Common Japanese terms you may hear in our BCA temples
Note: In Japanese, to make many terms honorific, you can just add an "o" or "go" before the word, but it is not always the case. Some words below are shown with an "o" at the beginning while some are not.
ARIGATAI (ah-rhee-gah-tai): the profound state of gratitude or gratefulness.
BETSUIN (bet-tsHu-in): in the Hongwanji system, Betsuin temples serve as local administrative branch temples of the Hongwanji headquarters in Kyoto. Here in the BCA, temples with a membership over 1,000 members were considered eligible to apply for "betsuin status". Currently, there are five Betsuin temples in the BCA - Los Angeles, Fresno, San Jose, Sacramento and Seattle.
BONNO (bone-noh): the term used to describe the 108 passions/evils of humankind that tie us to the world of samsara. The traditional nenju has 108 beads representing these 108 evils and on New Year's Eve the temple bell is rung 108 times to represent the same 108 evils.
BONSHO (bone-show): the large temple bell (usually 4-6 feet in length) usually located in the courtyard or yard of the temple. The bonsho is a larger version of the kansho (kahn-show) which is rung to announce the start of the regular services. BCA temples with bonsho include Seattle, Fresno, Los Angeles, Salinas, Stockton, Gardena and Watsonville temples.
CAMP: While not a Japanese term, this term has a completely different meaning for Japanese American BCA members than the typical American connotation. When most Japanese Americans speak of "camp," they're talking about the American internment camps of World War II where most Japanese Americans were imprisoned and not some outdoor excursion you take in the summer. In Japanese-American lingo, the term is "kyanpu."
GO-BUNSHO (go-boon-show): in an age when mass communication was unheard of, Rennyo, the eighth Abbot of the Hongwanji wrote many letters to his followers during his term of office and many of these letters have been compiled together into what is now known as the Gobunsho, which have been faithfully listened to for more than 500 years. The most commonly read amongst his letters is the "Letter on White Ashes" (Hakkotsu-no-sho) which is read at all Shin funerals. more …