Welcome to the Nichiren Shu Temple site of Portland Oregon!

 Join us in service at the Treasure Tower Temple of Portland Oregon.  All forms of Buddhism and all religions are invited to participate and ask questions. Sunday service is at 10 am and followed by social hour which includes tea and food.  Please check the Monthly Calendar for event times and days.

 

Where Can We Meet the Buddha?

In today's world it has become increasingly difficult to encounter the Buddha, someone whose very presence inspires peace and love in the depths of one's being. The Lotus Sutra tells us that the Buddha is among us now, just as he was present with the assembly at Mt. Sacred Eagle thousands of years ago. If so, why can't we see him? Why can we not feel his presence? Is it because we have never truly searched? The lotus Sutra tells us to seek the Buddha with all our hearts, even at the cost of our lives. With whole hearted dedication and sincerity, we open our eyes to the life of the Buddha that has been hidden from us behind the transient joys and sorrows of daily life. Do we really have a sincere desire to come into the presence of the Buddha? If so, then that desire should be acted upon and expressed. To make that possible, the Nichiren Order invite you to participate in its Sunday services and other activities, so that together we may see and encounter the Buddha.

 

Where Can We Learn the Dharma?

In today's society, many people are unaware that 2,500 years ago Sakyamuni Buddha explained that hard realities of life and the inner poisons that prevent us from finding any lasting self-fulfillment. The Buddha taught the way to liberate ourselves from this turmoil while creating harmony in our daily lives.

Many people today are unaware of the Merits of the teachings [Dharma] of the Buddha. They engage in alternative solutions to their problems. These solutions range from the conventional to the desperate. Some people try to solve their problems through medical and physical therapy, while others try to find a solution in the form of drug or alcohol abuse. However, very few discover and embrace the gentle wisdom of the Dharma. In the Lotus Sutra, Sakyamuni Buddha specifically entrusted the Dharma to us. In this age of spiritual confusion and emptiness we must incorporate the Dharma into our live as well as assist others to do the same. The Nichiren Order invites everyone to come to the Temple for Sunday morning services and other activities to discover the Dharma for themselves.

 

Where Can we Join the Sangha?

Many Buddhists think of the Sangha as referring only to the Buddhist clergy. Sakyamuni Buddha, however, considered the Sangha to be those who actually transform their lives by living in accordance with the Dharma. the Sangha consists of all those who in the effort to attain Buddha hood, assist all sentient beings in doing the same. Joining the Sangha does not mean that one must be a monk or a nun. All that is needed is a sincere aspiration for enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. When many people come together to encourage each other and to share in this aspiration, a genuine spiritual community is created. This is the Sangha which brings real benefit to the world. Nichiren Order recognizes this need for a genuine spiritual community and invites you to participate in the Sangha through participation in its Sunday services and other activities.

Dharma:

Text from the Nichiren Order of North America

May 29, 2017 Rose City Sermon

Nikkei Memorial Day Service

We gather here today in appreciation for our ancestors, many of whom persevered
through the hardship of immigrating to a land and culture, which at first must have been
mysterious and daunting. While all immigrants are confronted with the need to relearn a
new language and to accustom themselves to a new culture, the immigrants who are
interred here were further burdened by the precipitous reality of a war that was not of
their choosing.

Despite the harrowing experience of internment, these immigrants managed to provide
for their families and contributed to rebuilding a civil society after the war. We must here
recognize the harsh physical and mental trial that they had undergone and appreciate their
precious lessons from which we today can draw and build, to carry on the torch to make
our society a better one.

But, what exactly are the lessons of our ancestors? I am told that Executive Order 9066
allowed but two weeks for many of the Japanese in Portland to sell off all that they owned
or to abandon them outright, and report to an assembly point such as the Expo Center
with nothing more than what they could fit into a suitcase. How much could one fit into a
suitcase? In reality, the most that they could manage to salvage was the shirt on their
backs. Nonetheless, this is just as well, because it was not the material things, as precious
as they may have been, that was important. Our parents and grandparents were careful
not to forget their real treasures, things that cannot be packed in a suitcase. These were
things tucked away deep within their hearts, such as their ideals, values, and attitudes
passed on to them from their parents. I am referring to what the Japanese would call
kokoro or “heart”, the feelings of deference, respect, and empathy for others.

The early immigrants staunchly upheld virtues such as trustworthiness, kindness,
fairness, generosity, compassion, modesty, and altruism, even when faced with the reality
of losing their lawful rights as citizens. All of this, they did without grievance or dissension.
Despite everything against them, no one, not even the guards pointing guns at them at
Minidoka could take away their confidence and pride that what they stood for was not
wrong. Stripped of everything, the only aim of each of our ancestors interred here was but
to dedicate their lives to present a pure and beautiful example to the next generation,
something that their children could keep with them forever.

We are living in a tumultuous point in time in which much of what we have come to
believe as honorable are ignored or marginalized. We live in a high-tech world that
appears faster and better than that of our parents, yet much of cyberspace is fraught with
dubious information, which has helped to cause havoc in elections across the globe. There
are leaders who frantically try to maintain power by exterminating their own citizens with
sarin gas without an ounce of remorse. There are persons seeking positions in office who
should know better, but easily lose control of themselves, erupting in brutality as has
happened in the assault of a reporter by a candidate on the eve of his election. There are
those who see victory in the taking of innocent lives as an apparatus for publicity, as was
the motive of the most recent bombing in Manchester. There are people who seek to
silence and eradicate those who support equality and justice just as has happened locally
at the Hollywood MAX station on Friday. Instability, deceit, and anger pervades our
society. Disrespect and negligence of life is possibly the most arrogant act that can be
committed by humans. Despite all our advancements in science and technology, nothing
has improved man’s partiality for discord and violence.


We, as descendants of those who quietly opposed ignorance and irrationality fueled by
hate and racism seventy-five years ago, are uniquely qualified to pass on our ancestor’s
lessons that are now more relevant than ever. The sacrifice of our parents, grandparents,
relatives, and friends who had undergone so much suffering during the war should not be
forgotten. We owe it to them to lead our generation to create a society of peace and
harmony, and to assure that the generations who follow us will know what were in the
minds and kokoro of our ancestors. This is why we are here today--to show our
appreciation for our ancestors’ strong conviction of decency, justice, and leadership, and
to reaffirm that we will continue to preserve the legacy of their endeavors.

(Eisei Ikenaga)
 

May 28, 2017 Sermon

The 57th International Art Exhibition, featuring 85 national pavilions, is on full display in
Venice, Italy, until November 26. With the refuge crisis in places such as Syria, and many
leaders advocating nationalism, many of the art exhibits have focused on universal
themes. One such entry is of a group called Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK). Normally, one
would assume that only established sovereign nation-states are allowed to have their own
booth. But, that NSK has a booth of its own suggests that they are a viable entity. In any
case, the organizers of the event have approved their entry. I looked at the NSK website,
and the following is what they claim:


The NSK State was created in 1992 by the groups comprising the Slovene
arts collective Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK). Amongst others these included
the groups Laibach, IRWIN, Noordung, New Collectivism and the Department
of Pure and Applied Philosophy. Neue Slowenische Kunst was founded in
Ljubljana in 1984 as socialist Yugoslavia began to fracture. By the end of that
decade the NSK groups had gained a reputation across Western Europe,
America and Japan. NSK works and actions have commented on many of the
political events of the last two decades and NSK is now widely acknowledged
to have played a key role in the political and cultural history of Slovenia and
former Yugoslavia, even being credited with playing a role in the pluralisation
of society and culture in 1980s Slovenia.

The NSK State was created in the aftermath of Slovene independence. It
has carried out a series of temporary ‘Embassy’ and ‘Consulate’ events in
locations including Moscow, Ghent, Berlin and Sarajevo plus other collective
actions. The State is conceived as a utopian formation which has no physical
territory and is not identified with any existing national state. It is inherently
transnational and describes itself as ‘the first global state of the universe.’ It
issues passports to anyone who is prepared to identify with its founding
principles and citizenship is open to all regardless of national, sexual, religious
or other status. It now has several thousand citizens across numerous
countries and all continents, including a large number in Nigeria. The NSK
State itself is a collective cultural work, formed by both the iconography and
statements of its founders and its citizens’ responses to these and to the
existence of the state. It is also part of the wider ‘Micronations’ movement
which has grown increasingly visible and received growing critical and
theoretical attention in recent years. (http://times.nskstate.com/about-nsk/)
As you can see, they mention that they are a utopian state with no borders. Its citizens are
members of the world, so to speak.


The ambition of the NSK reminds one of Lenin's experiment, which for all practical
purposes, has been proven to be too pure for the selfish tendencies of humans.
Nevertheless, it is interesting if only to imagine whether such a state is possible. The NSK
wants us to jettison our ethnic identities. We can all try, but this is not so easy. First of all,
what language would we speak? Is there a certain kind of food that we should all like?
Which customs should we follow? Their intentions are noble, but would losing one's
ethnicity alone deter racial prejudice and war between nations?

I wish that it would. A world without borders would be ideal. It would simplify all our
problems, would it not? A perfect world where there is no cause for animosity or
aggression sounds like a perfect Buddha World, does it not?


What the NSK proposes, however, does not ascribe much confidence in what humans
are capable of. It says, let us not even allow a situation in which people are different, so
that we can avoid any perception of inequality. The problem is that if even one person in
this world refuses to envision or embrace this utopia, then this utopia would not be
achievable. How would the Buddha see this?

The Buddha begins with the premise that this world and the people in it are less than
perfect. People cannot be expected to think alike or want the same thing. Rather, the
Buddha embraces the fact that each individual has unique qualities to offer our society.
Different abilities and different personalities are necessary for a well-rounded society. The
issue here is not to compel people to live in a borderless world, but to explore the wisdom
of living cooperatively in a messy world with borders. The Buddha would say that our
world is better because we have challenges. That is, solutions can only be had with
conflict. The idea of the NSK is provocative, but it places a mental burden on people to
erase physical borders that will never disappear. Even if all physical borders can be torn
down, leave it to people to find a reason to constantly create new barriers. What the NSK
fails to realize is that the barriers to peace and harmony lie within ourselves. Unless we
begin by tearing down the barriers within ourselves, there can be no utopia.
(Eisei Ikenaga)