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Your First Visit

Thank you for considering a visit to historic Enmanji Buddhist Temple.

Upon entering our temple ("hondo" in Japanese), please sit in any pew. As a respectful gesture, we request that you turn off your cell phone and keep conversation to a minimum especially after the ringing of the bell (kansho)


The main or central object of reverence is a scroll on the altar (onaijin) representing Amida Buddha (The Buddha of Infinite Light and Life). The officiating minister is seated on the right side of the scroll and any guest minister(s) and/of minister's assistant(s) are seated on the left.

The service will commence with the tolling of the temple bell, which invites us to listen to the Dharma (teachings of the Buddha). You will notice a distinct number number of sounds (7-5-3), all prominent numbers in Buddhist cosmology.

Burning of Incense (oshoko)

This symbolic act of purification, before the service begins, prepares one to listen to the Buddha's teaching. Oshoko represents one's desire to enter a realm of purity and equality.

The Tradition of Oshoko

  • Bow slightly about two or three paces in front of the altar (just passed the carpet)

  • Stepping forward with your left foot, approach the incense burner

  • With your right hand, take a small pinch of ground incense (in the little tray) and place in the burner

  • Place your hands together (Gassho - practice of gratitude and respect to the Buddha), your hands encircled by beads (onenju or ojuzu), then say the Nembutsu (Namo Amida Butsu, Namandabutsu, Namandabu, Namandab), and bow

  • Starting with your right foot, take two or three steps back and bow again with hands by your side


Note: the beads (onenju or ojuzu) is carried in the left hand or worn on the wrist, when not encircling hands in gassho - to remind us of our blind passions. Nembutsu is always said before and after chanting and after Dharma talks.

Order of Service

  1. Nembutsu: recite Namo Amida Butsu

  2. Opening Gatha: everyone rises to sing a gatha (hymn) as an offering; this practice is a musical way of expressing gratitude for the Buddha's teachings. Please remain standing for the following recitation

  3. Three Treasures of the Golden Chain: recitation of either teaching reminds us of the most basic Buddhist teachings which can be practiced by everyone,, whether one is Buddhist or not

  4. Sutra Chanting: is done to praise the virtues of the Buddha, and learn Buddha's teachings. Passages are recited in a transliterated, Japanese pronunciation of texts written in classical Chinese. Literal English translations appear at the bottom of the pages in the purple service book

  5. Dharma Message (sermon): the minister will deliver a message intended to help us to understand the teachings of the Buddha, or Shinran Shonin, the founder of our Jodo Shinshu sect

  6. Closing Gatha: last hymn before closing of the service


A receptacle is located at the front. The temple, ministers, and programs offered throughout the year are supported by our members as an expression of their gratitude for being able to hear and live the teachings. If you also feel a sense of gratitude for this service, we welcome and gratefully accept any donation.

Please join us for refreshments in the hall following the service!

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