Farewell Dear Friends

“‎Imagine that every person in the world is enlightened but you. They are all your teachers, each doing just the right things to help you learn perfect patience, perfect wisdom, perfect compassion.”  The Buddha


Dear Sangha,
 It is often said a long journey starts with one step. At this stage of my life I have taken many first steps. In January Daniel and I will be starting a new journey returning to our home in Fresno. Every stage of my life I have met many people who have shaped my views and hopefully made me a little wiser.

My time at Placer has been a great opportunity for me to grow as a minster. I have  been able to become a better minister due to the generous support of the Placer Sangha. I remember how welcoming everyone was when we first arrived at the Church. Daniel and I had an open house to thank everyone for their support.

I chose the opening passage for I feel it contains important Buddhist teachings in a condensed way.
As the passage says that everyone is our teachers, not just the minister. We all learn and grow from each other. “Fellow Travelers”

“Perfect” means Buddhistically orientated.

Perfect Patience: We all need to practice this in order to lead more meaningful lives and to help others.

Perfect Wisdom: Wisdom in this case is not intelligence, rather appreciation for the Buddhist teachings. Having the “wisdom” to understand and practice the Buddhist path.

Perfect Compassion: The ultimate compassion shared with everyone.

I wish further happiness to the Placer Sangha. I will miss all of you. I will always be part of the Placer Sangha as it is part of the larger Jodo Shinshu Sangha.

Feel free to contact me at my new email address: senseirye@gmail.com

In Gassho,

Rev. Kurt


Our Mission Statement:

The Placer Buddhist Church strives to nurture compassion, mindfulness, gratitude, peace, tolerance, inclusiveness, and spiritual exploration by providing a place where everyone is welcome. Our mission is to continuously learn and live the Buddhist Teachings to reduce suffering and support our lives and the lives around us.  We offer an open door to sharing these teachings, as well as friendship and community.

Our Contact Information:

Placer Buddhist Church
3192 Boyington Road
Penryn, CA 95663
(916) 652-6139

Kurt W. Rye,
Resident Minister:
please note that Rev. Rye will no longer be the resident minister after January 1, 2019

Funeral Service Information and Pillow Service Request

If unable to contact Rev. Rye, please  please call  Ed Nakamoto at 916 632-3454.

 Our Service Information

There will only be three services in December:
December 2        Monthy Memorial Service at 10:00 AM
December 9        Bodhi Day Service at 10:00 AM
December 31      New Year’s Service at 7:30 PM

Everyone is welcomed to attend our services.  


Our Founder — Shinran Shonin

Our Founder–Shinran Shonin
Shin­ran Shonin (1173–1263) was born at the close of the Heian period, when polit­i­cal power was pass­ing from the impe­r­ial court into the hands of war­rior clans. It was dur­ing this era when the old order was crum­bling, how­ever, that Japan­ese Bud­dhism, which had been declin­ing into for­mal­ism for sev­eral cen­turies, under­went intense renewal, giv­ing birth to new paths to enlight­en­ment and spread­ing to every level of society.

Shin­ran was born into the aris­to­cratic Hino fam­ily, a branch of the Fuji­wara clan, and his father, Ari­nori, at one time served at court. At the age of nine, how­ever, Shin­ran entered the Tendai tem­ple on Mt. Hiei, where he spent twenty years in monas­tic life. From the famil­iar­ity with Bud­dhist writ­ings appar­ent in his later works, it is clear that he exerted great effort in his stud­ies dur­ing this period. He prob­a­bly also per­formed such prac­tices as con­tin­u­ous recita­tion of the nem­butsu for pro­longed periods.


After twenty years, how­ever, he despaired of ever attain­ing awak­en­ing through such dis­ci­pline and study; he was also dis­cour­aged by the deep cor­rup­tion that per­vaded the moun­tain monastery. Years ear­lier, Honen Shonin (1133–1212) had descended Mt. Hiei and begun teach­ing a rad­i­cally new under­stand­ing of reli­gious prac­tice, declar­ing that all self-generated efforts toward enlight­en­ment were tainted by attach­ments and there­fore mean­ing­less. Instead of such prac­tice, one should sim­ply say the nem­butsu, not as a con­tem­pla­tive exer­cise or means of gain­ing merit, but by way of wholly entrust­ing one­self to Amida’s Vow to bring all beings to enlightenment.

When he was twenty-nine, Shin­ran under­took a long retreat at Rokkakudo tem­ple in Kyoto to deter­mine his future course. At dawn on the ninety-fifth day, Prince Shotoku appeared to him in a dream. Shin­ran took this as a sign that he should seek out Honen, and went to hear his teach­ing daily for a hun­dred days. He then aban­doned his for­mer Tendai prac­tices and joined Honen’s movement.


At this time, how­ever, the estab­lished tem­ples were grow­ing jeal­ous of Honen, and in 1207 they suc­ceeded in gain­ing a gov­ern­ment ban on his nem­butsu teach­ing. Sev­eral fol­low­ers were exe­cuted, and Honen and oth­ers, includ­ing Shin­ran, were ban­ished from the capital.

Shin­ran was stripped of his priest­hood, given a layman’s name, and exiled to Echigo (Niigata) on the Japan Sea coast. About this time, he mar­ried Eshinni and began rais­ing a fam­ily. He declared him­self “nei­ther monk nor lay­man.” Though inca­pable of ful­fill­ing monas­tic dis­ci­pline or good works, pre­cisely because of this, he was grasped by Amida’s com­pas­sion­ate activ­ity. He there­fore chose for him­self the name Gutoku, “foolish/shaven,” indi­cat­ing the futil­ity of attach­ment to one’s own intel­lect and goodness.

He was par­doned after five years, but decided not to return to Kyoto. Instead, in 1214, at the age of forty-two, he made his way into the Kanto region, where he spread the nem­butsu teach­ing for twenty years, build­ing a large move­ment among the peas­ants and lower samurai.

Return to Kyoto

Then, in his six­ties, Shin­ran began a new life, return­ing to Kyoto to devote his final three decades to writ­ing. He did not give ser­mons or teach dis­ci­ples, but lived with rel­a­tives, sup­ported by gifts from his fol­low­ers in the Kanto area. After his wife returned to Echigo to over­see prop­erty there, he was tended by his youngest daugh­ter, Kakushinni.

It is from this period that most of his writ­ings stem. He com­pleted his major work, pop­u­larly known as Kyo­gyoshin­sho, and com­posed hun­dreds of hymns in which he ren­dered the Chi­nese scrip­tures acces­si­ble to ordi­nary peo­ple. At this time, prob­lems in under­stand­ing the teach­ing arose among his fol­low­ers in the Kanto area, and he wrote numer­ous let­ters and com­men­taries seek­ing to resolve them.

There were peo­ple who asserted that one should strive to say the nem­butsu as often as pos­si­ble, and oth­ers who insisted that true entrust­ing was man­i­fested in say­ing the nem­butsu only once, leav­ing all else to Amida. Shin­ran rejected both sides as human con­trivance based on attach­ment to the nem­butsu as one’s own good act. Since gen­uine nem­butsu arises from true entrust­ing that is Amida’s work­ing in a per­son, the num­ber of times it is said is irrelevant.

Fur­ther, there were some who claimed that since Amida’s Vow was intended to save peo­ple inca­pable of good, one should feel free to com­mit evil. For Shin­ran, how­ever, eman­ci­pa­tion meant free­dom not to do what­ever one wished, but free­dom from bondage to the claims of ego­cen­tric desires and emo­tions. He there­fore wrote that with deep trust in Amida’s Vow, one came to gen­uine aware­ness of one’s own evil.

Near the end of his life, Shin­ran was forced to dis­own his eldest son Zen­ran, who caused dis­rup­tions among the Kanto fol­low­ing by claim­ing to have received a secret teach­ing from Shin­ran. Nev­er­the­less, his cre­ative energy con­tin­ued to his death at ninety, and his works man­i­fest an increas­ingly rich, mature, and artic­u­late vision of human exis­tence that reveals him to be one of Japan’s most pro­found and orig­i­nal reli­gious thinkers.