Eastern Buddhist League Conference

September 1, 2 & 3, 2017

Click to view a Message from our Conference Chairman

Midwest Buddhist Temple

435 W. Menomonee Street

Chicago, Il 60614

Our conference theme is “North American Buddhism: A Path Forward“. Shin Buddhism has been present in America for over 100 years and we will explore ways to grow Buddhism in North America by building diverse Sanghas. To that end, we’ve planned a series of seminars that will generate ideas and actions that we can take back to our temples.

We are honored to have Reverend Kurt Rye from Placer Buddhist Church as our Keynote Speaker.

EBL conferences are a time for recreation and renewing acquaintances, and there’ll be time for fun and fellowship.

We hope you’ll find everything you need to plan your participation in the conference and if we can help you in any way – just use the “Contact Us” form and we’ll do what ever we can to assist you. We hope to see you in September.

To navigate this site just scroll up/down or use the tabs at the top of the page to jump to sections.

Conference Highlights

(as of 8/22)

This year we plan to have all events (services, seminars, workshops, and hospitality) take place at our temple. This means there will be no centrally booked hotel and out-of-town participants are asked to make your own arrangements for hotel or other accommodations.

We’ve pulled together some information that should give out of town attendees a range of affordable and convenient options – select “Accommodations” from the top menu. If you have any questions or need assistance just let us know by selecting “Contact Us” from the top menu.

Seminars are scheduled throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday (see full conference schedule below). Attendees can participate in the breakout session of their choice – pre-registration is not necessary. Following are seminar titles and descriptions.

Seminar One A: “Diversity and Inclusion Panel”
This panel will discuss issues related to celebrating diversity and inclusion for building and maintaining a thriving Sangha.

Seminar One B: “Selfless Giving”
Discussion on Buddhism and “Selfless Giving” and exploring ways we can give back to the local and broader community of which we are a part.

Seminar Two: “A Path Forward”
Keynote seminar led by Reverend Rye related to the theme of this year’s conference on the many paths that we are moving toward in North American Buddhism.

Seminar Three A: “325% Differences Panel”
As the Buddha taught, we should always question our beliefs and to know things by our own experiences. A panel will discuss the concept of “Buddhism and…” which speaks to the idea that people within the Sangha can and do identify with multiple religious and spiritual beliefs.

Seminar Three B: “Buddhism and the Environment”
An outdoor seminar (weather permitting) to learn more about the teachings of Buddhism in connection to our relationship with nature and the environment.

Seminar – Conducted in Japanese

Seminar Four A: “TED Talks”
An opportunity for participants to give short talks on issues of interest. Participants will sign up in advance of the session to receive a time and give a brief overview of what they will be discussing.

Seminar Four B: “Dharma School Brainstorming Panel”
A panel where participants can brainstorm ideas on maintaining and growing a successful Dharma School program.

Seminar – Conducted in Japanese

We are honored to have Reverend Kurt Rye as our Keynote speaker. Rev. Rye is a familiar name to members of the Eastern District as he served at Ekoji Buddhist Temple for several years. We look forward to Rev. Rye’s discussion about our conference theme – “North American Buddhism: A Path Forward”.

Rev. Rye’s bio:

Rev. Kurt Rye was born in Anchorage, Alaska, but his early years were spent in the Washington, D.C. metro area. He moved to Washington state in high school and graduated with a B.A. in psychology from Evergreen State College in 1985. He started his career working with the chronically mentally ill population in Seattle. He then moved to Japan and for four years, taught English in Tokyo, where he was exposed to Buddhism. He attended the English Buddhist Academy in Tokyo and had the opportunity to take several courses on Japanese Buddhism at Taisho University.

Upon his return to Seattle, he became an active member of the Seattle Betsuin under the guidance of Rev. Don Castro. During this period he managed a housing program for homeless clients with mental illness to help them become stable and move on to more permanent housing.

In the fall of 2003, he received his Tokudo ordination and started attending the Institute for Buddhist Studies (IBS) in January of 2004. He graduated in the fall of 2007, received his Kyoshi certification in December 2007, and his Kaikyoshi certification in April 2009. He joined the Fresno Betsuin as an associate minister in April 2008. In January 2013, he transferred to the Ekoji Temple. In September 2015, he became the resident minister at the Placer Buddhist Church.

Learn and share Obon dances while meeting with friends! Join the Midwest Buddhist Temple Minyo Group for a fun and entertaining workshop on Japanese folk dancing.

Follow these links for more information about the MBT Minyo Group and Obon.

When: Saturday from 4:00 to 6:00 pm
Where: MBT Social Hall
Cost: Free to all conference attendees
Registration: Sign up via the conference registration form

See full conference schedule below

In this workshop, Jason Matsumoto and Ryan Toguri of Ho Etsu Taiko will introduce you to new drills and new patterns as they focus on how to play Taiko with energy and spirit! To help tailor the workshop, participants should expect to receive a short pre-workshop survey via email.

Learn more about Ho Etsu Taiko.

When: Saturday from 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Where: MBT Social Hall
Cost: Free to all conference attendees
Registration: Sign up via the conference registration form

see full conference schedule below

Enjoy gaming in a Vagas style casino. No admission charge, free soft drinks only. We will provide transportation to and from the casino at no charge. Must be 21 with valid ID. Available return times based on driver’s availability.

When: Saturday from 6:00 pm to 11:30 pm (check with driver for return time)
Where: Leaving from MBT – casino to be determined
Cost: No cost for transportation or admission – attendees will be on their own for dinner and other individual expenses incurred
Registration: Sign up via the conference registration form
Special Note: you must be 21 or older and carry a valid ID such as a driver’s license to enter the casino

see full conference schedule below

Revolution Brewery is Illinois’ largest independently owned brewery. The brewery houses 8-800 barrel fermenters with which they fill kegs, cans and bottles for distribution. Before or after the tour, you may enjoy many of the different beers and ales that they produce. Must be 21 to take the tour.

When: Saturday from 6:45 to 9:00 pm (check with driver for return time)
Where: Leaving from MBT
Cost: $5 per individual (includes 2 drinks and souvenir cup). No cost for transportation. Attendees will be on their own for food (check our the THINGS TO DO tab for restaurant recommendations) and other individual expenses incurred.
Registration: Sign up via the conference registration form
Special Note: you must be 21 or older and carry a valid ID such as a driver’s license

see full conference schedule below

We are collecting information from our members and friends about their favorite Chicago activities – places they like to take their out-of-town guests to Show Off our great city.

  • Museums, walking tours, restaurants, music venues – all the hidden treasures that only the “locals” know about

We are in the process of collecting these recommendations and will post them under the “Things to Do” tab so you can plan your free time in Chicago.

Conference Schedule

(as of 8/22)

Friday – Sep 1

12:00 – 09:00 pm Registration/Luggage Hold/Coffee
05:00 – 09:00 pm Hospitality
06:00 – 07:00 pm Meet the Ministers
07:00 – 09:00 pm Buddhist Women’s Association Meeting

Saturday – Sep 2

07:30 – 08:30 am Ministers’ Breakfast (Nookies)
08:00 – 08:45 am Yoga
08:00 – 09:00 am Conference Registration
08:00 – 09:00 am Continental Breakfast

09:00 – 10:30 am Opening Service
09:30 – 12:00 pm Dharma School Activity

10:30 – 11:15 pm Ice-Breaker
11:15 – 12:00 pm Lunch

12:00 – 01:00 pm Sandwich Making for Shelters

01:00 – 02:15 pm Seminar One A: Diversity and Inclusion Panel
01:00 – 02:15 pm Seminar One B: Selfless Giving
01:00 – 02:15 pm Dharma School Activity
02:15 – 02:30 pm Break

02:30 – 03:30 pm Public Talk – Rev. Rye

Conference ends for the day – optional activities below:

03:30 – 05:30 pm Optional Activity to Deliver Sandwiches to Shelters

04:00 – 06:00 pm Obon Workshop

06:00 – 11:30 pm Optional Activity Casino outing

06:45 – 09:00 pm Optional Activity Micro Brewery Tour (new time)

07:00 – 09:00 pm Taiko Workshop

Sunday – Sep 3

08:00 – 08:45 am Zen Shin Meditation
08:00 – 09:00 am Continental Breakfast

09:00 – 10:00 am Sunday Service
09:30 – 11:45 am Dharma School Activity

10:15 – 11:45 am Seminar Two: A Path Forward
11:45 – 01:00 pm Lunch

01:00 – 02:15 pm Seminar Three A: 325% Differences Panel
01:00 – 02:15 pm Seminar Three B: Buddhism and the Environment
01:00 – 02:15 pm Seminar – conducted in Japanese
01:00 – 02:30 pm Dharma School Activity
02:15 – 02:30 pm Break

02:30 – 04:00 pm Seminar Four A – TED Talks
02:30 – 04:00 pm Seminar Four B – Dharma School Brainstorming Panel
02:30 – 04:00 pm Seminar – conducted in Japanese
04:00 – 04:15 pm Break

04:15 – 05:00 pm Closing Service
05:00 – 07:00 pm Chicken Teriyaki Barbecue


Things to know about Registration

  • All attendees are required to register –  families or couples can register on a single form

  • FULL Registration

    • All weekend activities taking place at MBT including services, seminars, workshops, lunches and the Sunday barbeque
    • After July 31, 2017 the Registration Cost is $125 (USD) per attendee
    • Children under 16 are free – but must be identified on the registration form
    • Taiko and Obon Workshops are free but please list participants on the registration form
    • Optional activities (casino trip and brewery tour) are at the expense of the participant (must be 21 or older and carry a valid id) – transportation is provided but we request a count of participants on the registration form
  • SUNDAY ONLY Registration

    • Sunday only activities taking place at MBT including the Sunday barbeque
    • Cost is $40 (USD) per attendee
    • Children under 16 are free – but must be identified on the registration form
  • TRANSPORTATION Registration (for out of town travelers only)

    • One form is required for each individual or group traveling together
    • Identify type of travel (air, train, car) and arrival/departure dates and time
    • Identify whether airport pickup/dropoff is desired

(scroll down for more)

How to Register & Pay

Step 1: Download the form(s) you need

Click to open the type of form you need (requires a PDF reader)

Step 2: Fill out your form


  • Print the form and complete it by hand – when done go to step 3.

by Computer (requires Adobe Reader ver 11 or higher):

  • After updating the form save it on your hard drive. When done go to step 3

Step 3: Pay Your Registration Fee

The deadline for payment is July 31, 2017 – after that the Full Registration fee will increase by $25.

By Check:

  • Make your check payable to Midwest Buddhist Temple and write “EBL 2017” in the memo field
  • Return your check along with your registration form

Online via PayPal (a 3% PayPal processing fee will be added):

  • Click here to pay online – you’ll be transferred to a page where you can select the type of fee (Full or Sunday only)

Step 4: Return your completed form (and fee) to MBT

via email:

  • If you’ve previously saved your completed form(s) on your computer then attach it to an email addressed to ebl.registration@mbtchicago.org
  • If you’ve a completed “paper” form and want to email it back to us you can either scan or take a picture of your completed form(s) and then attach the image to an email addressed to ebl.registration@mbtchicago.org

via U.S. Mail:

  • Mail your completed form(s) – if you’re paying by check remember to include your check in the envelope:

Midwest Buddhist Temple – attn: Elaine Miyamura
435 W. Menomonee St.
Chicago, Illinois 60614

Need help or have questions?

To get help with anything just use the Contact Us form (from the navigation bar at the top). If you have a question specific to Registration you can send an email to ebl.registration@mbtchicago.org

We hope to see you in September!


Big change for our 2017 EBL Conference – no centrally booked hotel

To minimize registration fees, all events will take place at MBT. There will be no centrally booked hotel and out-of-town participants are asked to make your own arrangements for hotel or other accommodations. On this page we provide some information that may help you find accommodations that best fit your needs.

Researching your accommodations

Chicago is divided into distinct neighborhoods, like downtown’s Loop and MBT’s Old Town/Lincoln Park areas. The map below shows some neighborhoods that are conveniently located near MBT. You can then decide if you want to look for a traditional hotel or possibly go the route of home/apartment rental options such as AirBnB or VRBO. Either way, below are some resources that may be helpful in your research.

Non-Hotel Options


You may be able to find a Home/Apartment vacation rental option closely located to the temple at a reasonable price (possibly even share with other attendees). Vacation rentals have become a popular alternative to traditional hotels – particularly in large cities. In Chicago you can research the following websites. For reference, our Temple is located in Old Town very and near the Lincoln Park neighborhood at:

Midwest Buddhist Temple
435 W. Menomonee St.
Chicago, Illinois 60614

Hotel Options

We have reserved a small number of rooms at the Hotel Lincoln, 1816 N. Clark Street, a 10-minute walk to MBT. Standard double rooms are available for $239/night plus tax. If you are interested in reserving a room at the Hotel Lincoln or if you have any questions, please send an email to Carol Baba or Kiku Taura at the following email address: ebl.lodging@mbtchicago.org.

Hotels by Neighborhood

The following hotels range in price between $140-200 based on published prices for one night, single room, double occupancy (prices near O’Hare Airport will tend to be cheaper). The approximate (distance) to MBT as well as contact information are listed for each hotel. You can use the Chicago Transit Authority app to research your commute options.

Remember, you must book your own accommodations so we suggest you start your research early and check with each hotel as prices/availability are constantly subject to change.


Inn at Lincoln Park (1.8 mi)  phone: 866-774-7275 website

Chicago Getaway Hostel (1.1 mi) phone: 773-929-5380 website


Westin Michigan Ave (2.0 mi) phone: 312-943-7200 website

Millennium Knickerbocker (2.1 mi) phone: 312-751-8100 website

Dewitt Hotel and Suites (2.3 mi) phone: 312-642-7020 website

The Whitehall Hotel (2.1 mi) phone: 312-944-6300 website

The Drake Hotel (2.0 mi) phone: 312-787-2200 website

FreehandChicago (2.5 mi) phone: 312-940-3699 website

DoubleTree by Hilton (3.2 mi) phone: 312-787-6100 website

Homewood Suites by Hilton (2.5 mi) phone: 312-644-2222 website


The Hollander (2.2 mi) phone: 872-315-3080 website


Central Loop Hotel (3.1 mi) phone: 312-601-3525 website

The Palmer House Hilton (3.9 mi) phone: 312-726-7500 website

Congress Plaza (4.5 mi) phone: 312-427-3800 website

The Pittsfield Hotel (4.3 mi) phone: 312-239-8300 website

Hostelling International (3.6 mi) phone: 312-360-0300 website


Hilton Garden Inn (15.1 mi) phone: 866-538-6252 website

Hilton Rosemont (13.7 mi) phone: 866-538-0251 website

Hyatt Regency (13.7 mi) phone: 866-539-5067 website

Renaissance Chicago (12.9 mi) phone: 866-538-0251 website

Holiday Inn (12.7 mi) phone: 866-925-8676 website

Activities and Attractions around Chicago

Welcome EBL, to OUR TOWN!

We are excited to welcome you to Our Town. Come a few days early or stay a few days afterwards – Chicago is a great tourist city especially in the summer time. Take in our world famous lake front, visit some incredible museums, shop the magnificent-mile, relax at any number of music venues, see a show, or dine at restaurants to suit any taste – Chicago offers it all!

We are collecting recommendations from our members and friends to share some of Chicago’s best kept secrets – the places we locals like to go to show off our town.

Here are some of our recommendations. Check back often because we’re adding ideas all the time. You can even submit your own recommendations!

Events & Attractions

Lincoln Park Zoo
A terrific city zoo offering a variety of animals in updated enclosures. Walking distance from MBT, Lincoln Park Zoo is a great outing for the whole family and it’s free! website

Navy Pier
Navy Pier is Chicago’s largest tourist attraction. Jutting out in to Lake Michigan it offers arcades, attractions, dining and much more. Entrance to the Pier is free. website

RiverWalk – take a walk along the Chicago River. The newly refurbished area features restaurants, bands, boat rides, water taxis (one even goes to Chinatown) and ways to learn about Chicago (the walk is free!) website

Millennium Park
One of the most beautiful “public spaces” of any city in the world. Millennium Park offers acres of walking space and many interactive attractions – its home to the iconic “Cloud Gate” sculpture more commonly know as the “bean”. Best of all it’s free! website

Chicago Architectural Tours
The Chicago Architectural Foundation holds a series of tours by bus, walking and even boat. website

Lincoln Park Conservatory
Right next to Lincoln Park Zoo is the Lincoln Park Conservatory. Enjoy a beautiful and tranquil walk through the many exhibits of flowers and foliage. website

Bahai Temple in Wilmette
The Bahai Temple, in Wilmette IL, features beautiful architecture surrounded by peaceful gardens. Its a bit of a trek (~40 min by car from MBT) but its worth the effort to experience this place of mindfulness and meditation. website

live music:

Kingston Mines
A venerable Chicago music venue featuring live Blues. website

Buddy Guy’s Legends
Authentic Chicago Blues club. website

Old Town School of Folk Music
Kid-friendly environment for live folk music. website


Chicago Jazz Festival
August 31 through September 3 Chicago will hold one of its biggest summer events: The Chicago Jazz Festival. Many Jazz artists from around the world gather to play this event – AND ITS FREE! website


Second City
Chicago’s world famous live comedy review. website

Broadway in Chicago
Chicago is a destination city for many “Broadway Shows’ – check to see what’s showing in Chicago. website

sporting events:

Chicago Cubs
The world champion Chicago Cubs are playing at Wrigley hosting the Atlanta Braves (9/1 – 9/3). If you plan ahead you just may be able to get tickets. website

Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are playing at home hosting the Tampa Bay Rays (9/1 – 9/3). White Sox tickets are a bit easier to get than Cubs tickets and you’ll enjoy a terrific baseball outing. website

for kids:

Chicago Children’s Museum
Located in Navy Pier, Chicago Children’s Museum focuses on the kids with many interactive exhibits. website

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
A museum catering to kids, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is located near Lincoln Park Zoo. website

for the whole family:

Alphawood Gallery
Photo exhibit of the WWII incareration and relocation of Japanese Americans: “THEN THEY CAME FOR ME” (admission free – only 1.5 mi from MBT). website

Chicago History Museum
Just a 15 minute walk from MBT is the Chicago History Museum. website

Field Museum of Natural History
Dinosaurs, Mummys, animal dioramas – this is one Chicago’s oldest and most respected museums. Located in Chicago’s Museum Campus. website

Shedd Aquarium
Features marine mammal shows and many rooms of live water-life exhibits. Located in Chicago’s Museum Campus. website

Adler Planetarium
For star-gazers, the Adler Planetarium is located in Chicago’s Museum Campus. website

Museum of Science and Industry
You could spend a whole day at the Museum of Science and Industry and still not see everything. website

Museum of Surgical Science
For something very different than the usual museum exhibits – check out the International Museum of Surgical Science. website

tranquil environment:

Poetry Foundation
Tranquil gallery space housing a 30,000 volume poetry library – the place Poetry magazine comes from. website

Newberry Library
With a beautiful park in front the Newberry has great galleries, exhibits and research collections (admission free). website

Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago is home to the world-renown Art Institute of Chicago featuring breathtaking collections. website

Museum of Contemporary Art
For those looking for modern art collections try the Museum of Contemporary Art. website

The Magnificent Mile
Downtown’s premier shopping district. Here you’ll find high-end shops and restaurants. website

New City Mall
A new mall combining shopping, entertainment and restaurants. website

Tell us the 'what', 'why' and 'where' of your recommendation - the things you like to do with out-of-town visitors (give us the website if you have it)

What about cost:FreeReasonable (<$10)Moderate (<$20)Expensive!

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Food & Drink

Portillo’s is a Chicago favorite for Hot Dogs and Italian Beef. website

Al’s Beef
Al’s focuses on Chicago Italian Beef – but you can also get a great Hot Dog or Polish Sausage here. website

Chicago’s Dog House
Relatively new on the Chicago scene but has a connection to one of Chicago’s most revered Hot Dog stands (Hot Dougs). website

Pizzeria Uno & Due
The “birthplace” of Chicago’s Deep Dish Pizza! website

Lou Malnati’s
A long tradition of Deep Dish Pizza – there are two locations relatively near the temple. website

Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company
For something completely different, try Pizza Pot Pie! This restaurant’s loyal following goes back over 40 years. website

Ramen has hit Chicago in a big way. There are many great Ramen restaurants in Chicago and here’s a list to help you decide (or take a week and try them all!)

Slurping Turtle website

Furious Spoon website

Oiistar website

Strings Ramen website

Kizuki website

Ramen-San website

Ramen Takeya website

Wasabi website

Marge’s Still
Steps (literally just a half a block) away from MBT this has been a favorite of MBT’s looking for good food and a beverage. website

Twin Anchors
A few more steps away from MBT is Twin Anchors serving great American food (try their ribs!) and drink. website

Spacca Napoli
Not a fan of deep dish pizza? For authentic Napoli Style pizza made in a wood fire oven this place is a must! website

Tufano’s Vernon Park Tap
Old school Italian fare with a heritage dating back to the “Al Capone” era! website

Nookies also serves lunch and dinner but try their breakfasts! website

An entire mall dedicated to Italian food, ingredients and even cookware. There are many dining options as well. website

French Market
An indoor market that will make you feel as if you’re in Europe. website

New City Mall
A new mall combining shopping, entertainment and restaurants. website

Tell us the 'what', 'why' and 'where' of your recommendation - the things you like to do with out-of-town visitors (give us the website if you have it)

What about cost:FreeReasonable (<$10)Moderate (<$20)Expensive!

Your Name (required)

Your email address (required)

Click the box below (we appreciate your help in preventing spam) when done press the Send button

If you want even more options – below are some frequently used travel sites that feature all of Chicago’s attractions.



Choose Chicago

Timeout Chicago

Transportation Options

Transportation Options

Our temple is located in the Old Town neighborhood which can be reached by multiple public transportation options. Armed with your trusty smartphone you should be able to get around Chicago as efficiently as the “locals”. Here are some important notes about transportation during the conference:

  • Transportation Information form: For out of town participants please remember to fill out the Transportation Information form that lets us know when to expect you and whether you desire airport pickup/drop off. You can find the Transportation Information form in the Registration section.
  • Transportation to “Optional Activities”: For the Casino outing and the Brewery Tour on Saturday evening, transportation will be provided.
  • Transportation during free time: If you want to take advantage of the many things that Chicago has to offer please go ahead and make your own travel plans.

For reference our temple address is:

Midwest Buddhist Temple
435 W. Menomonee St.
Chicago, Illinois 60614

  • About our location: Our temple is located in a beautiful but somewhat confusing neighborhood. Due to the many one-way streets, sometimes even seasoned Chicago drivers have some difficulty locating our exact address. If you are driving (or in a cab) here are a couple of hints, using major street names, that you can use once you are close to our temple.
    • Our temple is located where Husdon ave and Menomonee street intersect so:
    • if you’re on Armitage: turn south on Hudson Avenue – MBT is at the end of Hudson
    • if you’re on Sedwick: turn west on Wisconsin then south on Hudson Avenue – MBT is at the end of Hudson
    • if you’re on Larrabee: turn east on Menomonee – MBT is at the end of Menomonee

Transportation Resources

Below are common resources for door-to-door directions whether you’re driving, walking, taking a cab, or using public transportation (CTA is our public transportation system). Note – Uber and Lyft are available in our city and are also good options (requires an app on your smartphone).

Google Maps

CTA Travel App

Taxi Cabs

Contact Us

Have a question or need help with Registration, Accommodations or some fun things to do? Just use the contact form below and we’ll be happy to help any way we can.  

Check the areas you need help with:SchedulesRegistrationAccommodationsThings to doOther

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