Utah Buddhists observe festival for deceased

By Pamela Manson, The Salt Lake Tribune, July 11, 2009

Salt Lake City, Utah (USA) -- OBON Named plaques of the members of the Buddhist temple who died since the last Obon are displayed in a place of reverence near the "Onaijin" inside the Buddhist Temple.

<< This plaque recognizing Shaku Kakugyo Kay Kiyoshi Terashima is one of seven at the front of the temple know as the Onaijin. The Salt Lake Buddhist Temple is celebrating the annual Obon Festival, the period of praying for the repose of the souls of one's ancestors, Saturday 7/11/09. Scott Sommerdorf / The Salt Lake Tribune (Scott Sommerdorf)

For almost 100 years, Buddhism has been a part of Utah life. And on Saturday, the Salt Lake Buddhist Temple commemorated followers who have gone before with its annual Oban festival.

The temple, a Jodo Shinshu sect that is affiliated with the Buddhist Churches of America, displayed a small plaque for each member who had died in the past year. Flowers decorated the altar and incense was burned as an offering.

The festival also included a Taiko drum performance, dancing and food.

The teachings of the sect, whose main temple is in Japan, are designed to help practitioners achieve enlightenment, according to Brenda Koga, who gave tours of the temple, 211 W. 100 South, which also is called Japantown Street. The Four Noble Truths center on the existence and causes of suffering, she said, and the Eightfold Path describes a way to end.

"I call it a guideline for living," Koga said.

Services, which are held on Sunday, are in English except for the chanting, which is a way to prepare the mind for meditation. Most members of the congregation are Japanese-American, but non-Asians also are part of the congregation.

One of them is Ernie Kayed, who is Koga's brother-in-law. He said non-Asians make up the biggest part of Buddhism's growth in the United States.

Kayed said Buddhism is respectful of all religions and considers the Golden Rule fundamental to its practice. Buddhism came to Utah in 1912 and there are about 10 different sects in the state, he said.

Karina Leetham, a teacher from Holladay, said she attended the festival to learn more about Buddhism. "I do respect the teachings of the Buddha," she said. "The way to not suffer is to help others."

Services are open to the public. Starting next week, the temple will close for six months for remodeling and expansion.

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Omniscient Robotic-Being for Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv. Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/norbuchatbot. Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv