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Our Sangha

A Bit of History

For over a year, Ryuoh Faulconer Shonin came down from Portland, Oregon where he was the resident minister to officiate services and conduct study sessions for a group of people who where interested in becoming members of Nichiren Shu.

The Nichiren Buddhist Sangha of Texas was officially established on April 21st, 2002 in Houston, TX at the Cullen Oaks conference facility on the University of Houston campus.

           To the Left and below;

The Texas Sangha at Cullen Oaks taking refuge and joining the Nichiren Shu order in April of 2002. The group would meet in members homes.

The Sangha was officially recognized by NONA (Nichiren Order of North America) and became a Temple of NONA in the fall of 2004. On June 9th, 2005 an official ceremony conducted by the NONA Bishop. Bishop Kanai performed a ceremony to officially mark the occasion. At that time the name of the Temple was designated as Myoken Ji or Myoken Temple. Myoken is the polar and guiding star. Ryuoh Faulconer Shonin was placed as the interim minister for the Sangha as he was already the resident minister of the Portland Temple in Oregon and by NONA bylaws could not be the Texas Temple's resident minister.

The Caine-Barrett home essentially became the Temple for the Sangha. They remolded their living room in early 2005 to become the main hall of the Temple until the Sangha outgrows the space and finds a larger home. The Altar of Myoken Ji shown below. The Omandala Gohonzon is in the center. This Omandala is a copy of the Shutei Omandala written by our founder Nichiren Shonin. It was given to the Sangha in 2002 when they became members of Nichiren Shu. On the right hand side is Kishimojin, a protecter of practioners of the Lotus Sutra. She is found in Chapter 26 of the Lotus Sutra where she makes her vows to protect those who uphold the Sutra. On the Left hand side is Myoken. The guiding star who the temple is named for. In 2006 a new Omandala would be written especially for the Temple.

above & below; The dedication ceremony of the Temple, June 2005. Bishop Kanai leads the service. Rev. Ryuoh Faulconer assists along with Shami Myokei Caine-Barrett.

The Houston Sangha wished to name their Temple, which is the custom in Japan. After considering several names, they decided on Myoken, the protective deity of the polar star, as they live in the Lone Star state. The Temple was dedicated in 2005 as Myoken Ji as shown in the above pictures. Shami Jeffus while in Japan in early 2005 was going to find an image scroll of the star deity for the Houston Temple under the direction of his master, Ryuoh Faulconer Shonin. He enlisted the help of Matsumoto Shonin of Minobu. As they looked around they could not find any scrolls or pictures of Myoken.

Matsumoto Shonin knew Bishop Ueda of Myoken-ji, the Temple on the top of Myoken Sama [mountain] in Japan. This Temple has a very long history and is now a important Temple of Nichiren Shu. Matsumoto Shonin contacted him and explained the situation. The Bishop being very happy that the Houston group had decided on this name, wished to make a connection between Myoken-Ji on Myoken mountain and Myoken-Ji of Houston, TX. As seen in earlier photos, Bishop Ueda provided a temporary image for the Myoken Ji Altar in Houston. A new one was being created specifically for Houston. In 2006, Shami Myokei and Faulconer Shonin went to Japan to visit Myoken mountain. The Omandala written by Bishop Ueda and included the image created by a local artist from the Myoken mountain Temple. On May 15th which is Myoken's feast day Faulconer Shonin and Shami Myokei received the Omandala. It includes a dedication to Myoken-Ji Houston and would be enshrined in Myoken Temple's main Altar. The mon (crest) used at Myoken mountain is shown below in orange. After receiving the Omandala from the Bishop, we were instructed to use this mon in Houston as it is the mon of Myoken Bodhisattva. The mon in the background of this page is of Nichiren Shu. It is the family crest of Nichiren Shonin's family.

Myoken Bodhisattva's Mon

click the mon for more information on Myoken

Myoken Ji Houston

The installation of Myokei Caine-Barrett,Shonin

8 July 2007, Cullen Oaks.

See more of the installation pictures by clicking here.

Myokei Caine-Barrett, Shonin MAIL TO GIF

Our Sangha meets at the Temple on a regular schedule for Meditation, Sutra chanting and Study of the Dharma (Buddha's Teaching). If you would like to join us please see our calendar and give us a call or email. All of our events are open to anyone who would like to learn more about the Lotus Sutra and the teachings of Nichiren Shonin.


More Photos of the Sangha

Pics from Pilgrimage 2006