Every year our temple participates in a huge Vesak celebration along with many other Buddhist temples in the Greater Toronto Area. Our ministers join the monks and nuns from a variety of other Buddhist traditions and chant together, spread the joy of Buddhism, and celebrate the birth of Sakyamuni Buddha. Last year’s event boasted over 6,000 people in attendance!
This facility is home to a wide range of people from various ethnicities, but is occupied primarily by Japanese-Canadians. Our temple regularly participates in community events at Momiji, contributes to their fundraisers, and once a month, the ministers hold a special service there for the residents who are unable to travel to the temple.
One wing in this primarily Chinese long term care facility is dedicated to meeting the special requirements for elderly Japanese Canadians who are in need of 24-hour care. They are able to enjoy a Japanese menu and participate in making Japanese crafts. Every month, our ministers hold a service there and talk with them about the Buddha Dharma.
The City of Ottawa has always had a small group of Jodo Shinshu practitioners who received occasional visits from the Eastern District ministers. These few members are starting to grow. We are proud to say we are starting to hold information sessions, and have scheduled a full-day workshop in Ottawa about the Jodo Shinshu teachings.
One of the community projects the temple participates in, is helping to collect food donations for the Daily Bread Food Bank. This charitable organization supports and helps feed low income families and individuals who have encountered difficult times and are unable to financially purchase enough food for themselves.
At the temple, our women’s SHIN FUJINKAI group co-ordinate a Fall or Spring food drive at the temple which coincides with Thanksgiving or Hana Matsuri. These are happy, family times where family and friends gather together for delicious meals. It is also a time to be mindful and remind everyone about helping others who are unable to partake in such festive meals, nor feed their families on a daily basis.
We ask our congregation members to give generously and bring in non-perishable food donations. Each year, we try to surpass the previous years donation when it is weighed in on a large skid at the food bank and then distributed.
In April of this year, the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Women’s federation of Canada agreed to donate a portion of the “Dana day funds” to Food Banks Canada to help feed hungry families across Canada.