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                                                                 

Why we have so many denominations or sects in Buddhism?

Rev. Daido Baba

     Buddhism never teaches us to become a Buddhist. The teachings are a guide for all of us to live together in harmony.

     In Buddhism, there are many denominations or sects. The reason we have so many denominations and sects is because it depends on the person’s abilities.  Each denomination or sect has its own unique practices. The uniqueness of the practices caters to different people and their abilities and beliefs. It is just like climbing a mountain. To reach the top of a mountain, there are various ways, many choices. For example, you can take a ropeway or cable car, walk slowly on a gentle slope, attempt rock-climbing, take a helicopter, walk an easy path or hard path, and so on. There are many levels of difficulty, easy ones to difficult ones. Depending on your ability you can make a choice. If you have money, you can choose to take a helicopter. However, if you don’t have enough money, you cannot make that choice and have to walk to the top of mountain. Another example is if you are healthy and have a strong body, you can hike up the mountain. But, if you cannot walk, someone must carry you or drive you to reach the top. In the same way, Buddhism has many sects, many paths to reach enlightenment or awaken to the preciousness of your life. Depending on each human being, there are teachings that will fit you. So if you can do hard practices, you can choose to meditate under the waterfall. If you want to follow the monastic life, you can try not to eat food for one week.  

     In our Nembutsu teaching, we are taught that we don’t need to choose that kind of hard practices. Usually in Buddhism, each one of us has to practice hard to reach enlightenment. However, in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, our Buddha, Amida Buddha realized that we are incapable of following the difficult practices. So Amida Buddha puts his virtues into the Nembutsu, Namo Amida Butsu, and gave it to us.  Our practice is to recite the Nembutsu with gratitude for the working of Amida Buddha’s wisdom and compassion. The Nembutsu teaching is for all people, young and old, rich or poor, Japanese or of another nationality. Anybody can take the Nembutsu path to awaken to the preciousness of life. Let’s live with the Nembutsu teaching to make a peaceful and harmonious world. 

Namo Amida Butsu.

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.