4/3/22 Hanamatsuri Service with Rev. Kusunoki


Hanamatsuri – Flower Festival Sangha Service
Sunday — April 3rd —10:30 am
With Special Guest Reverend Katsuya Kusunoki
Our supervising minister from the Seattle Betsuin
In person, live on Facebook, and through Zoom

Spokane Buddhist Temple’s Hanamatsuri Service, literally flower festival, commemorates the birth of Siddhartha Gautama, who became enlightened and is known as Buddha. Reverend Katsuya Kusunoki, from the Seattle Betsuin (Temple) will give the Dharma message. The service is in person, live on Facebook and on Zoom. Email SpokaneBuddhistTemple@gmail.com for the zoom link. All are welcome, Buddhist or not.

According to our tradition, the historical Buddha, Sakyamuni, was born in Nepal on April 8, 566 B.C. He was born the son of King Suddohana and Queen Maya. There are many flowery descriptions of the scene at his birth, including celestial birds singing beautiful songs, beautiful flowers, and a sweet gentle rain bathing the baby Buddha. It is not necessarily the beauty of the flowers, the sounds of the celestial birds, nor the sweet gentle rain that fell, but the vibrant fact that on this day was born the greatest of sentient beings who became the Enlightened One, the Buddha.

A special altar—the Hanamido—is erected and decorated with flowers representing the garden in Lumbini, southern Nepal, where it is said that Queen Maya went into labor. A statue of the infant Buddha is placed in a pan and, in a ritual known as kanbutsu, water or sweet tea is poured over it in remembrance of the “sweet rain” that descended from heaven at the moment of his birth. Everyone has the opportunity to bathe the baby Buddha.

Reverend Katsuya Kusunoki is the Head Minister of the Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple. Sensei was born in Nagasaki, Japan, the second son of a temple family. Today his older brother Naoya is the 17th generation of their family to serve their family temple. Sensei is a graduate of Miyazaki University where he majored in primary education and his hobby is to watch and play baseball and softball. While a college student he took a break and spent almost two and a half years in a Japanese volunteer program similar to the Peace Corps in America coaching baseball in Zimbabwe before returning to Japan to complete his studies. After graduating he spent three years teaching 3rd and 6th grade classes before deciding to become a minister.

Sensei’s advanced training includes the Hongwanji-ha Rituals course for leaders (Gonshiki). He is a Hongwanji-ha certified Special Rituals Minister, a certificate only he and our former minister Rev. Sala Sekiya hold within the Buddhist Churches of America. Sensei’s first assignment in America was to the Lodi Buddhist Temple in 2010 and he was transferred to Seattle in April of 2017. Sensei and his wife Ayano have a son, Yuiya, who was born in September 2016.