Volusia Buddhist Fellowship’s primary leader, Morris Sekiyo Sullivan, is a Sensei with the Bright Dawn Center for Oneness Buddhism. Bright Dawn’s ministry program is led by Rev. Koyo Kubose, son and dharma heir of Ven. Gyomay Kubose, a pioneer in American Buddhism. In 1944, not long after he and his family left the Heart Mountain Internment Camp where they were interred during World War II, Gyomay Kubose founded what would become the Buddhist Temple of Chicago. The temple is still in operation 66 years later.
Ven. Kubose trained in both Jodo Shin Shu and Zen Buddhism. However, during a talk commemorating the temple’s 30th anniversary, he expressed his dream to establish a “uniquely American Buddhism that could be easily understood and practiced by Americans and that would contribute to American life and culture.” This Buddhism could be explained in simple, everyday language and practiced in everyday life, yet would be an authentic, non-dualistic and nonsectarian Buddhist way to create “a peaceful, meaningful, creative life, both individually and collectively.”
Rev. Koyo Kubose and the Kubose family established the Bright Dawn Institute to carry forward that mission. While Bright Dawn’s “Way of Oneness” approach to Buddhism is rooted in the Japanese Mahayana tradition, the organization emphasizes the universal teachings of the historic Gautama Buddha, focusing on individual spiritual growth rather than any sectarian dogma or ritual.