Updated: May 18
Gotanye (Gotan-e), May 21st, is the day we celebrate the birthday of Shinran Shonin (1173 – 1263), the founder of Jodoshinshu Buddhism.
Shinran was born in Hino near Kyoto to Lord and Lady Arinori Hino, and was named Matsuwaka-maro. He lost both his parents at an early age, which made him contemplate about death. When he was 9 years old, Matsuwaka-maro decided to become a Buddhist monk. He was ordained at Shoren-in Temple in Kyoto. He studied on Mr. Hiei for 20 years, and at the age of 29, he met Honen Shonin, and learned the Way of the Nembutsu. He found that by reciting the Nembutsu, the path to the Buddhahood through the Wisdom and Compassion of Amida Buddha, may be attained. He spent many years in exile, spreading the Nembutsu teaching in the rural parts of Japan. Eventually, he was pardoned and returned to Kyoto where he spent his days writing and communicating with his many disciples. Shinran's life was simple and humble, and he understood how important saying Namu Amida Butsu was.
Like Cherry blossoms are the minds
That think there is a tomorrow,
But who can tell, there may be
A tempest in the night.
(Shinran Shonin, at age 9)
This is the poem Matsuwaka-maro wrote at age 9, when he was told to postpone the ordination to the next morning. His poem tells that we need to cherish the present time, and not take things for granted that they will always be there. When the priest saw this poem, he decided to ordain young Matsuwakamaro that night immediately.
Gotanye Service is one of the special services at OBT. This year, during the time when we are encouraged to stay home, Northwest District Ministers Association -- Rev.Katsuya Kusunoki (Seattle Betsuin), Rev.Takashi Miyaji (Tacoma Buddhist Temple), Rev.Jim Warrick (White River Buddhist Temple), Rev.Jerry Hirano (Idaho-Oregon Buddhist Temple) and Rev.Yuki Sugahara (Oregon Buddhist Temple) -- has decided to give a shared special service for Gotanye. As a sepcial guest, Rev.Kojo Kakihara, who used to be the resident minister at Tacoma Buddhist Temple, will be joining from Japan! The joint Gotanye service will premier on NWDMA YouTube page on Thursday, May 21st, at 10am (PST). Please subscribe and set a reminder! We hope to see you virtually there!
Gtanye Service Program:
Chanting of Sanbutsuge
Children's Dharma Message by Rev. Kojo Kakihara
Japanese Dharma Message by Rev. Katsuya Kusunoki
English Dharma Message by Rev. Jim Warrick
Japanese Dharma Message by Rev. Yuki Sugahara
English Dharma Message by Rev. Jerry Hirano
Reading of Shonin Ichiryu-sho by Rev. Takashi Miyaji
Reading of On Teaching of Shinran Shonin by Rev. Takashi Miyaji
Performance of Shinran-sama by Rev. Yuki Sugahara Shinran-sama
composed by Yuji Koseki, words by Tsuneharu Takita
Meanwhile, here are some photos from last year's Gotanye Service!