Our temples hold regular Sunday services consisting of incense offering, simple recitations, chanting and Dharma talks. In addition, there often are activities and dharma classes for children and teens. All of our services are free and open to the public. For specific places, dates and times, please check our calendar and specific temple websites.
In addition to our Sunday services, special services are held throughout the year as follows:
New Year’s Day service
Welcome the New Year with a fresh, open mind by attending service on the first day of the year, January 1.
January/February: Eitaikyo Service means “Perpetual Memorial Service,”an annual memorial service to honor everyone who has passed before us. Eitaikyo donations traditionally help the temple transmit the Buddha’s teachings to succeeding generations. Usually held in January or February, depending on temple.
February: Commemorating the day the Buddha passed away, referred to as parinirvana.
Spring and Fall Equinox Higan Service
At the beginning of Spring and Autumn, our Buddhist temples hold a special service called “Higan.” The name “Higan” means crossing over to the “other shore.”
Higan services are observed twice a year during the Spring and Autumn equinoxes. During the equinox, the length of night equals the length of day. The date of the actual equinox varies from year to year. The Higan service typically is commemorated on a Sunday closest to the actual equinox. The equinox is a good time to reflect on the truth of impermanence, expressed as Winter turning to Spring, and Summer turning to Fall.
Hanamatsuri Buddha’s Birthday Service
April: Celebrating the birth of the historical Buddha at a festive service filled with flowers, special speakers and pouring sweet tea over an image of the infant Buddha. For dates, times and locations of the services, please see our calendar.
Tanjo-E Shinran’s Birthday Service
May: Celebrating the birth of Shinran Shonin, upon whose teachings Jodo Shinshu Buddhism was established. Typically, a “Hatsumairi” ceremony, observing a baby’s first temple visit also is held this day. If interested in hatsumairi, please contact your local temple.
July/August: Obon is our summer memorial service held in July or August, honoring the people who have come before us. Also held at this time is “Hatsubon,” a special ceremony held for families whose loved one passed away during the previous 12 months. If interested in hatsubon, please contact your local temple. Typically the same weekend is held an Obon dance, a Japanese dance tradition connected to this observance.
November: we observe a special service called Hoonko, which is a memorial for Shinran Shonin, the founder of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. This is our most important service of the year. Everyone is welcome to attend. For dates, times and locations of the services, please see our calendar.
December: Commemorating the day when the Buddha became enlightened as he sat beneath the Bodhi tree.
Year-end service (Joya-E)
On the last day of the year, we reflect on our lives and experiences, and express our gratitude to our Dharma friends for the kindness we have received throughout the year.
Other events and activities
Bazaars and Summer Festivals
Japanese food, children’s games, crafts and other goodies are available at our summer bazaar and festivals.