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Thứ Hai, tháng 10 23, 2006

No. 1194 (Minh Chau dich)
Fresh start for Buddhists
Buddhists celebrate rebuilt Yorba Linda temple on Sunday.
Monday, October 23, 2006
By ERIK ORTIZ
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
YORBA LINDA – The altar was lit in a golden hue, reflecting off a statue of the reclining Buddha, depicting the moment before his death and entrance into Nirvana.
Shinso Ito, head of the Shinnyo-en order of Buddhism, chanted in front of the statue as about 260 people echoed the words behind her in the worship hall.
Sunday's ritual was part of the grand opening of the rebuilt Shinnyo-en Buddhist USA Temple, one of six in the United States. The Yorba Linda location is home to 1,500 members from throughout Southern California and as far away as Las Vegas and Phoenix.
It also is the only temple in the country with a designated space to hold the ceremony of Saito Homa, an ancient Buddhist fire ritual planned for next spring.
Ito, who made a special trip from Japan, is considered the Keishu-sama, or successor, to Shinnyo-en founder Shinjo Ito, who died in 1989. The order has an estimated 800,000 followers worldwide.
"Before (Ito) got here, the Buddha statue was just a statue," said temple staff member Jay Gibson of Yorba Linda. "We don't pray to that image, but we recognize the spirit that the Buddha represents. She has opened the eyes of that Buddha statue."
With her dark hair streaked with blue and yellow coloring for the festivities and a vermillion surplice, the diminutive Ito thanked the audience, which included more than 500 others watching from television screens throughout the temple.
"Let us carry the sacred wish of bringing peace to the world and contribute to building a future world that is full of hope," Ito said in Japanese to the audience.
Orange County's Shinnyo-en Buddhist temple opened in 1990 in a former residence that seated 35 people. A growing membership required the temple to expand, and the original building was demolished in 2004 to make way for the new, 22,000-square-foot stucco structure.
Although many of the temple's members are of Japanese heritage, they make sure to incorporate American customs, Gibson said. For instance, no one has to take off their shoes upon entering.
And after the ritual, a group of youths belonging to the temple greeted Ito in a distinctly American way, singing a round of the Disney tune, "It's a Small World." They then presented her with a glass bowl of marbles: blue ones representing the Buddha's teachings as a vast ocean and clear ones signifying the nature of the Buddha in all people.
"I was so nervous," said Jack Nguyen, 18, of Claremont, his hand still visibly shaking after handing Ito the gift. "I thought I was just going to put it on the table, but she took it from my hands."
Rina Reyes, 28, of Fountain Valley said she was impressed by the ceremony.
"This is a place where people of different backgrounds can come together," said Reyes, who grew up Catholic.
For Judy Blanco, becoming a Buddhist with her daughters has given them a religion that is "inclusive and non-judgmental," she said.
When a smiling Ito brushed past Blanco, tears formed in the Santa Barbara woman's eyes.
"You can feel the joy and affection in her face and voice," Blanco later said. "You don't need to know Japanese to understand."

By ERIK ORTIZ
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
YORBA LINDA – The altar was lit in a golden hue, reflecting off a statue of the reclining Buddha, depicting the moment before his death and entrance into Nirvana.
Shinso Ito, head of the Shinnyo-en order of Buddhism, chanted in front of the statue as about 260 people echoed the words behind her in the worship hall.
Sunday's ritual was part of the grand opening of the rebuilt Shinnyo-en Buddhist USA Temple, one of six in the United States. The Yorba Linda location is home to 1,500 members from throughout Southern California and as far away as Las Vegas and Phoenix.
It also is the only temple in the country with a designated space to hold the ceremony of Saito Homa, an ancient Buddhist fire ritual planned for next spring.
Ito, who made a special trip from Japan, is considered the Keishu-sama, or successor, to Shinnyo-en founder Shinjo Ito, who died in 1989. The order has an estimated 800,000 followers worldwide.
"Before (Ito) got here, the Buddha statue was just a statue," said temple staff member Jay Gibson of Yorba Linda. "We don't pray to that image, but we recognize the spirit that the Buddha represents. She has opened the eyes of that Buddha statue."
With her dark hair streaked with blue and yellow coloring for the festivities and a vermillion surplice, the diminutive Ito thanked the audience, which included more than 500 others watching from television screens throughout the temple.
"Let us carry the sacred wish of bringing peace to the world and contribute to building a future world that is full of hope," Ito said in Japanese to the audience.
Orange County's Shinnyo-en Buddhist temple opened in 1990 in a former residence that seated 35 people. A growing membership required the temple to expand, and the original building was demolished in 2004 to make way for the new, 22,000-square-foot stucco structure.
Although many of the temple's members are of Japanese heritage, they make sure to incorporate American customs, Gibson said. For instance, no one has to take off their shoes upon entering.
And after the ritual, a group of youths belonging to the temple greeted Ito in a distinctly American way, singing a round of the Disney tune, "It's a Small World." They then presented her with a glass bowl of marbles: blue ones representing the Buddha's teachings as a vast ocean and clear ones signifying the nature of the Buddha in all people.
"I was so nervous," said Jack Nguyen, 18, of Claremont, his hand still visibly shaking after handing Ito the gift. "I thought I was just going to put it on the table, but she took it from my hands."
Rina Reyes, 28, of Fountain Valley said she was impressed by the ceremony.
"This is a place where people of different backgrounds can come together," said Reyes, who grew up Catholic.
For Judy Blanco, becoming a Buddhist with her daughters has given them a religion that is "inclusive and non-judgmental," she said.
When a smiling Ito brushed past Blanco, tears formed in the Santa Barbara woman's eyes.
"You can feel the joy and affection in her face and voice," Blanco later said. "You don't need to know Japanese to understand."