In Buddhism, Dana (Dah-nah) is selfless giving.

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On January 29, we observed Dana Day by honoring 19 volunteers who have given much to the temple. They exemplify the spirit, commitment and effort that keeps the temple vital and successful.

I’d like thank the 19 honorees: Shelley Hatakeyama, Lee Ikegami, Stephen Inoue, Jenny Inouye, Elaine Jones, Keith Kadokura, Patty Kaneda, Bill Kawakami, Kazue Kawasaki, Lisa Kobayashi, Larissa Lai, Michael Mori, Lori Nakajima, Janice Oda, Sumi Tanabe, Todd Tsudama, Lillian (Lee) Uyeda, Richard Yamaguchi, Roy Yamanouchi. We appreciate all that you do for the Betsuin!

Collectively these 19 people worked thousands of hours to help the temple and its organizations … just in 2016 alone.  Their assistance benefitted Lotus Preschool, the temple office, scouting programs and Buddhist Women’s Association, just to name a few groups.

The temple wouldn’t function without volunteers. There are hundreds of other volunteers who easily work tens of thousands of hours each year on temple activities. And think of the number of volunteer hours since the temple was founded. If you could somehow quantify that “dana,” I’m sure the number would be staggering.

In the spirit of volunteerism that has maintained the Betsuin, we need help to fill some very important jobs. Currently, we need some volunteers to step forward to fill some important jobs.


Obon Chairperson (Assistant in 2017, Chairperson in 2018)


The 2017 Obon Festival will be Jim McClure’s 18th and final year as chairperson. He will leave big shoes to fill. But, we’re not expecting anyone to fill his shoes because we intend to decentralize the Obon operation to spread the responsibilities among more people. The goal is to have the Obon chairperson be a two-year job. The first year will be spent as the assistant to the chairperson, then become the chairperson the following year, with a new assistant.

I asked Jim for an Obon Chairperson job description. Here it is:




Ask questions

Think ahead


Coordinate Obon artwork process

Schedule and plan five Obon meetings; March, April, May, June, and one after Obon

Create agenda – updates, questions, info about process, and procedures (Format available).

Schedule Pre-Obon maintenance items; refrigeration, electrical, plumbing, infrastructure

Delegate as much as you want but follow up

Support Booth chairs – with direction and answers to questions

The booths run fairly well without you

Be calming presence to those who report to you

Meet with City staff; Cultural Affairs, Police, Fire, and Environmental Services

This can be delegated after you understand it.

Delegate contracts for forklift rental, Security, First Aid and cooking equipment

Be a Presence at Construction / Deconstruction

Worry about Manpower, but it rarely does any good. It somehow works out.


Human Relations Committee


HR committee members meet on average once a month during the day to accommodate the staff.  We work closely with the staff to review and establish employment policies and procedures of the Betsuin.  We ensure compliance with current employment laws and handle the occasional personnel matters.


If you would like to volunteer for either of these positions, please contact me.  The current volunteers can provide expert guidance and advice for transitioning into the position.  We look forward to your help.


In gassho

Dennis Akizuki