The Eastern Buddhist League held its annual conference in Cleveland over the Labor Day weekend with a little more than 80 delegates gathering to share the joy of the Nembutsu.

The EBL is an unique group of Shin Buddhists from eastern North America that crosses borders and organizations. It includes the New York Buddhist Church, the Seabrook (NJ) Buddhist Temple, the Ekoji-Washington (DC) Buddhist Temple, the Cleveland Buddhist Temple, the Midwest Buddhist Temple and the Twin Cities (MN) Buddhist Association (a Sangha) of the BCA, plus the Toronto Buddhist Temple of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada and the Buddhist Temple of Chicago (independent).

The theme of this year’s conference was “I Go to the Sangha for Guidance” and many aspects of the changing Sangha were discussed. The keynote speaker was Professor Jeff Wilson of Waterloo University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Mr. Wilson, who is also a Minister’s Assistant with Tokudo, gave the Dharma Talk at the opening service and presented the first seminar.

Then Rev. Earl Ikeda of the New York Buddhist Church presented a seminar on the “Sangha, balancing the old and the new.” A panel of five people—each who have taken different paths to Shin Buddhism—shared what led them to become part of the Sangha.

Bishop Kodo Umezu and Ken Tanimoto, the president-elect of the BCA, also attended.

All of the delegates appreciated the hard work of the host temple, and everyone enjoyed the friendships created by gathering as a Sangha. While the EBL temples and Sanghas are spread out with 1,200 miles separating Minneapolis to New York, the warmth of sharing the Dharma makes the distances small.