Hanamatsuri in Downtown LA

Here’s some Downtown Los Angeles Buddhist community news straight from the Rafu Shimpo via Little Tokyo UnBlogged.

Already, Hanamatsuri, the celebration of the Buddha’s birthday is right around the corner. This year’s Los Angeles Buddhist Church Federation’s Hanamatsuri will be held on Sunday, April 11 from 1 p.m. at the Jodoshu North America Buddhist Missions at 442 East Third Street in Little Tokyo. The theme of this year’s celebration is Buddhism and Compassion.

The celebration will begin at 1 p.m. with a special performance of by Kinnara Gagaku of Senshin Buddhist Temple. The visually stunning Bugaku, the classical dance that accompanies Gagaku music will be the featured part of this year’s performance.

The Hanamatsuri Service conducted by over ten priests of the federation temples will begin at 1:20 p.m. The traditional chanting of the priests will be enhanced by the music of Gagaku. An awards presentation for the winners of this year’s Children’s Art and Photography contests will take place immediately after the service.

This year’s highlight will be the commemorative lecture on Buddhism and Compassion delivered by Dr. Glenn Webb, Professor Emeritus of Pepperdine University and one of our country’s leading Buddhist scholars.

In addition to the celebration on April 11, the annual Hanamatsuri Golf Tournament was held on Friday, March 26 at California Country Club. The funds raised at this event will go towards maintaining the annual LABCC Buddhist Summer Camp program.

The Hanamatsuri Children’s Art and Photo exhibition will be on display at the Jodoshu North America Buddhist Missions from April 11 through April 19.

For more information, please contact (213) 626-4200 or info@hhbt-la.org.

Some Effective Outreach

I finally meditated at Against the Stream tonight. In spite of all obstacles, I made it there, I’m glad I went, and I plan on going again. It’s taken me well over two years to finally get myself over there. For all my writing about increasing diversity in the Buddhist community, I was feeling a bit hypocritical without actually trying to spend time with the whiter groups that I routinely hold in my crosshairs.

Now, I have to admit that I very likely would never have gone if it hadn’t been for one of the readers of my blogs, who happened to notice that I live in Southern California and invited me to the People of Color Night at Against the Stream. I was subsequently invited to attend the Wednesday meditation group. And I went! Simply because the person who invited me was a Person of Color, someone who shares the same concerns and many of the same experiences that I do.

That’s effective outreach right there!

Thank you, Against the Stream, for hosting a People of Color Night, and showing that you care. Thank you, Erica, for kickstarting Urban Refuge where I found out about all this. You all made a difference for at least this Buddhist here.