Okazu by Gary Hongo

For 29 years, a group of Buddhist children has been coming to San Luis Buddhist Church (SLOBC) every July to spend 5 days exploring and enjoying the Central Coast. This annual retreat has its origin in 1987 when a handful of members from Nishi Hongwanji and Senshin Buddhist Temple, both in Los Angeles, attended a seminar regarding developing a program to enhance the growth of elementary age youth. The curriculum was aimed at 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders teaching not only the basics of math,
writing and language but also Buddhist culture. This program was held for 20 years at Nishi Hongwanji but now resides at Senshin Temple. Students in 4th, 5th and 6th grades were soon added to the program which is named Saishin Dojo Dharma School Program. “Sai” comes from “nishi” or “west” as in Nishi Hongwanji while “shin” comes from Senshin Temple. “Dojo” means a place for learning such as a school.

The first 4 weeks of the Saishin Dojo Dharma School Program are held in classrooms interspersed with field trips. The curriculum is taught by credentialed teachers some who are also Dharma School teachers. It’s a full day for the students who learn to make food such as tofu from scratch, chanting, Japanese language, meditation and temple etiquette to name a few. There are strict guidelines
that the students must abide by throughout the program and since real social interaction is mphasized, they cannot bring any cellphones, electronic games or toys with them. Space is limited in each of the grades and for a child to qualify, his/her parent(s) must be a member of a Buddhist church/temple (sect or country of origin does not matter). Sixth graders have the option of enrolling in the 5th week which is held at the San Luis Obispo Buddhist Church. Here they enjoy going on hikes at the Oceano
Sand Dunes and Lopez Lake, cool off at Mustang Water Slide Park, explore the tide pools at Montana Del Oro, spend a couple of hours at Dinosaur Cave Park, and “camp out” in the retreat cabins. It’s a kick for these “city slickers” when they see hawks, turkey vultures, gophers and other wildlife on the church premises. When not going on excursions, they practice daily meditation, conduct services,
and do arts and crafts. Although the meals are prepared by the kitchen staff, the students are responsible for serving and cleaning up.
6996 Ontario Rd., San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
(805) 595-2625
Res. Minister: Rev. Naomi Seijo Nakano
The Greatest Shoe Drive
Since March of 2018, SLOBC has been conducting a shoe drive in conjunction with San Jose Buddhist Church and Watsonville Buddhist Temple. This charitable event is to collect shoes of all types and condition which will be loaded into a cargo container and shipped to a Third World country in November of 2019. All types of shoes except flip flops or slippahs was the instructions we were relaying. We are 1/3rd of our goal at this point so we are making A BIG PUSH to collect as many pairs of shoes as possible, even flip flops or slippahs. San Jose has collected 77 bags (25 pairs in each bag), SLOBC 15 bags and Watsonville 12 bags. If you find that the front doors of our temple are
locked, just place your bag(s) of shoes outside the door. Hopefully, we will be able to collect at least enough shoes to make 5 more bags by the time the drive ends. So, clean out your closets, put those unneeded shoes in a bag and drop them off at the church. Mahalo.
Tues. 10/8/19:
People's Kitchen, 9am
 Basics of Jodo Shinshu, 6pm

Sat. 10/12/19:
Temple Clean up, 9am

Mon. 10/21/19:
Intro. to Buddhism, 6pm
If interested in donating, please email
The date and time are still TBD, but
we hope to post that information pretty soon!!