10:45 Singing Together
11:00 Sutra Recitation
Sutra recitation is one of the most essential practices in which Rissho Kosei-kai members engage. Through this religious practice, we offer our gratitude to the Eternal Buddha (the universal life) sustaining us all, to Shakyamuni Buddha who left us the Dharma teachings, to the many guardian deities protecting and guiding us, and to our ancestors who handed down the precious gift of life from generation to generation. If we compare our ancestors to the roots of a tree, the practice of our daily sutra recitation is like providing nutrients for the roots in the ground, so that we descendants can have fruitful lives. The continued practice of recitation gradually purifies even our subconscious mind which is often swayed by various defilements such as jealousy, greed, arrogance, anger, and ignorance.
By reciting with deep concentration, we can feel a sense of unity with the Eternal Life and Truth, and listen to the Buddha's words in our hearts. Thus we can move ahead on the Buddha Way step by step.
11:20 Testimonial and Dharma Talk
12:00 Hoza: Circle of Compassion
Hoza is a unique form of group counseling guided by an experienced leader. The members usually sit together in a circle, creating a warm, friendly atmosphere for open communication. The topics include all aspects of human life full of various joys and sorrows. When a member speaks about his or her problem, the others listen and respond with compassion, trying to understand the speaker's situation and feelings as their own and to seek solutions based on the Buddha's teachings.
Hoza not only helps individual people obtain relief from their deepest concerns, but also provides an opportunity for all the participants to gain new insights and enhance their spiritual growth. While they cultivate their hearts, they learn how to apply the Buddha's teachings to solve their problems in everyday life.
When genuine sharing and mutual understanding are achieved, all the members become aware of the buddha-nature both in themselves and in others.
The dynamism of hoza lies in the process of counseling others with compassion, encouraging them to achieve a spiritual awakening that leads to healing, and helping all the participants to manifest their buddha-nature in the workings of the Dharma.