Welcome to Reno Buddhist Center. This guide will outline some of the basic activities and protocols you may encounter or have questions about as you participate in our services/events.
Our standard service on alternating Sunday mornings is conducted by Staff priests and assitants. As you participate you will notice some differences from other services including the burning of the incense, sutra chanting, gassho (bowing) and the recitation of the nembutsu.
The service opens with the 3 homages - To The Buddha, The Dharma, and The Sangha. During the Shoshinge chanting the congregation will chant the Shoshinge using the service book. During the chanting, the congregation will come forward and burn incense in front of the altar. Oshoko or burning of the incense is symbolic of cleansing or opening the mind and preparing oneself to listen to the teachings or “dharma”. The Shoshinge is chanted to praise the virtues of the Buddha and can be chanted by anyone who reads English or Japanese.
Gassho is what you will see the congregation do as they come before the altar as well as when they recite the nembutsu. It is a bow done by placing the palms together comfortably in front of oneself with an onenju (Oh-Nen-Jew) encircling the hands.
The juzu or Onenju is a string of beads that holds a number of symbolic meanings within itself. However, when encircling the hands in gassho it represents the joining of the Amida Buddha with oneself. When this occurs, the individual usually will simultaneously recite the nembutsu.
The nembutsu is “Namo Amida Butsu” - "Na Man Da Bu" - "Na Man Da Butsu". The congregation will recite this phrase throughout the service as an expression of appreciation. Literally translated it means to take refuge in the Amida Buddha.
Donations to RBC are always welcome and should be offered as an expression of selfless giving (dana=dah-nah). It is standard protocol to donate for any occasion that instills a feeling of gratitude for the family or individual. The RBC operates solely on the basis of these donations and none of our staff are paid. Members usually offer a donation during special services (Ho-onko, Nirvana Day/Nehane, Ohigan-spring & fall, Hanamatsuri, Gotane, Obon and Bodhi Day). It is also the custom to give for funerals, memorials, weddings, birth of a child and whenever the temple provides a service or good to the member.
Generally, members will offer donations with either a check or cash enclosed in an envelope with their name written on it. For convenience, an address label can be used. Donations are often left in donation boxes available throughout RBC.
We appreciate your interest in our center and invite your continued attendance at our services and events.