. Matthew Hamasaki

April 2021

Recently I had a craving for Japanese snacks and was able to obtain some. While enjoying them, I was reminded of something that happened to me while I was in Japan. While there, I had the opportunity to visit a Japanese high school with my fellow international classmates. Part of our curriculum was learning about Japanese culture, including the country’s educational system for its children. When we arrived at the school, everyone was very courteous. After group introductions, we broke up into smaller groups – each having a pair of Japanese students and a pair of international students. In line with Japanese culture, they had brought snacks for us to enjoy together.

It wasn’t simply a big bag of chips, but each group had a variety of snacks, both sweet and savory, along with drinks that we could choose. This was a unique opportunity to try different kinds of snacks that were popular with the youth in Japan. My mind (and really my stomach) started to formulate how I would be able to taste all the delectable treats so I offered to share my bag of crackers in hopes the favor would be returned. Of course, as polite as everyone was, there was no issue in sharing our different snacks and I was elated. However, the mood changed as I tried some of my partner’s drink.

There was a gasp, and I heard a whisper from across the table say “間接キス!” translated as “indirect kiss!” When I asked what this meant, it was explained to me that when you put your lips on something and then another person puts their lips on the same thing, it is as though you kiss indirectly. I thought it was silly at the time, something that perhaps only high school students worry about, but I decided to investigate the concept online. As it turned out, there was a wealth of information on the subject, much more than I would have expected. Much of it described the different kinds of indirect kisses (like between a bottle or a spoon of ice cream) and their implied meanings (depending on the level of mouth involved).

But there was an article that got much more philosophical than I could have imagined. It began discussing the reactions that people have to an indirect kiss and stated that you can determine how accustomed you are to interacting with that person, and you can see into the room of that person’s mind. I literally had to stop and re-read what I had just read. If I am correctly understanding this article, by examining the way we react to indirect kisses, we can get a glimpse into who we are as people. I had been so dismissive of the high school students simply being childish, but what more could I have learned if I actually considered what that reaction meant to who they were as a whole person? And what did how I reacted to their reaction say to them? It was a learning moment for me in the spirit of self-reflection that we so often teach in Jodo Shinshu. That to be compassionate and aware, we can’t simply brush off things that we think we may be better than, whether we are too mature or some other gauge we compare ourselves to other people by. When people react to us, it is an opportunity to get some insight into who they are and to learn what that means for both of you.

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.