The Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Women’s Association (SBBWA)
is a part of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha temples all over the world. The National Federation (FBWA) has chapters in eight regional groups (districts); and is a member of the World Federation of Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha Buddhist Women’s Associations.
Our Mission is to cultivate religious awareness as Jodo Shinshu Buddhist women and promote fellowship among its members; to serve and support the Seattle Betsuin, and contribute services to the welfare of the community.
We are in a unique time where we are able to embrace our history and traditions, and also participate in reaching out to help shape our community.
With our Mission statement, we endeavor to cultivate Buddhist knowledge, support women, and experience Dana in our everyday lives.
We do so by encouraging members to attend the NW District, Federation, and World BWA conventions; often subsidizing the cost of registration; and coordinating hotel and convention reservations. We help sponsor the Women in Buddhism Seminar at the Betsuin each Fall and assist at the Kids Summer Program with knowledge and expertise.
We establish friendships through temple activities; organize fun things for ourselves: field trips to local sites; tours at convention cities; have two all membership events with games and entertainment; sponsor craft/cooking classes; make visits to retirement home; and we also enjoy ping pong, Tai Chi, softball, and bike riding over the I-90 bridge with fellow members.
We support special services and events at the temple through hospitality, cleaning, food preparation (Obon & Salmon Dinner), and serving on various committees.
We sponsor and help at community events, such as Hiroshima to Hope; ACRS’ Walk for Rice; prepare and serve dinners for the Orion Center (for homeless youths); distribute food at Food Bank at St. Mary’s, and show community support in Seattle parades and marches.
Women have been a integral part of the Seattle Betsuin’s history and activities from the first services in 1901. In 1908, nine members with Rev. Hoshin Fujii established the SBBWA (originally called the Fujinbu, later the Fujinkai).
By 1911, the 15 members supported activities including services, classes, sewing, food bazaars, outings, and visitations to homes and hospitals. Dues were 25 cents. In 1930 Mrs. Zendo Aoki, Rev. Aoki’s wife, became the first official SBBWA president of the membership of 133, until 1942 during incarceration. It was reactivated in 1946 with 146 members, and joined the newly formed National Women’s Federation in 1952. (now FBWA)
The NW District BWA hosted National Conferences here in 1963 with 819 delegates; in 1972, for nearly 1000; and in 1995 with 900. 368 members celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1983. Commemorative books were published for the 85th and 100th anniversaries. Presently our ageless group (from 18-100 years young) work tirelessly behind the scenes for the welfare of the temple and its membership.
A Memorial Service is held yearly where over all of our deceased members are honored. We feel that their contribution to our organization and the Betsuin is priceless and it is our way of remembering them with gratitude and affection.
published Jan. 2018