Q: Can I come to visit? How do I arrange a visit? How much do you charge?
A: Yes, we would love to meet you. Please go to our website and fill in the form under ‘To be greeted’ and we can arrange to have someone meet you at the Temple and show you around. Or feel free to drop in and attend one of our Sunday morning services at 11:00 am. If you would like to have someone meet you at that time you can fill in a form from our website (above link) or call our office at (416) 534-4302.
There is no cost to visit our Temple. However, you can make donations or become a member by going to this link.
Q: What is the appropriate attire?
A: We want people to be comfortable when they come to the Temple so proper attire is up to you. Generally, men wear trousers, cotton pants or nice jeans and dress shirts and women wear a dress or casual pants and top.
Q: Do I need to take off my shoes?
A: No, we do not require you to take off your shoes. There is only one area in our Temple where we ask people to remove their shoes and that is in our meditation room on the 2nd floor.
Q: Do you speak English?
A: Yes. Our community is made up of different ethnic groups, predominately Japanese, but we encourage anyone interested in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism to join us. All our services are conducted in English; however, we do offer our monthly memorial service in Japanese on the first Sunday of the month at 1:00 pm.
Q: What is the proper protocol to attend? What should I do when I am attending the service?
A: Protocol is something that is learned over a period of time. Please feel free to come as you are and we will help guide you. However, if you would like more information, there are two links you can check out which provides more information about our Temple or feel free to contact our office to speak to someone directly (416) 534-4302.
Q: How do I become a member?
A: Interested in becoming a member? Great! You can find out more information by clicking on this link.
Q: I see people with their hands clasped together and bowing towards the Buddha ... do you worship the Buddha?
A: In our tradition we revere the Buddha as a great teacher whom we hold with the highest regard. Because of the Buddha we are able to live a life of wisdom, compassion and gratitude. We practice many rituals that remind us to do just that: we place our hands together showing the interconnectedness of all things in the universe; we bow our heads in reverence to show our gratitude…all these practices help us to be mindful of our own actions and work towards living a life of compassion and appreciation.
Q: Do you have commandments that I must observe?
A: We do not have absolute rules that must be followed. We encourage our members to live compassionately and with a heightened awareness of the causes and conditions working in the world. However, this is not always easy. One of the mainstays of our tradition is self-acceptance. We are all fallible and occasionally make mistakes. Accepting this fact helps us to move forward in life rather than live with regret.
Q: if I become a member, does that mean that I have to convert to become a Buddhist at the same time? If so, do I have to renounce my past faith (e.g. Christianity?)
A: We have many members who feel they identify with more than one tradition. Jodo Shinshu Buddhism does not attempt to regulate a practitioner’s faith. Instead it highlights that each person is unique with their own set of life experiences that make them who they are. Each member does agree to try to live their life based on the guidance of the Buddha, the Dharma (Buddhist teachings) and the Sangha (community), but this does not mean they cannot believe in anything else so long as it is not counter to the teachings.
Q: what if my wife / husband (partner) is a Christian / Muslim / Jew ... do Buddhists frown upon that circumstance?
A: Many of our members have “blended” families. If anything this diversity makes us better.
Q: Why do you chant?
A: There are a multitude of reasons for chanting. Chanting is very therapeutic and helps clear and focus your mind. It also has a deeper element in that what you are saying has deep meaning and is an exposition of the Buddhist teachings.
Q: Do you eat meat?
A: Some of our members eat meat and some of our members do not. Our members who do eat meat try to be mindful of the life that is being taken so they can have nourishment, and to show gratitude to that animal for giving its life.
Q: Do you meditate?
A: Many people at our temple meditate and we have meditation classes offered at the Temple. In Jodo Shinshu Buddhism meditation is not considered a practice that is necessary to lead us to enlightenment, but many people find it helpful to get through day-to-day life.