Services at the Spokane Buddhist Temple

The regular Sunday Morning Service starts at 10:30 AM, and is primarily in English. After our service, we meet in the basement for light refreshments. All are welcome to join. Our doors open at 10:00 AM.

Frequently we have a service hosted by a visiting Reverend, which is always in English and very rarely also repeated in Japanese. Sometimes these services are at 3:00 PM. Please check the newsletter or calendar for more details about our upcoming services.

Service information: (followed by explanation of terms.)

Our main temple hall is called a Hondo*. It is here that we gather for services. It is a typical church like setting with pews and a service book. The shrine - Gohonzon* - is located in the front center.

The ringing of the Kansho* signifies the beginning of our service. We begin with a moment of quiet meditation.

During the service, we are led in the chanting of the Sutras*. We chant aloud in unison in the traditional style. The chants are based on Chinese translations of the sutras, but spoken with Japanese pronounciations of the characters. Chants are not spoken for comprehension, rather they are spoken to help quiet the mind. Nevertheless, each chant has an English translation available on the page, and chanting instructions are availble in the front of the service book. We recite the Nembutsu* after chanting the sutras.

We may sing a Gatha*, followed by a recitation of The Three Treasures*.

We end our service with O-Shoko*, the burning of incense. This is an opportunity to show respect and gratitude for the Dharma* (Buddhist teachings) and the Buddha. It is a symbolic act which represents the transience of existence. We bow in Gassho* putting the hands together to signify the oneness of Buddha and all beings. It is customary to use an O-juzu* around your hands at this offering.

Intro to Buddhism is an informal gathering held occassionally either before or after a special event. We may view a video, or have a book study about Buddhist Dharma. It is an opportunity for people to gather, to ask questions, share their insights, and share each other's company over light refreshments.

We also get together for informal dharma discussions (some called Dharmalogues) either before or after services, or on special occasions. Please check the newsletter or calendar on this website.

Buddhist Service Terms:

Hondo - "the main hall". The Hondo is divided into two parts; the alter area and the seating area. Incense is burned to purify the air and to create the proper atmosphere.

Gohonzon - "honorific-principal-object of reverence", the main or principal object of reverence in a Buddhist temple. In Jodoshinshu, the Ghhonzon is Amida Buddha. We do not worship the image of Amida Buddha, but rather bow in reverence before the wisdom and compassion that the Amida Buddha represents.

Kansho - "the calling bell". It is rung immediately before the start of service to call the members of the Sangha (the Buddhist community).

Chanting Sutras - Sutras are the scriptures which convey the Buddha's teaching. They have been translated from the Pali language into Japanese, Tibetan, Chinese. We chant aloud in unison in the traditional style, following what fellow Buddhists chanted for centuries before us. Chanting requires disipline and focus, bringing on a quieting of the mind.

The Nembutsu -"think Buddha". In Pure Land Buddhism, we say the words Namo Amida Butsu (I take refuge in the Buddha Amida). In Jodoshinsu, the Nembutsu is not a mantra, meditation, or practice which leads to Enlightment, but rather the expression of Shinjin, the receiving of the True or Buddha Mind.

Gassho - "joined palms", Anjali in Sanskrit. Among Buddhists throughout the world, this is used to express hello, goodbye and thank you. As a gesture of reverence for the Buddha, Gassho is performed with a deep bow from the waist called Raihai.

Gatha - the teachings of the Buddha. These are teachings written in verse form, sung in praise of the virtues of the Buddha.

The Three Treasures - Variously called the Triple-Gem Ti-Sarana, Tri-Ratna, etc., the Three Treasures is the basic affirmation of Buddhism. The Three Treasures of Buddhism are the Buddha (an enlightened person), the Dharma (the body of truth a Buddha becomes enlightened to), and the Sangha (the community that tries to live its life based on the Buddha's teaching). It is the ritual of reciting: "I take refuge in the Buddha". "I take refuge in the Dharma". "I take refuge in the Sangha".

O-Shoko - "honorific incense burning". One steps in front of the Koro (incense burner), bows once, takes a pinch of Oko (ground incense), and sprinkles it over the embers in the burner, bows in Gassho with the O-juzu around the hands, bows once again, then retires.

O-juzu - "thought beads". The O-juzu encircles the hands during Gassho and O-Shoko, symbolizing our Oneness with Amida Buddha.

Temple Donations: Gokifu - "honorific-collect-give".
Our temple is supported by a traditional system of donations for services, special speakers, classes, newsletter and major Buddhist holidays. When cash or checks are given, it is placed in an envelope with the name of the donor, and put in the offering box at the entrance of the Hondo, or mailed to the Temple.
Suggested monthly pledges as follows:

$20.00 - Individual

Sangha members who are experiencing financial difficulties or on a limited income will be asked only to pledge an amount within their ability.
If you do not wish to participate in Temple activities but do wish to receive the monthly newsletter, we ask for a donation of $15.00 per year to cover the cost of printing and postage.

©2019 Spokane Buddhist Temple - All Rights Reserved
927 S. Perry Street - Spokane, WA. 99202
(509) 534-7954 -