Happy Birthday, Buddha

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The Los Angeles Buddhist Church Federation’s Hanamatsuri, a celebration of Sakyamuni Buddha’s birthday, was held April 7 at the Jodoshu North America Buddhist Missions in Little Tokyo. Above and below: The program opened with a performance of gagaku and bugaku (Japanese court music and dance) by Kinnara Gagaku, which along with Kinnara Taiko is part of a Buddhist study group associated with Senshin Buddhist Temple.

The service was conducted by ministers from LABCF member temples: Higashi Honganji, Jodo Shu, Koyasan, Long Beach Buddhist, Nichiren Shu, Nishi Hongwanji and Zenshuji.

An award ceremony was held for the children’s art contest, whose theme was “This Is Me.” Winners were chosen in four age categories — 0 to 3, 4 to 6, 7 to 9, and 10 and over. (See list below)

The commemorative lecture, “Buddhism and Women,” was given by Dr. Lori R. Meeks, associate professor of religion and East Asian languages and cultures at USC, co-director of USC’s Center for Japanese Religions and Culture, and author of “Hokkeji and the Re-emergence of Female Monastic Orders in Medieval Japan.” Her talk focused on the Buddha’s foster mother, Mahaprajapati, who became a religious leader in her own right.

Speakers included Bishop Noriaki Ito, president of LABCF, and Rev. Kodo Tanaka, chair of the 2013 Hanamatsuri Committee.

Art Contest Winners

Ages 0-3

Honorable Mention: Ann Li

Bronze: Mia Yamazaki

Silver: Jaylene Monica Gutierrez

Gold: Phoenix Hollenbeck

Ages 4-6

Honorable Mention: Shiono Ogikubo

Bronze: Seven Hollenbeck

Silver: Rinoa Kumazaki

Gold: Brody Velasquez

Ages 7-9

Honorable Mention: Miuno Ogikubo

Bronze: Reiko Tanaka

Silver: Kokoro Kumazaki

Gold: Kuga Yamasaki

Ages 10 and Over

Honorable Mention: Katherine Lew

Bronze: Ryuichi Nishimura

Silver: Maki Shigetani

Gold: Sakurako Yamaguchi

Chairman’s Prize

Takuto Kumazaki

Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo

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