Ekoji Buddhist Temple and BDK America
Publish Date: 
Kenryu T. Tsuji

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Available as a PDF download only. This 2003 title is now out of print but remains available to you at no charge as a downloadable file.

From the Foreword:

The text for The Heart of the Buddha-Dharma was extracted from Dharma messages, pamphlets and tem­ple newsletter columns written by [the late] Rev. Kenryu T. Tsuji over a forty-year period. Rev. Tsuji left this treasure chest of material to the Ekoji Buddhist Temple Sangha upon his retirement as resident minister of the Temple in August 1999. Originally intended for the library archives, it was soon realized that by recasting the material in the form of a primer on the Buddha­-Dharma, Rev. Tsuji's insight to, and understanding of, the Buddha-Dharma could benefit a wider audience, one beyond the temple doors.

The Sangha of Ekoji Buddhist Temple is indebted to the late Mitsu Yasuda Carl, who as senior editor of the temple newsletter, the Kalavinka, compiled and organized the entire set of Kalavinka issues since its inception in 1981. This collection served as the source for the section titled "84,000 Thoughts."

Intro to Buddha-Dharma and Jodo Shinshu (Pure Land)


About the Author

Kenryu T. Tsuji (1919-2004) was the first Japanese-American Bishop of the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA), a position he held from 1968-1981. His pioneering efforts furthered the Dharma in both Canada and the United States. Born in British Columbia he persevered through the turmoil leading up to World War II. During internment during World War II and for a time after the war he supported his family in various menial jobs.

In 1946 Rev. Tsuji, along with a handful of devout Buddhist followers from the western Canadian coast, held the first Obon service in Canada; this seminal event led to the formation, in 1947, of the Toronto Buddhist Church. His pioneering efforts would result in the establishment of temples in Hamilton, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec. Rev. Tsuji led the Toronto con­gregation until 1959, when an invitation came from Bishop Shigefuji of the BCA, to serve as Director of the newly created, Bureau of Buddhist Education. Rev. and Mrs. Tsuji and their children moved to San Francisco, location of the BCA Headquarters. As head of the Education Bureau, Rev. Tsuji developed many pro­grams to promote the Buddha-Dharma, including adult education seminars, the publication of books, pam­phlets and ministerial aids, and the establishment of the BCA Buddhist Bookstore. After he was installed as the first western-born Bishop of the BCA in 1968, he translated a broad vision integrating all aspects of the Buddhist tradition into innovative programs and for­mal study, including the curriculum of the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS).

Upon retirement from the BCA in 1981, Rev. Tsuji and Rev. Dr. Yehan Numata, founded Ekoji Buddhist Temple ("Temple of the Gift of Light") in northern Virginia. Rev. Tsuji and Dr. Numata shared a vision of Ekoji as a venue to minister support for the practice of Shin Buddhism and as a beacon of education and con­templation in Buddhism for denizens of the national capital area. To realize this vision, Rev. Tsuji organized and hosted spring and fall seminars for ministers and lay members on the eastern and midwest states where they would discuss and contemplate the Buddha­Dharma. Notable Buddhist scholars and lecturers were invited to Ekoji as guest speakers while a weekly med­itation for adults and monthly services for Japanese speaking members were added to the list of Ekoji pro­grams. In addition to his duties as resident minister at Ekoji, Rev. Tsuji actively participated in interfaith activities, including World Religion Day. He served as president of the World Conference on Religion and Peace from 1983-1989.

To accommodate the growing Ekoji membership as well as to lay the groundwork for the future, a larger temple was built in 1998 close to the first Ekoji Temple site. To meet the needs of smaller-sized Shin Buddhist groups forming in the southeastern states, Rev. Tsuji helped form the Ekoji Buddhist Sangha of Richmond, Virginia and the Augusta Buddhist Sangha in Georgia. Rev. and Mrs. Tsuji devoted much of their spare time and energy to these groups by regular visits to the tem­ples where they would cultivate growth and encourage the membership. Recognizing the importance of out­reach in fostering knowledge of the Buddha-Dharma, Rev. Tsuji traveled to various states to lecture on Buddhism.

After an extraordinary 57 years of service in the Buddhist ministry, Rev. Kenryu T. Tsuji retired in 1999. [Rev. Tsuji passed away in 2004.]



Table of Contents

   Foreward    ix
   About the Author    xiii
   Recollections     xvii

I. The Many Buddhas
   The Historical Buddhas     1
   Infinite Buddha     5
   Amida Buddha     7

II. Fundamental Teachings
   The Buddha-Dharma     9
   Buddha-Nature     11
   Four Noble Truths     13
   Nirvana     19
   Enlightenment     21
   Interdependence     23

III. Jodo Shinshu, A Brief Introduction
   Jodo Shinshu     25
   Namo Amida Butsu (Recitation of the Nembutsu)     31
   Namo Amida Butsu (Interpretation of Characters)     33
   Shinjin     35
   The Pure Land     39

IV. A Life of Nembutsu
   Bodhisattva     41
   Chanting     45
   Meditation     49
   Meditation Sutra on Infinite Life     51
   Meditation Sutra, Meaning     53
   The Nature of Life     57

V. 84,000 Thoughts
   Naturalness     61
   Fireflies     63
   August 27, 1981      65
   Listen     67
   Cosmic Energy     69
   Oso Eko, Genso Eko     71
   Eternal Now     73
   Namo Amida Butsu     75