Placer Buddhist Church

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

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A Dharma Message by Rev. Matthew Hamasaki

February 2023

In February, we are observing Nirvana Day. This is the day that we recognize the passing of the historical Buddha. It’s called Nirvana Day because after his physical form was gone, he reached the ultimate level of extinguishing, that he was no longer reborn to suffer any longer. This is different from when he was enlightened in that, although he was aware of the true reality of the world, he was still tied to suffering through the existence of his body.

It is important for us all to remember the death of the Buddha for various reasons. One of them is to remind us of our own impermanence and the Buddha, as great as he was, also was subject to impermanence and so even more so should we be aware of it. Knowing that we are not promised to live forever will affect the decisions we make throughout our lives.

The story of the passing of the Buddha and his last words are also vital for us to remember. He said, “Now, then, monks, I exhort you: All fabrications are subject to decay. Bring about completion by not allowing mindfulness to lapse." This first sentence is in reference to saṅkhāra which is a term the Buddha used when talking about the intentional things we do both mentally and physically that shape our reality. Fabricating as an action is neutral, but if we fabricate from ignorance, it will lead to suffering and if we fabricate from wisdom, it will lead us out of suffering. Recognizing the difference between the path and goal is necessary, though, and this is what the Buddha is pointing out.

Finally, the Buddha tells us that to achieve our goal, we must be constantly vigilant with our minds. It is important to practice and apply and try and learn, keeping what helps us with us without lapsing. He felt that this lesson was important enough to be his last words, and so we should treat them with such respect.


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.