Inside This Issue

3.11 8th Memorial of the 2011 Japan Earthquake   1-2

Autumn O-Higan Service                                                               2

Adelaide dojo celebrate their 10th Year Anniversay              2

Dharma message by Rev George Gatenby                               3

Successful Clean up Australia Day 2019                  3-4

Cowra Festival of International Understanding       4


The Eighth Commemoration of the 2011 Japan Earthquake

3.11 East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Recovery Charity Event

TSU-NA-GU on Monday 11 March 2019

Eight years have passed since the huge earthquake and tsunami struck north-east of Japan on 11 March 2011.

This tragedy left more than eighteen thousand people dead or missing.  We can never forget the images we saw on television that day of the black, wall-like tsunami rushing over the Sendai Plain at tremendous speed. The images of many fishermen  bravely heading out to sea in order to safeguard their vessels are also etched deeply into our minds.

The nuclear power plant accident, which followed the earthquake and tsunami, has forced many people to leave the places where they used to live because of radioactive contamination. Efforts are being made to improve the situation, but our hearts ache to think of the people who are even now unable to go back to their own homes.

The Japanese community, Japan Club of Sydney, where Rev Watanabe gives support as one of the board members for more than a decade, once again organised a special commemorative ceremony as part of the “Rainbow Project”. It was held on 11 March at Sydney Mechanic’s School of Arts in Sydney City where over two hundred fifty people gathered.


After the opening remarks from the master of ceremony, and welcome message was extended from Ms Yukiko Hirano, the chairperson of Rainbow project. Rev Watanabe delivered a message and chanted a sutra. Then he lead a minute’s silence, called “Mokuto” at exactly 4:46pm (2:46pm Japan time), which is the precise moment that the 9.0 magnitude undersea earthquake hit.

During the ceremony, we all extended our deepest sympathy to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami, and we sent our thoughts to Japan.

This ceremony was followed by watching documentary movies of those affected areas. During this event, there was a home made Bento sale, fundraising market of traditional Japanese craft items.

This event was a great success and was supported by many Sydneysiders and also visitors from Japan.    In Gassho,


Autumn O-Higan / Equinox Day Service

24  March 2019

On 24 March, the final day of O-Higan week, we gathered at the HBMA Hondo to commemorate those who were reborn into Amida Buddha’s Pure Land. As we are now enjoying the most beautiful time of the year, let us appreciate all of our surroundings and of course Buddha’s supporting arms too!

In Gassho,


Ten years of the Adelaide Shin Buddhist Dojo

Friday 15 March marked ten years since Rev Watanabe and the two donors of a wonderful obutsudan travelled to Adelaide to dedicate a small Shin Buddhist centre in our city.

Our dojo is very small. It seats no more than six people. Its ‘temple’ name is Jokyo-an – Jokyo’s place. It is where I teach the dharma and worship each day. While our little dojo is maintained by two members of the Hongwanji Buddhist Mission of Australia, for most people living here on the far-eastern reaches of the Indian Ocean Sydney is a long way to travel.

We do not ask our members to join us except for our meetings, which we hold twice a month on Sunday. But it is hard for people to pin themselves down to a regular time. So only a regular small cohort of rarely more than three people meet regularly on Sunday mornings. Far more people call in at special times to suit themselves. We talk about their lives and the dharma, sometimes we study a text. But always share a cup of tea and spend some time with the nembutsu.

At our Sunday meetings we dedicate Dharma time to reading a special text. Over the ten years these have included The Tanni Sho, Rennyo Shonin’s Commentary of the Shoshin Nembutsu Ge and the Sayings of Rennyo Shonin. Recently, we have begun to study the poems of Issa, which we love.

That is the story of our little dojo. If ever you are in Adelaide, do call in – for a cup of tea and Dharma chat.                                    In Gassho,

Rev George Gatenby


Let’s us join Hana Matsuri ! Sunday  7 April  11 am~

Please join us for our Hana Matsuri service, which celebrates Shakyamuni Buddha’s birthday! Rev Mark Healsmith will be sharing a Dharma talk in English. Those who plan to attend, please bring one dish, so we can share and enjoy our lunch. Your support will be much appreciated.

In Gassho

Shin Buddhism in a Nutshell


The Name is meant to be easy to say for the person unfamiliar with even a single character and ignorant of the lines of discourse in the sutras and commentaries … (The Tanni Sho 12; CWS, p. 668)


One wonderful and succinct guide to the nembutsu way is a short letter by Rennyo Shonin. It is a brief summary of Jodo Shinshu entitled Matsudai muchi sho – Those lacking wisdom in the latter age.  You can find it on page 61 of the Jodo Shinshu Service Book.

It begins:

‘Laymen and laywomen in the latter age who lack wisdom should deeply rely on Amida Buddha with singleness of heart, entrusting themselves single-mindedly and unwaveringly for their emancipation, without turning their thoughts to other matters.’

This translation makes it sound as though Rennyo is speaking as a priest to sangha members who are not ordained. However, in Jodo Shinshu we are all ‘true friends and fellow followers of the path’ (dobo, dogyo). In Jodo Shinshu, there is no intrinsic difference between priest and lay.

In fact, Rennyo is addressing people who have little or no knowledge of the Buddha Dharma at all – its scriptures and philosophy. And I think he is speaking to me, because knowledge is a conceit that may even hinder us from accepting Amida Buddha’s entrusting heart (shinjin). The truth is that we are all ignorant when it comes to the enlightenment of a Buddha.

The ‘latter age’ is mappo, the age of declining Dharma. We know we live in the ‘latter age’ because the three unwholesome roots — greed, anger and delusion — pose as virtues. We are constantly bombarded with marketing strategies that are intended to inflame our desires and appetites, so we are encouraged to compete for everything; public life is based on constant argument and hostility, so we are invited to be angry all the time; and we are encouraged to believe that we should try not to get old and frail, so we may become deluded about the realities of old age, sickness and death.

Knowing that we lack wisdom is the first hint of the working of the light of Amida Buddha in our lives. It is liberating; it brings brightness. It also means that we are more inclined to seek wisdom in others and less likely to be hostile and argumentative. We know we are not always right, and that other people are not necessarily always wrong. Living in harmony becomes more possible.

If we know we lack wisdom, we are more willing to turn towards its absolute source: Amida Buddha. We become ready to listen to the Dharma, and to hear the call of his Primal Vow in Namo Amida Butsu. Eventually, through hearing the Dharma, beings come to know that they can entrust themselves unwaveringly in Amida Buddha and not seek any other source of spiritual light in their lives.

Rennyo continues:

‘However deep and heavy their evil karma may be, Amida Tathagata unfailingly saves them.’

Amida Buddha takes in beings of evil karma, unwise and foolish, just like this, just as they are, without the slightest hesitation or discrimination.

Then they enter the joyous, free and fruitful life of nembutsu.

Rennyo concludes this wonderful summary of the Dharma by saying:

‘This is the essence of the Eighteenth Vow that assures our birth in the Pure Land through the nembutsu.

‘Once our heart is thus settled, we should say the nembutsu, whether awake or asleep, for as long as we live.’

In Gassho,          Rev George Gatenby


Another Successful Clean Up Australia Day! at Lane Cove National Park on 3 March 2019

Again this year, on 3 March, HBMA members and friends participated in the 30th Annual “Clean Up Australia Day”, at Lane Cove National Park, together with Japanese community groups, such as the Japan Club of Sydney (JCS) – where Rev Watanabe volunteers as a vice president-, and the Japanese Society of Sydney (JSS).

This event was a another great success with over 120 people taking their part.

During a national week of action more than 680,000 volunteers across 6,834 sites have removed an estimated 15,000 tonnes of rubbish from their favourite parks, beaches, bushland, suburban streets and waterways across nation.

We gathered at the Lane Cove National Park at around 9:30 am and a person who is in charge of the Clean Up event and one of the park rangers explained how and where to collect rubbish in the park. Then Mr Takewaka, the Consul-General of Japan in Sydney welcomed everyone to this event, then the representative of the Japanese Society of Sydney and myself as Vice-President of Japan Club of Sydney shared their greetings.

After taking a group photo, we grabbed garbage bags and scattered into the park.

After collecting much rubbish, we gathered once again for the BBQ lunch. We all enjoyed a delicious lunch together and had fun talking about each of our own personal clean up day experiences.

We all hope this event will grow every year. Australians have taken a very simple idea and run with it. All we need to do is just get out to one of the sites or we can create a new site to clean up. Anyone could do this and make a difference rather than just sitting back and thinking about it.

Pip Kiernan, the new Chair of Clean Up Australia, speaking from the foreshore of Sydney Harbour where it all began 30 years ago, noted how proud she is to see so many more Australians taking up the challenge to continue her Dad’s crusade against rubbish.

“It’s amazing to see so many people are as passionate about looking after the environment as Dad was; I am confident that together we can continue to grow Clean Up Australia Day well into the future,” said Pip Kiernan.

“I would like to thank our wonderful volunteers, who have once again joined together to donate their time and energy to remove rubbish and litter that has been carelessly discarded. I am in awe of their unparalleled ability to turn our belief that change starts with you into action.”

“Clean Up belongs to the people and I am delighted that they have made the annual event the largest community mobilisation activity in the country, bringing friends, families, neighbours, team-mates and colleagues together. We should all be proud of our outstanding success.”

Thank you for those who participated in this meaningful event.

In Gassho,


Joined Cowra Festival of International Understanding

16 & 17 March 2019

Many Japanese groups in Australia gathered together in the town of Peace, Cowra, on 16 and 17 March to join “Cowra Festival of International Understanding”, as their guest nation was Japan for the second time since 1966.

Rev Watanabe joined the Bus Tour which organised by Japanese Society of Sydney. The day one, we all joined the parade, and the day two, we visited Cowra Japanese cemetery to pay our respect as this is 75th year since the Cowara Brakeout took place.

Then we also visited the Brakeout site and Japanese Garden. It was so fortunate I was able to see my longtime friend, Mr Don Kibbler who is now in a nursing home.  In Gassho,