Posted by:

K. Ken Fujimoto

Item #1 – One of our major concerns is the safety and welfare of our members and others who come to our temple.  It was recently learned that the Dharma School Parents Organization (DSPO) has been having difficulty finding parents able to assist in the cross guard duties.  They are also having problems finding people to bring refreshments, but they, rightfully, feel that the cross guard duties are more important than snacks after class so have been focusing their efforts on ensuring that the students can get across from the parking lot and education buildings to the hondo and annex.

It might be nice and would be greatly appreciated if former Dharma School parents, grandparents, and others (former students would be welcomed as well) could assist in filling out the times that need to be filled.  A few hours each year would be a great help and would make for a safer situation for all.

Please contact the Dharma School Parent Organization, Mae Kawamoto if you can assist at all.

Item #2 – While talking about volunteering, this is a way to feel more a part of the temple.  Many people seem to focus on what they get from membership, but the other side is as important, what can members do to contribute to the temple?  We have a number of people who take the time to clean up the nokotsudo or columbarium area on a regular basis.  There are some who extend that work on the garden area in front of it.  There are others who do things to take care of particular areas of the garden.  There is a group who come in every Wednesday to help with the tasks in the office or other areas of the temple grounds.  There is a group who come in to print the monthly newsletter, The Dharma.  There is another group who come in to collate and prepare The Dharma each month.

These are a few of the examples of how people are helping around the temple.  If you have interests or skills that can help our temple, please contact Dennis Akizuki, the board president, any of the board members or ministers or the church office and we will assist you in connecting with the proper people or groups.  If you have other ways in which you think you can assist the temple, contact us as well and we will see what can be arranged.  We are always in need of help for the various tasks around the temple and welcome sweat equity and/or expertise.

Item #3 – This ties into the item above, the question of membership.  There are many ways that membership to the temple can be defined, but most temple administrations consider it to be a question of whether or not dues are being paid to the temple.  However, there are other ways that it can be defined.  Does a person adhere to the teachings of the temple?  Does a person support the temple in ways other than financially?  Is the person attending services on a regular basis?

Ideally, it would seem that “all of the above,” would be the correct answer.  However, when we hear people talk about “declining membership,” which group are they really talking about?  Most of the time, it seems as if they are talking about the dues paying members, but there are times when they seem to be talking about those who attend service regularly.  When the teachings stress the unconditional religious liberation or salvation of all sentient beings, is regular attendance an issue?  Why are we putting “conditions” on them?  The simple answer is that we are talking about the maintenance of the organization or the tool that makes the teachings accessible to people and not the teaching itself and this leads to an inherent contradiction.  Membership is not required to listen to the teachings, but we need support to make those teachings accessible.

No answers here, just more questions to ponder.

© October 24, 2016