Minister's Corner

Rimban Shindo Nishiyama
Buddha said, “We were born alone, come alone, and leave alone.” This sounds a little sad or negative; however, this is a very strong message for us to live by in this real life: In Japanese, “ICHIGO ICHIE”; in English, “One life time and one meeting”.
  There is a first meeting and there is a last meeting because life is impermanent. However we have the Onembutsu, which we can recite anytime and anywhere with everyone.

The Nembutsu is given by Amida Buddha’s Infinite Wisdom and Compassion to all living beings without any conditions. Shinran Shonin said, “The Nembutsu is true and real.” When we were born, the Buddha’s mind also began with us. It stayed with us, lived together and went together wherever we went. We were not  born  alone  nor  do  we live alone. The Nembutsu, “Namoamidabutsu”, is always living together with you and me anytime and anywhere, like our mother’s love.

I am often asked about the Nembutsu, Namoamidabutsu.  Most people ask, “Sensei, why do we recite the Nembutsu? Or, “What does the Nembutsu mean?”

Do you remember when you first said, “Mother, or Mom, or Mommy, or Okaasan?” When we call “Mom”, there is no question who we are calling.

“Mother” is understood by everyone. We have our own memories about our mothers.  The word “mother” brings loving care, sad tears, delicious bentos, cheerful smiles, and encouragement. We remember with a deep sense of gratitude. Someone told me that when he was in the service in WWII, he found that most soldiers, upon facing death in the battlefield, called out,  “Mom!” before they died. (Sorry but they didn’t call their wives). They all wanted their Mom or they wanted to have their moms as they faced death.

Jikoen Hongwanji’s long time very dedicated member, Mr. Kiyuna passed away on January 1, 2017. Last year in March, I was called by his daughter, Joyce, to visit  Mr. Kiyuna because he wasn’t eating, and the doctor told her Mr. Kiyuna has only a few days to live. So I went to see him and conducted bedside service with chanting. He was sleeping, but when I held his hands, he woke up and looked at me and said, “Sensei, I don’t go yet. I still have jobs at Jikoen”.

The day before he passed away, he told Joyce, “Mom is coming”, so she thought he meant his wife, Sally, so she said,  “ Mom is here”. But he said, “No big Mom is coming to me”.

The Nembutsu is like our “Mom, Mommy, Mama, and Okaasan” for everyone to say or recite easily anytime and anywhere.  When we recite, Namoamidabutsu, full of compassion and unending vows come to us.

We were born alone, come alone, and die alone, but my life and your life are always embraced by Amida Buddha’s great Compassion and Infinite Light and Life. We just recite Onembutsu with deep gratitude and receive it as we are. Namoamidabutsu has every- thing that we need. It’s the calling of the name, which is the path to be reborn into Nirvana. 

As your new Rimban, I am looking forward to seeing all of you Hilo Hongwanji Betsuin members and friends at our Sunday Service. Aloha and Mahalo in Gassho,


Rev. Bryan Siebuhr

Follow Rev.B@bsiebuhr on Twitter or on his website:

Still Searching This New Year

Happy New Year! 

 Thank you for your support throughout 2017 without which I would not have been able to receive the privilege   of transmitting the Dharma and to enjoy life within our temple community.  Though to be born into human life is rare, even more so is it to meet the Buddha Dharma.

     As in all of our lives, within 2017 there were many moments of joy as well as grief.  I cannot help but remember the sadness that many families endured, including  my own which I felt for the grieving families. Although the Buddha taught the truth of impermanence and with the words from Rennyo Shonins' White Ashes echoing   “ is a fragile as the morning dew clustered around the base of plants and the tiny droplets hanging from the tips of their leaves,” even knowing this to be true, we cannot help but grieve.

       This is the reason why the Buddha called us “common human beings filled with evil passions,”  knowing that Buddhist truths such as impermanence are easy to remember but nearly impossible for people like us to embody, living our lives in this world with all the everyday problems we face, far different from living life in a monastery far removed.  To not embody the teachings is no different from not knowing the teachings.

Surely there were also moments of elation and happiness such as the birth of a (child, grand-children, or great-grandchildren,) first birthday party,  high school or college graduation,  wedding,  promotion at work, your retirement enabling you more freedom, long term problem resolved, or to receive the kindness of others; not to forget what we mostly take for granted, the billions of causes and conditions inclusive of those I have listed  above which enable us to receive life moment to moment.  We all need such joy in life, and after all, because all things are impermanent, though joy does not last, neither does grief.

The truth is, all of the events I mentioned such as life, death, happiness, grief, and gratitude are all limited  within our fleeting and finite existence, change is constant.  Further, though we may feel great joy when if even for a moment we awaken to the world of the Infinite, this feeling doesn't remain very long due to our ignorance, anger, desires, and being trapped in our own karma. Trying to increase or eliminate the above mentioned is futile;  if you can't win, stop playing.

When we “stop playing,” we can hear the voice of the Buddha.  To “stop playing” means to abandon our self-efforts and calculation, though we should continue to chant the Sutra's as expedient means, listen to the Dharma, and recite the Nembutsu.

As for myself I will continue to search for as long as I am able to receive life in 2018.  Won't you join me?

Byran Masashi Siebuhr

Associate Minister


Rev. Daido Baba                                                                 


     Are you familiar with the Japanese word “Itadakimasu?” Japanese often say it before their meal. Then, do you know the meaning of “Itadakimasu.”? It doesn’t just mean, “Let’s eat.” The word Itadakimasu has a deeper meaning.

     Here, I’d like to introduce the meaning of “Itadakimasu.” The word “Itadakimasu” literally means, “to receive.”  So, we have to think, “What do we receive from each meal.” Do we just satisfy our hunger?  Do we just receive the nutrients?  Please realize that we receive the lives of the animals and plants. The plants and animals are sacrificing their lives in order to support and maintain our lives. We must be aware of that each time we receive a meal. That’s why Japanese say Itadakimasu.   

     So, the true meaning of Itadakimasu is “to receive many lives with respect and gratitude.” We should show our respect and truly appreciate the many lives by our right action. Japanese often say, “Eat every grain of rice, do not waste even one kernel of rice” or they say “You should never say, I don’t like this,” when you are served anything. In that way, Japanese show the right action.

     Besides our meal, we receive so many things such as, love, kindness, encouragement, money, a smile, and even someone’s time.  You may not realize it but you are receiving many things that enrich your life. Please think about what you are given in your daily life. And please show gratitude by your action. When you show your gratitude to others, that makes people happy. And then, that happy thought can spread from person to person. Your daily life will be filled with deeper appreciation which then changes to a happier life with others.  

Namo Amida Butsu (In gratitude)

In Gassho,

Daido Baba,

Associate Minister


There are basic ways to let others know who we are, who to contact and what our situation is, etc., in case of an emergency in the event we cannot communicate our needs. This is especially true for elders and those with medical challenges living alone. Here are some suggestions c/o of our Project Dana we should always have in our wallet or bag another can go to immediately in an emergency:

1. Photo Identification

2. Medicare/Insurance card(s)

3. Medical Prescription Drug card

4. Emergency Contact Name(s) & Phone

5. Doctor’s Name & Phone 

6. List of Medication(s) & dosages (include OTC)

7. Allergies to drug(s), others

If such items can be put TOGETHER in a laminated jacket so anyone needing the information won’t have to look all over for them, it would be certainly helpful. Let a capable family member or advocate help you keep these items together and readily accessible to those who need to know. One day at a time – take care.

Contact the ministers

Contact information: Office phone: 961-6677

Cell phones for emergencies only:

Rev. Bryan Siebuhr: 339-5250

all our office at 961-6677 for arrangements.