Helping the Helpers

By Phillip Underwood

This is the story of how I ended up a member of the West Covina Buddhist Temple. It starts with the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

I was a captain for the Los Angeles Fire Department when I was called to respond to the New York City attack. I did not go as part of the Urban Search and Rescue Team. Instead I was committed to helping the rescuers themselves, or as we called it, “helping the helpers.”

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Shin Family Ties

First his grandmother died, and then his uncle died, just a year after the end of World War II. That’s when Masayuki Saito began thinking more deeply about life. In 1958, Masayuki moved to Brazil, leaving behind a Japan battered by post-war recession.

In Brazil, he met Setsuko, whom he married. They began regularly attending services at Higashi Honganji Betsuin temple in Sao Paolo and learning about Jodo Shinshu.

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Meaning of Eitaikyo

“Eitaikyo” is a tradition that started in Japan’s Edo Period, hundreds of years ago. Literally it means “perpetually chanting Buddhist sutras” and it has become an annual service at our temples.

Our lives are created by many causes and conditions, such as our environment, education, nature and society. Probably the most meaningful connection we have is to our family and friends, especially those people who have lived before us, such as our parents, grandparents and others. Without them, we would not exist.

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Advice to Teenagers

By Rev. Ryoko Osa

The teenage years are an especially bright time. At that time I had lots of imagination, passion, energy, strength, beauty. Unfortunately, I have lost most of those things now. But all of you have all of them now.

On the other hand, the way the world is today, I think you might also be experiencing some stress, some anxiety. You are finding out the world is not perfect. And so as you start out in life I want to give you these three words of advice. First: Don’t compare. Second: Don’t rush. Third: Don’t give up. Got it? Never compare, never rush, never give in. In Japanese 比べず、焦らず、あきらめず. So what do I mean by this.

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