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63rd Annual NW Buddhist Convention

Yononaka Annon Nare: May Peace and Tranquility Prevail Throughout the World

February 12-14, 2010

Four Rivers Cultural Center

Ontario, Oregon

Idaho-Oregon Buddhist Temple in Ontario, Oregon was host to the 63rd Annual Northwest Buddhist convention on February 12-14, 2010.

In keeping with the 750th Shinran Shonin Memorial, we maintained the theme "Yononaka Annon Nare: May Peace and Tranquility Prevail Throughout the World".

We had the pleasure of having Socho Koshin and Mrs. Mayumi Ogui as our guests, along with Rev. Dr. Nobuo and Mrs. Tomoko Haneda. Delegates from the Northwest District were present along with other delegates from Canada and Utah. One of the early pleasures was receiving registration from the University of Washington YBA which included not only UW, but other schools, and some of our own Temple youth who are now in college.

Friday night registration was held at the Temple, where guests were greeted with dinner. Not having a hotel/convention center that could house everyone and conduct the convention all in one place, the Temple was where we provided "hospitality" food and refreshments after their long trips.

Meanwhile, youth and adult teams alike met at the Ontario Middle School gym for a friendly dodgeball tournament. Seeing this brought back memories of the 60's and 70's when we'd have large youth delegations and basketball and volleyball tournaments at northwest conventions. The joy and enthusiasm on the participants' faces actually brought tears to my eyes, finally seeing a rebirth of athletic team competition at convention.

Saturday marked the beginning of activities at Four Rivers Cultural Center. Guests were met with wide varieties of homemade goodies not only for the morning, but for breaks all day long. The opening service was held in FRCC's theatre where the onaijin was displayed with prominence not only in its size and appearance, but with the presence of ministers, ministers assistants and youth ministers assistants.

The Gatha Project performed during opening service was dedicated to Mrs. Chizuko Iwanaga, arranger of Nembutsu. This project had its early beginnings in 2008 with Rev. Joshin Dennis Fujimoto toying with the notion of combining the basic elements of this gatha with not only Nembutsu chanting, but with singing and Taiko. The vision did not stop there; the effort would be a combined effort of ALL Northwest Temples and not just Idaho-Oregon. With assistance from Donna Sasaki of Tacoma Buddhist Temple, a master CD was created for all the Temples to rehearse from. Early in the morning before opening service, a final rehearsal was held, together as a group. When performed before the entire audience, the spirit of Oneness shined through so clearly, with voices from all the Temples loud and clear.

Dr. Haneda was well received for his keynote address "Shinran's Peace and Tranquility That Comes Out of His Dynamic and Creative Life", following the opening service. The participation of Socho Ogui, Dr. Haneda, our NW Ministers and others was outstanding. Several workshop choices were avilable during three different sessions. The Peace and Tranquility Art Project went all day with contributions from everyone. The basic backdrop was that of a tree. Members of the Sangha made their own additions to make the project whole. This was yet another group effort which demonstrated not only Peace and Tranquility, but the concept of interdependence as we examined the end result and the path the participants had taken from the roots up.

Before the banquet, many gathered in the FRCC lobby for the social hour. Throughout the day, interaction of not only old friends, but new friends was apparent. The presence of the BCA Bookstore and manager Jeffrey Kimoto along with Darcie Kameda of Hoseki Designs and bookstore volunteer Johnny added a very large selection of merchandise from which to choose. Robert Noguchi, Campaign Manager, was on hand to bring us up to date on current status. And representatives from Kintetsu were available to provide information about the tour movements to Japan for the 750th in 2011.

Unlike some banquets where there is a mad dash for seats, the reserved seats created a more casual atmosphere for our guests. Socho Ogui's address kept the audience alert and entertained. The performance by the UW YBA was a real treat.

The evening was full with the FRCC museum being open, art display by Temple members, two movies (Hula Girls adn Amerian Pasttime), and a Casino Night complete with a craps table and nine blackjack tables. And, some of the youth opted to go bowling. The agenda was full and was designed to have something for everyone.

Sunday, things were winding down. Closing service would be the last service before lunch and goodbyes. So well received was the gatha project, they were called upon to perform again at closing service. IOBT's Polyphonic Choir also performed a number at closing service as well.

Many aspects of the convention were noteworthy, but when you look at the entire event, the interaction of so many guests was apparent. Their spirits were high. They were enthusiastic. They were excited. They were happy. In visiting with subcommittee chairman, they generally didn't feel their contributions were extraordinary. Yet, with the coordination of efforts including registration, transportation, workshops, services and performances, fun activities, great food and all the other contributions to the cause, everything seemed to be in sync. Everyone did their part. So well did things go that the end result far exceeded the sum of their parts. It was a wonderful example of the Sangha coming together, organizers and attendees alike, to make this convention a rousing success.

The atmosphere was so positive that osaisen collected for the Zaidan Fund was unusually high compared to previous efforts. Bookstore sales far exceeded projections. And, Campaign BCA raised over $11,000 in the course of the event which helped to exceed the district's goal. Not only that, but another $5,000 was contributed after the event as a direct result of the convention.

Something that makes Ontario unique is that its a small town where friends and neighbors help each other at every turn. Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, as host hotels went out of their way to accommodate our guests. While the Best Western was not a host hotel, they also put their best foot forward in welcoming our guests. FRCC has had many Japanese on their board over the years, some of whom are Temple members. The caterer for FRCC is a Temple member. And, many of the helpers with transportation, catering and slide show production were our non-Buddhist friends and relatives. So, the success of this event is a credit not only to our Temple members, but to all who attended and also a credit to others in our community who worked so hard to help us. We sincerely appreciate the generous support of you all for a most memorial convention.

Mike Iseri, IOBT NW Convention Chairman

Reverend Joshin Dennis Fujimoto

Location

Idaho Oregon Buddhist Temple
286 SE 4th Directions
PO Box 397 (mailing address)
Ontario, Oregon 97914
541-889-8562 (office)
541-889-8662 (fax)

Sunday Activity

9:00 am - Meditation
10:00 am - IOBT Choir Practice
10:30 am - Adult Study
11:00 am - Family Service

BCA Temple Websites

Seattle Betsuin
Tacoma Buddhist Temple
White River Buddhist Temple
Spokane Buddhist Temple
Oregon Buddhist Temple
Buddhist Churches of America

The site is dedicated to the Shinran Shonin 750th Memorial being held in February 2010.
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