- Written by: Nina Costales
Since not every member of the Sangha had a chance to see the virtual Hanamatsuri skit presented by the students of Dharma School, we thought it would be nice to share the poem that they used for the skit.
2020 was a year like no other.
We had to shelter in place and not see each other.
Our beautiful temple had to close its doors.
We could not have in person services any more.
With no picnic, bazaar, and camping last year.
We missed seeing our temple friends from far and near.
Thanks to Reverend Osa services have been over FaceBook live.
Reverend Osa deserves kudos and many high fives.
We can still chant Shoshinge each week with one another.
And recite the Golden Chain and Three Treasures together.
Although we cannot see each other’s warm smiles.
It’s nice that people can sign on from distant miles.
Virtual attendees are from all over the place.
It’s too bad we can’t see each other’s face.
Nevertheless, it’s wonderful that services continue on.
And it’s super convenient that we can attend with our pajamas on.
Services still look like the way we know them to be.
With the Golden Chain, Three Treasures, Ondokusan sung weekly.
Services are about forty-five minutes to one hour long.
And they always still end with the Sayonara song.
In the fall, Dharma School came back over Zoom.
It’s not the same as being together in our upstairs classroom.
But together we are every Sunday and that has been nice.
We’ve even had Dharma School parties at least twice.
We are keeping gratitude jars with much to be thankful for.
We are grateful for the family and friends that we adore.
We went on a virtual field trip to the aquarium in Monterey Bay.
We saw jelly fishes, penguins, and even otters at play.
Reverend Ken joined us for class one day.
He shared photos from his trip across the USA.
We’ve done scavenger hunts around our homes.
But so far no hunts to find a gnome.
We studied the Eightfold Path over several days.
And came up with this poem in lieu of a Hanamatsuri play.
Unlike past skits where we practiced together maybe once or twice.
We’ve been rehearsing this poem together several times so that has been nice.
All the while we have learned things about each other even while apart.
And have seen the kindness and compassion in everyone’s heart.
Did you know this about our dharma school?
Not only are the kids fun, bright, and cool.
Connor and Aidan both like broccoli.
Cara’s favorite fruit is a strawberry.
Aidan’s favorite fruit is a mango.
Zak’s favorite place to be is at Lake Tahoe.
Natalie likes to run in her free time.
Teacher Mayumi likes to write things that rhyme.
Christopher, Zak, and Owen like to play games on their computer.
Aidan wants to someday be a NBA player.
Taro, Owen, Zak, Christopher, and Cara’s favorite color is blue.
We learned Teacher Nancy likes Harry Potter as much as the kids do.
Christopher’s favorite candy are jelly beans.
Connor’s favorite color remains green.
Natalie’s favorite snack are cookies.
Cara likes to do cartwheels and climb up trees.
Being with friends is Owen’s favorite place to be.
Natalie’s favorite fruit are cherries.
Architects are what Zak and Taro want to be one day.
Taro’s birthday is just days away.
Aidan’s favorite candy are airheads.
Natalie’s favorite place to be is in bed.
Connor wants to be a pro soccer player.
Owen wants to become a game designer.
Being outside is Taro’s favorite place to be.
Christopher likes to eat celery.
Connor is playing club soccer again and is happy as can be.
Cara wants to be a nurse like her mommy.
We learned that the dharma school teachers do chores after class.
Laundry, cleaning, and errands they seem to amass.
Teacher Alice goes on walks with her dogs on Sunday.
While the students enjoy an afternoon that includes some sort of play.
On this Hanamatsuri we miss seeing you all.
We miss having udon and sandwiches together in Ohtani Hall.
Oh and let’s not forget all of the yummy sweets.
The jellos, the cream cheese puffs, and the rice krispy treats.
We miss seeing the beautiful flowers on the stage.
And chanting and singing together page after page.
We miss being able to ring the temple’s bell.
And seeing the wisps of incense and its smell.
We truly miss seeing everyone’s beautiful face.
And hope to soon be back at our special place.
Our beloved temple on Oregon Street.
We hope not far from now we can once again meet.
Until then everyone please stay safe and well.
Reach out to one another as there are surely stories to tell.
Thank you again Reverend Osa for bringing the dharma into our homes.
And to remind us that while apart we are not alone.
Thank you everyone for being here with us.
We hope you enjoyed our Hanamatsuri performance.
- Written by: Nina Costales
The temple’s Dharma School is in session during the academic school year from September to June and welcomes students from pre-K to the 8th grade. Students learn lessons on Jodo Shinshu Buddhism through crafts, stories, and activities. Dharma School teachers are volunteers from the temple. Classes are held on Sundays when the students are dismissed to class during the dharma talk for the adults. Depending on the number of students, classes may be divided by grade levels. Oftentimes, grade levels are combined.
(Click on the photos to open in a separate window.)
In addition to the weekly classes, the Dharma School goes on an annual field trip. Past field trips include visits to the Western Railway Museum, USS Hornet, Oakland fire station, Oakland Museum, Chabot Space & Science Center, Lawrence Hall of Science, and the Oakland Zoo.
The Dharma School students perform a skit during the Hanamatsuri Service and perform songs during the annual Keirokai Luncheon.
The Dharma School hosts parties during the year including Halloween, Bodhi Day, and at the end of the school year.
While Dharma School is not in session during the summer break, the Dharma School provides games and activities for the youth during the temple’s annual summer picnic.
For more information about the temple’s Dharma School, please contact the temple office.
Note: While the temple is closed due to the pandemic, Dharma School classes are being held weekly via Zoom at 11:00 a.m.
- Written by: Mayumi Beppu
The Dharma School meets every Sunday morning and is for children pre-school age through the 7th grade. Students learn about Jodo Shinshu through stories, arts and crafts, and discussions. In addition to our weekly classes, Dharma School activities include our annual Bodhi party, Hanamatsuri skit, and snow trip. Please see the temple calendar for dates and contact the temple office with any questions.