Join us for our Sunday morning gatherings on Zoom, open to everyone from 10am – 11:45 AM
The Salt Lake Buddhist Fellowship is made up of folks from all walks of American life. We are an American Buddhist Sangha. Our fellowship is a lay-led, all-inclusive, non-discriminating trans-sectarian Sangha influenced by the Pure Land Buddhist tradition and the teachings of Gyomay and Koyo Kubose. Our organization focuses on the universal teachings of Gautama Buddha, the historical Buddha. Our approach follows the teachings of the Way of Oneness, a unique form of American Buddhism developed by Venerable Rev. Gyomay Kubose based on the Shin-Zen tenets and teachings of Japanese Mahayana Buddhism. At the same time, we are administrative, financially, and politically independent and not part of any formal organizational hierarchy. Still, our spiritual leader is a Sensei with the Bright Dawn Center for Oneness Buddhism.
Our Practice Leader is Rev. Christopher “Kakuyo” Ross-Leibow. We have an open and engaged group with all levels of experience. In our tradition, we like to say, “come as you are…” there is no dress code and nothing you need to do but attend. The fellowship is a great place to learn about Buddhism, mindfulness, and the Way of Oneness.
Join us as we deeply explore ourselves and the Way of Oneness and to come to entrusting in the Oneness of Reality, personified as Amida Buddha. To deepen our appreciation, knowledge, and experience of the Mahayana Buddhist teachings and practices, we use readings from various Buddhist books and our rich personal experiences. We recognize the importance of practice. At the beginning of our gatherings, we discuss our awareness practices, from meditation to acts of compassion towards others and ourselves. We also recite inspirational prayers, practice zazen (quiet sitting), and conduct sacred chants using Om Namu Amitabhaya. Even though our studies are inspired by the Shin / Pure Land / Zen tradition, we are not formally any of them. Our sangha is trans-sectarian and learn from the whole tradition of Buddhist teachings and practices; we are open to the entirety of world spirituality. Our gatherings include quiet sitting and voice meditation, plenty of discussions, and fellowship. We would love for you to join us in practice.
“Namu Amida Butsu”
A Message from our Founder and Practice Leader
Sabbatical Announcement starting October 31st 2021
Today I am announcing that I will be taking a long-needed sabbatical from leading the sangha for the rest of this year. It’s time for me to spend some personal time, reflection time, and just time with my family.
Since we began our fellowship in the summer of 2013, I have spent over 400 Sundays with you. That is amazing. I remember those first Sundays so long ago now, never imagining that anyone would show up almost every Sunday for eight years.
I am looking forward to working on the Certified Dharma Teacher program, creating a draft for a new organizational structure of our fellowship for the next ten years and compiling a selection of dharma talks into a book, and hopefully, writing more poetry.
Our pandemic year has given us significant challenges and opportunities. It has been personally very challenging for me for numerous reasons, and I am simply exhausted, and I need a rest. Thank you, cruel adversity.
Years ago, when we first started, and now and then, some would come up to me and ask if I would be their “teacher,” which is common in other Buddhist traditions such a Zen. I would simply smile and say we do not do that in our tradition – we do not have a traditional “teacher-student” relationship because we are a lay-led sangha of ordinary human beings practicing together. What we do have is what are called spiritual friendships. We can do that – wanna get some coffee?
It’s interesting that every time someone has asked that question, they rarely have taken me or us up on that. I think that interaction is what a few years later gave birth to dharma coffee.
I bring this up because I think not meeting in person for so long has had the unattended side effect of some seeing me as their “teacher” in the traditional sense. As a Lay Led sangha, that is problematic, especially in a sangha inspired by the pure land where we are all bonbu foolish beings practicing from our delusion as best we can. There are no priests or gurus in our tradition; yes, students and practice leaders, yes, and in the future certified dharma teachers. And yet, even these certified dharma teachers are not some kind of Buddhist masters or monks or some unique awakened persons. They are just those well versed in our tradition of come as you are, namu Amida butsu, and foolish beings will always be lay-led.
This is important because when others set me up or any other person in a visible role in the sangha as something we are not, it can create conflict and dissension. It is not healthy for the longer-term success of our community.
I hope that going on sabbatical will allow others who have shown commitment to the fellowship an opportunity to be more visible in their leadership roles and help lead our community. It will also help all of us become more aware that there are many spiritual friends who are both students and teachers that can help us in our practice.
Christopher “Kakuyo” Ross-Leibow