September 2020
Northern California Koyasan Temple


HeHello everyone! I hope everyone is doing well. This month’s article is about Ichi-go-Ichi-e
which is an old Japanese proverb that means a “once-in-a-life-time-meeting.”
Have you ever wondered how many people you have or will have met during your lifetime?
According to one theory, there are approximately three million people whom we
could come across including those just passing through our life. The chance, however, to meet
people whom we can actually get along with is probably less than one hundred. 
Within the multitudes of people in existence, finding someone we can build a good relationship with is not an easy task. Since we cannot foresee who or when we will encounter someone, we should treat them kindly when we meet them. If we don’t, we may lose an opportunity to meet someone who might become a good friend, or even someone we may want to marry, or a person who may help us in difficult times. Therefore, we must treasure these encounters and its moments.
Because of this pandemic, we can no longer meet and see each other face-to-face. Even if we could  see one another on Zoom or on some other kind of online application, we cannot have a real conversation where we can feel a person’s warmth and kindness. Since it can’t be helped, we
should accept this fact. After this pandemic is over and we are able to meet in-person once again, I want you to realize that one meeting can change your life or even save you, in other words “Once will be Forever.”
Please have faith in Buddha’s teaching that there are always invisible connections. These
connections are called “En” in Japanese and is one of the most significant teachings of Buddhism. It expresses how people are interconnected by some kind of reason. We may never know where
these connections come from, but it absolutely exists between us. For example, it could be a
connection from the past at a time when our ancestors were living. The encounters that they may
have had with people whom they came across during their lifetime might also be the reason for
these connections in our present life. By believing in “En,” it enables us to realize how precious we
are to each other.
Thank you, and please stay safe and connected to each other.

With Gassho,
Rev. Kanpo Mimatsu

  Toro Nagashi Ritual

Each summer, two traditional services, Obon and Toro Nagashi, are observed by Buddhist temples to commemorate the memory of our ancestors. During Obon, it is thought that the spirits of one’s ancestors return home from the spirit world for a short visit. Toro Nagashi is observed at the end of Obon when their ancestors return to the spirit world. To assist them, candle-lit floating lanterns are prepared and placed in water to guide them on their journey.

The Toro Nagashi ceremony has been held by Koyasan Temple for several decades. It was first celebrated at Miller Park and began with a feast of potluck dishes prepared by its members. This was followed by the Toro Nagashi service and ended with the floating of candle-lit lanterns, tolled down the river by boat. This event was later changed to the American River. It was finally transferred to its current location at William Land Park because of concerns over the safety of floating the lanterns by boat in the midst of the river’s changing current.