Later this year (Sept 16-18) IOBT will be hosting the 75th Northwest Buddhist Convention and also celebrating our 75th Anniversary of the temple! Because the pandemic has made everything so uncertain, we are holding out hope that things will get back to normal. We HOPE to have the convention in person with guests here from around the Northwest. We HOPE to gather together to have meaningful services, discussions, and workshops. Most importantly, we HOPE to have fun together as fellow Jodo Shinshu Buddhists.
You might be wondering what the convention theme is all about. We thought, since we are celebrating our temple’s 75th anniversary, that the theme should focus on the history of our Northwest temples AND then look ahead to our influence on the future of Buddhism in our region and our country.
First I want to share some reflections on our temple’s past. I’ve been looking at many old photos with my mom. These pictures bring back memories of our temple’s past. There are photos of our Sunday School/Dharma School classes with a dozen children in a class.
Here our Sunday School students and teachers gather on the steps of IOBT in 1965
The basement was filled with noise when all the partitions were opened and all of us children were busily coloring and reading the lessons. There are photos of Hanamatsuri programs. There we are in our costumes participating in dances, skits, and choirs.
I think about the photographs of our ministers in the hallway. From Rev. Shibata to Rev. Ohata, Rev. Takemura, Rev. Hirota, Rev. Sawada, Rev. Hasegawa, Rev. Tada, Rev. Fujimoto, and now Rev. Hirano assisted by Rev. Anne and Rev. Kathy.
Rev. Shibata was our first minister. He and his family arrived from Heart Mountain where they had been interned during WWII.
All of these teachers have made their mark on Idaho-Oregon Buddhist Temple. We found photos of the Easter egg hunts, the Santa Claus handing out gifts at the Christmas/holiday party, and the ochigo 稚児 processions. All of these memories and many more make up our past and make our temple what it is today.
The second part of the theme is important for us to consider today. What about the future of Idaho-Oregon Buddhist Temple? How do we share our understanding of the Buddhist Teachings and the writings and teachings of Shinran Shonin with others? How do we make Buddhism an important part of daily life? How do we make our temple relevant to the wider community? In the past, we have been able to use Japan Nite/Obon Festival to showcase the temple. Now we are able to offer online services one Sunday a month as well as online Dharma discussions twice a month, which are drawing participants from around the region and around the country. Rev. Anne keeps the temple’s Facebook page fresh. We have updated the temple’s website www.iobt.org with new information and, of course, this new blog, “Hometown Buddhism” which we hope will help convey the gentle and family-friendly mood of our Buddhist community here in rural Oregon. There’s much more that we can do once the pandemic has waned, and we can open our front doors (new ones, by the way) to real people!
We hope you will consider helping us plan this convention, and we encourage you to step up and offer your ideas, energy, and talents. We all have something to offer in this endeavor. It is our opportunity to show our gratitude to the Issei/first generation and Nisei/second generation who worked so hard to make Idaho-Oregon Buddhist Temple possible. It is our opportunity and privilege to repay this debt of gratitude.
Leave a comment or send us an email at
We HOPE you can join us!
Rev. Kathy Chatterton