Placer Buddhist Church

3192 Boyington Road                                                        P.O.Box 349             <-- New Mailing AddressPenryn, CA. 95663(916) 652-6139

A Dharma Message by Rev. Yuki Sugahara

March 2024

Harmony is the Most Virtuous Thing

“Harmony should be valued and quarrels should be avoided.”

- The Seventeen Article Constitution established by Prince Shōtoku


Before my assignment to the Sacramento Betsuin and Placer Buddhist Church, I served the Oregon Buddhist Temple in Portland for six years. When I first went to OBT, I was surprised and amazed to have two cabinets along the walls of our Onaijin/altar area. It does not mean it is inappropriate to have cabinets in the Onaijin, but it was rare to see. These cabinets contain Taishō Tripitaka. It was revised and compiled in Taishō era (early 1900’s) with the efforts of Buddhist scholars such as Junjiro Takakusu, the founder of Musashino University, so that it is called Taishō Tripitaka. “Tri” means three and “pitaka” is basket in Sanskrit. Sūtra (the teaching of Buddha), Tripitaka consists of Vināya (rules, regulation of monks, nuns and sangha), and Abhidharma (analysis of dharma, commentaries on sutras).


Anyway, there is a sūtra called, Mahāparinibbāna Sutta. This sūtra talks about the last journey of Shakyamuni Buddha. In there, Shakyamuni Buddha gave advice to his disciple Ānanda regarding the seven things that are conducive to welfare. Some of them may not be useful in modern times, but some of them are worth following in

this time of uncertainty. Shakyamuni Buddha was talking to Ānanda regarding the Sangha, but it could apply to any organization... and when you are reading this article, it is after BCA National Council Meeting and I hope everything concluded with harmony!!


The Seven Things That Are Conducive to Welfare


1. As long as the Sangha holds regular and frequent assemblies, they may be expected to 

    prosper and not decline.

2. As long as they meet in harmony, break up in harmony, and carry on their

    business in harmony, they may be expected to prosper and not decline.

3. As long as they do not authorize what has not been authorized already, and do

    not abolish what has been authorized, but proceed according to what has been

    authorized by the rules of training, they may be expected to prosper and not decline.

4. As long as they honor, respect, revere, and salute the elders of long-standing who are long 

    ordained, fathers, and leaders of the order, they may be expected to prosper and not decline.

5. As long as they do not fall prey to desires which arise in them and lead to rebirth, they may be expected to

    prosper and not decline.

6. As long as they are devoted to forest-lodgings, they may be expected to prosper and not decline.

7. As long as they preserve their personal mindfulness, so that in future the good among their 

    companions will come to them, and those who have already come will feel at ease with them, 

    they may be expected to prosper and not decline.


Among seven of them, I feel No. 2 is the most important because harmony cannot be achieved by one person, but it needs everyone’s efforts. If everyone is mindful in creating harmony, then we are expected to prosper and not decline.


Prince Shōtoku (574-622), who is considered the father of Japanese Buddhism, established the first Japanese constitution and the first article said: “Harmony should be valued.” He was also a politician who knew how important harmony is. I agree that harmony is really important in operation of the temple, in family, and in friendship too.


In Mahāparinibbāna, Shakyamuni Buddha said harmony is the way to prosper and not decline. In the Seventeen Article Constitution, Prince Shotoku said harmony should be valued... then, the question is, do we still value our self-centered opinions, or do we value harmony? I think everyone knows the answer... I hope everyone treasures harmony among anything else and I am sure that the mind of keeping the harmony creates a better community. 


Rev. Yuki

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.