Random Reflections

Posted by:

K. Ken Fujimoto

There are times that events trigger thoughts that need to be discussed and this is one of those times. Talking about Hanamatsuri may seem more appropriate, but these following points may be more necessary.
Reflection #1 – A recent service brought to light how much inertia seems to affect us. People seem to forget how things should be done and go with how things have been done lately without thinking about the differences in the circumstances.
Firstly, the distinction between a memorial service and a funeral is really one that the funeral home industry developed. If there is a casket, they call it a funeral and if there is none, they consider it a memorial service. With that being said, there is no difference for us at the temple. It is basically handled the same way with all of the main rituals being included.
The portions that do not change are the presentation of the Homyo, the Buddhist or Dharma name, chanting and the burning of the incense by those in attendance. The rest can be adjusted according to the circumstances. However, there are certain protocols that should be observed when there is a casket. The casket should be brought in and escorted out with the proper care and etiquette that is warranted. People should rise when the casket is brought in and they should line up to watch the casket being escorted out to the hearse before they head over for refreshments after the service. The first seventh day service should be held after the burial or service at the crematory. At the very least, it should be after the casket is escorted out after the service. In such cases, it is generally more meaningful and easier to do the 7th day service after the final send off because of the significance of the service.
Much of this seems to have been forgotten or lost because of the preponderance of abbreviated services that are possible when there is no casket. Because certain practices have become common, it does not mean we can forego the proper and respectful ways of doing things. We can make things shorter and simpler, but we should be mindful of keeping things respectful and proper even if it is shorter and abbreviated.
Reflection #2 – Another aspect of changes in the world that necessitate change at our temple is one that affects most of our members, but something I wish I did not have to talk about. Many may wonder why I am doing this and not someone else since it is primarily a housekeeping issue. The short answer is that it needs to be done and someone has to do it.
Due to the changing world and security concerns pervading that world, the church office can no longer accept checks with abbreviations in the payee line. This is something everyone used to do, but the banking industry has changed many of their policies and one of our banks has especially stringent rules now. It may seem irritating and petty, but this is a reflection of the changing world and the need to adapt to those changes.
Therefore, we can no longer accept checks written to SJBC, SJ Betsuin or SJBCB and such. Please write your checks to San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin if it is intended for the temple. If it is for an affiliated organization, it should also be written out fully, i.e. San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin Buddhist Women’s Association, or San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin Adult Buddhist Association not SJ Betsuin BWA or ABA . It is a lot to write in a small space, but if it is not written that way, we may need to return it to you for the correct wordage.
We realize that it does make things difficult, but, as mentioned above, this is a reflection of the changes in the world in which we live. Failure to adapt to those changes can only lead to greater suffering and/or inconvenience.
© March 23, 2015