Buddhist Women’s Association

MBT: New Life for Old bagsThe Midwest Buddhist Temple’s Women’s Association is part of the Federation of Buddhist Women’s Association (FBWA), which is rooted in the Nishi Hongwanji-ha branch of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. Also known as fujinkai, the Women’s Association traditionally prepares and serves otoki (meals comprised of foods with religious significance) after major services and funerals and participates in the omigaki (cleaning and upkeep) of the temple. But it also works to preserve the Japanese and Japanese-American Buddhist traditions and oral history.

Its purpose is to practice and transmit Buddhist values of compassion, community and gratitude to others. With that in mind, the Women’s Association supports social activities of the Sangha (temple membership), offers financial support to the temple’s Dharma School and participates in community-service activities—such as visiting the infirm and elderly; and partnering with the temple’s Golden Agers and New Life for Old Bags, a Chicago-based organization that helps volunteers recycle old plastic bags by crocheting them into sleeping mats for Chicago’s homeless. MBT Women’s Association representatives also attend Federation of Buddhist Women’s Association meetings and conferences.

We would love for you to join us and, despite our name, men are welcome to join as well.

You can be a part of a toban. These are groups that take turns preparing the otoki (lunch) after major Buddhist services and serving refreshments after funeral/memorial services, if requested by the bereaved family. Each toban is assigned a holiday to cook and serve. They also are assigned a two-month period to be on call for funeral/memorial services.

You are also welcome to join us at our annual luncheon, held at the MBT Social Hall in the fall.

If you would like to become a member of MBT’s Women’s Association or join its board, which meets quarterly, please contact us at office@mbtchicago.org or call 312.943.7801. Annual dues for the Women’s Association are $10.