52 Churches 52 Weeks

Worship Exploration Journey

Week 14 – Arizona Buddhist Temple – Buddhist

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The Arizona Buddhist Temple was established in the 1930’s in a central Phoenix location that probably looked and felt very different 80 years ago. During World War II the monks were interred and the Temple closed for a time. As I drove through the highly industrial neighborhood to get to the temple I couldn’t help but wonder why it has not been relocated. Maybe it’s this history and the need to remain constant that keeps them anchored; the old-timers, and memories, the deep connection to THAT very spot. Maybe that is just the Buddhist way. Simple, peaceful, anchored.

My husband and his family are Buddhist. I attended a beautiful Buddhist memorial service for my father-in-law last October in Tokyo and today’s experience was very comfortable for us. Candace and I put the incense in the bowl after services with the little, old Japanese ladies. They reminded me of Goro’s mom, Toki-chan.

Two rows of children and teens dominated the front of the temple. The teen girls provided direction on what to sing, chant, say and when to stand. I loved this. I have rarely seen young people as leaders when in reality any place of worship needs to cultivate its young worshipers because they are the future of the congregation. There were newcomers and a pot luck afterward to welcome everyone back after a hot summer.

Today was the 9/11 Memorial Service and the Sensei (teacher) asked, “What is Peace for you? Do we undertake war to pass through to Peace? Buddhists believe hatred is not overcome by hatred but by love and compassion.” The Buddhist seeks the truth. Sensei asked us to be one of unity and pass through to peace for the people of the world. 9/11 gives us the opportunity to reflect on peace, review our responsibility to change our self-centeredness as we move to create a more harmonious world. We practice peace in ourselves, our family, our temple, our community, our world.

It really was a beautiful tribute to those who have suffered the effects of hatred in our world.

Their website has a really interesting outline of what Buddhism is and the basic teachings. Check it out here: www.azbuddhisttemple.org


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