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"Dharma" refers to the teachings of Buddhism, the essence of which is the impermanent and interdependent nature of all life. But "Dharma" also refers to the everyday experiences of our lives that make these teachings come alive. That's why we say the Dharma is "living." Ultimately, The Living Dharma is about the compassion that naturally arises in us when we reflect deeply on what it means to be a human being.
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What Is Buddhism?
Why be a Buddhist?
Common Misconceptions About Buddhism
All about reincarnation, paganism, suffering, meditation, "prayer," and more
Frequently Asked Questions
We also have a special Buddhism 101 Page with frequently asked questions from students.
About West Covina Buddhist Temple
E-mail Us: We welcome your questions and comments.
Map: Please visit us if you are in the Southern California area.
Temple Calendar: Everyone is always welcome!
The Gateway: Read the current edition of WCBT's newsletter.
Videos:
An Introduction to West Covina Buddhist Temple: This video introduces the temple and the activities it offers.
A Brief History of Shin Buddhism From Shakyamuni to Today: This informative video traces the development of Shin Buddhism from Shakyamuni, Mahayana Buddhism, the Seven Masters, Shinran, Rennyo, and Kiyozawa.
Three Gathas: Our California temples combine to sing three popular gathas (songs).

Real World Buddhism
Buddhism is all around us everyday,
in all forms of media
New & Featured Articles:
How We Can Help Our Earth: Emerging trends in our environment appear to be warning signs that we can no longer take our planet's natural resources for granted; we must strive now to establish a sustainable future.
Peace, Harmony, and Co-existence: Rev. Kodo Umezu, Director of the Jodo Shinshu Center’s Center for Buddhist Education, was invited to give a talk at the United Nations, a very auspicious occasion. Buddhism, specifically Shin Buddhism, is slowly becoming more well-known internationally.
Richard Gere on Compassionate Action: In these excerpts from a recent interview, Gere gives us a fascinating insight into the true basis for his activism
Some earlier reviews of Buddhistic movies:
It's A Wonderful Life: About this classic and beloved film, Rev. Marvin Harada observes, "If we could only see what life would be like had we not been born, we would realize how truly fortunate we are to simply be in this world. With such a view of life, no amount of personal or business failure, no amount of misfortune or bad luck, no amount of trouble or turmoil could obstruct one from seeing that ultimately, life truly is wonderful."
Jedi-Shinshu/The Buddhist Heart of Star Wars: In his fascinating review, Frederick Brenion looks at the actions of Luke, Darth Vader, Obi-Wan and Yoda from a Jodo Shinshu perspective revolving around the key concepts of jiriki (self-power) and tariki (other-power).
Departures: This film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film of 2009, and is a heartfelt movie that follows a similar storyline to the book it is based on, Coffinman, by Shinmon Aoki. The film presents the Nembutsu teaching in a very emotional and dynamic manner. As reviewer Michael Jitosho states, "I felt refreshed after the movie was over, having encountered the Dharma in a different form and with a new understanding. Essentially, I was able to watch the teachings of the Nembutsu unfold in the life of this mortician."
American Beauty/A Movie Review by Peter Hata: This is a troubling film, because it critically examines the core values of our American middle-class lifestyle and dares to ask, "Is this really living?" But it’s also a beautifully moving film because the Kevin Spacey character, as someone who goes all the way to the "other shore," shares with us his extraordinarily relevant insights.
Groundhog Day: Groundhog Day is a Buddhist movie because of the "transformation" of the main character, played by Bill Murray. He becomes, as we would say in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, "a true human being," as opposed to the self-centered and arrogant person he starts out as.
The Living Dharma Library
Memorable Dharma talks, essays, retreats and seminars
New & Featured Articles:
WCBT 2013 Family Retreat: Interdependence: Not only did this retreat offer a refreshing escape from our urban Southern California environment to the beautifully scenic Central Coast, the weekend’s dynamic activities also provided a truly memorable glimpse into the essential truth of “interdependence.”
My Life with Buddhism: WCBT member Anthony Gutierrez shares his insight that, "I'm a person full of greed, anger and ignorance always thinking about myself. But now that I see these things in myself, there is room for understanding and compassion that I can show to others. In the end I believe I have found meaning in my life."
The Issue of Deviation in the History of the Honganji: In this essay, Rev. Peter Hata discusses the issue of "deviation" as highlighted in Yuien's Tannisho and finds that, as traditions transplanted from Japan to America, both Higashi and Nishi Honganjis today must "deviate" in order for Shin Buddhism to thrive in America, if not to simply survive. However, it isn’t the message of Shinran that needs changing; it is American Shin Buddhists as its “messengers” that, while staying true to Shinran, need to creatively find new and effective ways to communicate his message here in the West.
Growing the Sangha: Rev. Ron Miyamura, head minister of Chicago's Midwest Buddhist Temple, adds new insights regarding the issues facing our changing Shin Sanghas in 21st century America. Like most Buddhist temples located in urban centers, Rev. Miyamura notes the growing interest in Buddhism from Americans not from traditional Shin Buddhist families. As he states, "Obviously, the real growth of our Temple has to be from these non-traditional members. Additionally, it goes without saying, the future of our Temples depends on this group of new members. This is the real challenge for the next 20 years. I do not have a magic wand that I can wave to ensure our future. In recent years, we see a lot of initial interest in Buddhism, but we do not know how to transform that interest into a curiosity enough to join the Sangha."
Kids Pages!
WCBT's youth groups range from pre-schoolers through college-aged

Above: WCBT's Rev. Hata speaks to college-bound high schoolers on "Awakening the Student Within"

Above, WCBT's Bodhi Tree Band performs at WCBT's 50th Anniversary

Above: As an American Buddhist youth, Keith Miyake (top) is often asked, "Why Are You A Buddhist?"

Read the wonderful accounts of the summer adventures of WCBT's teens
The Living Dharma Bookstore
These are all highly recommended books (see more books in the store)
Please browse our selection of outstanding books on Buddhism

The Seeker, Part 1

The Seeker, Part 2

Buddhism: A Concise Introduction

Buddhism Plain and Simple

Jodo Shinshu: Shin Buddhism in Medieval Japan

Letters of the Nun Eshinni

Heard By Me

Buddhism of the Heart

Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations

Buddha in Your Backpack: Everyday Buddhism for Teens
The Tannisho Homepage
In his modern translation, Dr. Taitetsu Unno, Professor of Religion at Smith College, movingly captures the timeless essence of this Shin Buddhist classic.
Buddhist Glossary
What those Buddhist terms mean (a bibliographic reference)
E-mail Us: The Living Dharma website is an experiment to find new ways to share the timeless teachings of Buddhism on the World Wide Web. As such, we're interested in what you think of our site, and welcome your questions and comments. From time to time, we put a few of these on our various E-mail Pages (e-mail addresses omitted): Coming to Buddhism From Other Faiths, Buddhism and Death, Buddhism 101 (questions from students).
Map: Please feel welcome to visit us in person at West Covina Buddhist Temple. Since 1997, many people have visited WCBT...one couple even visited us from Belgium (while on vacation, of course)!
Temple Calendar: Everyone is always welcome at our Sunday Services, which usually start at 10:00 am. However, we occasionally have afternoon services, so check our Calendar first.
Temple Address:West Covina Buddhist Temple, 1203 W. Puente Ave, West Covina, CA 91790
Mailing Address: West Covina Buddhist Temple, PO Box 1616, West Covina, CA 91793
The Gateway: Read or download the current edition of WCBT's monthly newsletter, “The Gateway,” which offers not only a glimpse into temple events and people, but also Buddhist essays and responses to some of the interesting e-mail questions we receive from all over the web.
The Living Dharma Staff: These are the Sangha members who work on this website under the sponsorship of West Covina Buddhist Temple.
Buddhist Temple Locations and Recommended Buddhist Sites: Check here to find a Buddhist Temple to visit or join, or to browse our list of recommended Buddhist websites, all of which offer additional Buddhist teachings.

Hear "Living Dharma Music": Quicktime Midi and mp3 formats.
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