July 9-15, 2007 Jodo Shinshu Center Berkeley, CA
Having taken part in the 2007 BCA YAC Youth Retreat, I was delighted to further my profound knowledge in Buddhism, along with creating new friendships. Having three fellow participants from my church previously attending this retreat, I was thrilled to also take part in this retreat. I had never been to any Buddhist conference or convention and I didn’t know any of the other kids or supervisors. Hesitant and timid at first, I had later become more sociable, meeting and talking with the other members. Not to mention the great accommodations we had at the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley, California where we began our unforgettable journey.
Everyday was a very full day, waking up at 7 a.m., going to three services a day, attending workshops and meals until we would finally go to sleep in the late hours of the night. I had absorbed a great deal of the history and facts of Buddhism. For example, how we can practice to achieve the goal of enlightenment and not control what’s outside, but what’s in ourselves. I also learned that all things are impermanent and nothing exists independently. We exist from the sacrifices others have made for us to live. I had taken many things for granted until I realized and appreciated everything that I have been able to do. There have been various people who have made my life much easier and have done so much. I’m sure there are many young Buddhists who may attend church just going through the actions. Yet they may not fully understand why they recite the Nembutsu or give oshoko. Attending this retreat has given me a better understanding of my religion and has made me appreciate it so much more. I had the experience of a lifetime meeting the Bishop, visiting the stupa of the holy remains of Sakyamuni Buddha and participating in the daily services. In addition to this, we were all given the responsibility to present a Dharma talk in one of the services. We had also learned the proper Onaijin etiquette, how to hit the kansho and orchestrate service. With practicing each day, we had all become comfortable and content.
I am so grateful that people like Keith Sawada and Susan Bottari put together these retreats so that young adults like myself are given the chance to practice and learn more about their religion. It takes an incredible amount of time and patience to pull something off like this. My experience and memories I’ve made will stay with me for the rest of my life. Thank you!
Mimi Kameshige, Idaho-Oregon Buddhist Temple