There are services online each Sunday at 10:00 AM. Please follow the link: https://mobile.twitter.com/fresno_nishi You can also watch the service afterwards since they are recorded.
The Reedley Buddhist Church was established in 1936 with the Rev. Rijun Katsueda becoming the first resident minister. After World War II and the relocation of the Japanese residents, the church was rebuilt in 1952-53 and the Rev. Gibun Kimura became the third minister. In 1961, the Sunday School classrooms, conference room, office, and restrooms were started and completed in 1962. A boyhood statue of Shinran Shonin was donated by Mr. Seichi Hirose of Japan and placed in the U-shaped garden. The entire project was completed and dedicated on April 15, 1967.
Rev. George Shibata, our retired resident minister, began his association with the Reedley Buddhist Church in 1975 and completed 37 years in December, 2011. Rev. Hidehito Sakamoto was appointed as resident minister in March, 2012, until December, 2013. From January, 2014 through July 2015, the church was under the supervision of the Fresno Betsuin. In August, 2015, Reedley had three ministers under a shared system of the seven temples of the Central California District Council of the Buddhist Churches of America: Rev. Kakei Nakagawa, Rev. Alan Sakamoto, and Rev. Matthew Hamasaki. The shared system is coordinated by the Central California Ministers' Association, the CCDC Ministerial Advisory Committee, and the staff of the Fresno Betsuin. In December, 2016, Rev. Alan Sakamoto retired from the BCA. Rev. Matthew Hamasaki left in January, 2018, to become the minister in Sacramento, and Rev. Kaz Nakata was assigned to the Central California in August, 2019. At the present time, Rev. Nakata is the supervising minister of the Reedley Buddhist Church.
The church renovated the conference room and added a new kitchen facility in 2004. They added a new wrought iron fence surrounding the property in 2006, updated the hondo in 2007, and completed a storage building next to the small kitchen in 2008. The social hall bathrooms received an update in 2010 and in 2011 the grounds between the hall and the Japanese School building were graded and decomposed granite was added. In October, 2017 the church grounds between the hall the Japanese School building were cemented, and in January, 2018, a solar panel system went into service to minimize the utility costs. During the Covid pandemic, safety measures were taken and an AED was installed in the conference room, touchless features were added to the restrooms, and PPE were added so the members could safely return to church.
The membership is approximately 100 members. The Buddhist Women's Association, the Reedley Dharma School, and the Jr. Young Buddhist Association remain active and support all activities sponsored by the church.
The Reedley Buddhist Church welcomes you to join us at any service and encourages new members to join our organization.
Hanamatsuri Service - April 2, 2023
Upcoming Services & Activities
Sunday, October 8, 2023 - 10:00 AM - October Shotsuki (Memorial) &
Family Dharma Service
Refreshments following service.
Sunday, October 22, 2023 - 10:00 AM - Eshinni-Ko, Kakushinni-Ko, Lady Kujo &
BWA Memorial Service & Family Dharma Service
Lunch following service.
Sunday, October 22, 2023 - 12:00 noon (approx.) - Dharma School HALLOWEEN
8 October Shotsuki & Family Dharma
Service 10:00 am
15 Nishida Family Memorial Service
Hondo & Conference Room 1:00 pm
19 RBC Board Meeting 7:00 pm
22 Eshinni-Ko, Kakushinni-Ko, BWA
Memorial Service & Family Dharma Service 10:00 am
22 Dharma School Halloween Party 12:00 pm
29 Fresno Food Bazaar 11:00 - 2:00 pm
Click here or the image to download an order form.
Camp Dharma at Camp Keola
Reedley Obon Festival & Hatsubon Service
What better way to spend a weekend in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains than at Huntington Lake's Camp Keola. Seventy-four campers, from ages 1 year old to grandparents enjoyed a weekend of fun. They enjoyed rocket launches, a scavenger hunt, arts & crafts, corn hole, golfing with nature sticks, ping pong, card games, hiking, fishing, boating, swimming and of course the legendary campfire with smores, and camp songs!
Thank you to the Reedley Buddhist Church, the Reedley Dharma School, and the Reedley BWA for helping to sponsor this event. Thank you to the staff at Camp Keola for making our weekend memorable!
Rev. Nakagawa's Message
October, 2023 Newsletter Article
Rev. Nakata's Message
October, 2023 Newsletter Article
Reedley Board Meetings
The Reedley Buddhist Church Board started the year having their meetings online using Zoom, but moved to in-person when everyone was fully vaccinated. They have met each month and discussed ways to improve procedures when we return to on site church services and activities.
The restrooms have been updated with touchless faucets, soap dispensers, and paper towel dispensers. Doors to the restroom do not have any handles as they are being changed to push only. An AED defibrillator was purchased for any emergencies as well.
Church services resumed, but depending on the local health directives, this will change from month to month. We may be sitting further apart, but at least we'll be together to listen to the Dharma.
Websites for Dharma Talks
Just click a church/temple below for the link.
Watsonville Buddhist Temple
Howa for 2023 BCA Ministerial Association’s Fuken, the
Symposium of Propagation
The second of the seven masters, Vasubandu Bodsav, provides the following important counsel to those who live with Buddha Dharma in one “commentary”:
True enlightenment is to "read the true meaning of the scriptures in your own words."
To "read the true meaning in one's own words" does not mean that the scriptures are enlightenment itself, but means it is just a hypothesis expressed in words of the period.
I have recently been in failing health, and although I have not officially announced it, at the age of 70, I would like to retire from the position of BCA minister. This will probably be the last time I will see you all at the Kaikyōshi meetings and Summer Fuken. Thank you very much for your encouragement and support.
Before this Fuken started, I remembered the first time I attended Summer Fukenni more than 30 years ago. I was one of the youngest of the more than 50 senior missionaries I met, and I remember that I was quite elated, and I engaged in a lot of impudent discussions.
I vividly recall one of the elder ministers saying to me, "Why is it that you express so many opinions, but I never hear the voice of the O-Nenbutsu?” It was kind advice from an elder minister, but at the time I honestly thought, "Isn't this the Fuken (the symposium for the propagation)? So, dialogue is what matters the most. What does that empty-nenbutsu add up to?” I was frustrated. I was thinking about the current situation of the BCA, which is so different from that of Japan’s tradition, and about the future of the Fresno Betsuin at that time, etc. My mind and heart were occupied with these thoughts.
However, now 30 years later, I am about to tell the young people the same thing as my predecessor minister.
Also, I remember a similar experience from my college days. The professor was an excellent researcher and an even more respected Buddhist practitioner, but he would often address us young students in class and say, "The more you recite the Nenbutsu, the more your whole body will be filled with the compassion of the Buddha. If you do not first try to chant the Nenbutsu with your mouth and body, the Nenbutsu will never touch your heart for the rest of your life.” He said this with a serious look in his eyes.
Frankly speaking, I thought about him, "Why do you keep repeating something that makes no sense academically every time? Is it a typical aging phenomenon?"
Today, an old man would like to share that old professor's thoughts with you.
By the way, why do we have to say the Nenbutsu? To be honest, this is a normal question we all have. Although I was born and raised in a temple family, I honestly thought that way until I grew up, but through the years, guided by people I had a chance to meet, I now feel that I have come to enjoy the Nenbutsu.
In the first place, the golden statue of the Buddha in the Hondo is a representation of the Buddha's wish that all living beings should lead a peaceful and joyful life and fulfill their lives toward Buddhahood. Buddha’s "thought" or "Amitābha, immeasurable wisdom and kindness of the Buddha," is the Buddha's appearance in words called “O-Myōgō” that can be easily understood by anyone.
Please remember that the Buddha statues in our temple represent "words.” That characteristic hand sign can be read in the ancient Indian hand language as ‘Namu’ for the right-hand sign and ‘Amitābha’ for the left hand sign.
We Jodo Shinshū followers recite the voice of the Buddha "Namu Amitābha," as Shinran Shonin's tone says, "Na-mo-a-mi-da-buh.”
That is to say, Nenbutsu is a testimony to the fact that "Buddha became a word" thanks to Shakyamuni Buddha's practice.
In this case then, we don't need to seek where the Buddha is. The Buddha always tells us, "Whenever you want to see me, you must recite the Nenbutsu. It is a totally unexpected gift from the Buddha that comes out of our mouths as six syllables, "Na m a mi ta ba."
There it is, the fact of "Nenbutsu Dharma" delivered anytime, anywhere, to anyone, unconditionally. This is the true intent of the Śākyamuni Buddha himself. That is why Shinshū means the Truth Buddhism.”
What do you think? The Nenbutsu we think we are reciting of our own volition is not the true Nenbutsu. The Nenbutsu that comes out of our mouths is the fruit of the Buddha's wish.
The Nenbutsu is Shakyamuni Buddha's wish from the bottom of his heart to liberate sentient beings who recite the Nenbutsu and to perfect their life-flow.
Let us make sure of this.
As far as the Nenbutsu, we think we are chanting by ourselves which won't liberate any sentient beings.
In Jodo Shinshū, the "practice" is nothing but "Cho-mon.” The word is made up of two Chinese characters, “listen” and “hear.” Simply, "listening to the Dharma" misses the point: Cho-mon means to listen after hearing or more precisely: “After hearing the Nenbutsu come from within oneself, listen to it deeply--why does it come?”
It is the act of "hearing to the Buddha's natural voice through the Myōgō that appears through one's own mouth.” That is the Nenbutsu, and then deeply listen to the true nature of the arising of the Buddha's intent.
If you do not realize that the Nenbutsu, resonating from within you, is the Buddha's call from the truth of the universe at the bottom of your life-being, you will not be able to listen to the deep meaning of Dharma.
One day the well-known Myōkōnin, the pure Nenbutsu practitioner, Asahara Saichi, was asked by one visitor, "Where is the Buddha?" Saichi replied sullenly, “Is not at home.” But after a while, “Nann-mann-da-buh (Namo Amidabuh)” voiced through his mouth, just then he said, “Oh, is coming here.”
During a blind passion’s (Bon-nō) rule, the Nenbutsu doesn't come alive. Saichi wanted to show such a meaning through his expression, "I'm currently working full of greed, so Buddha is absent.”
I am deeply in agreement with the tanka poem of Reverend Zuiken Inagaki, who can be called a modern Myōkōnin: "I am ashamed of myself to say that I have been looking at Buddha from far off away when I've met 'Nann mann dabu' everyday."
I think that I experienced for myself what Shaku Zuiken had gone through.
We should remember Shinran Shōnin’s words always, my dear Dharma-friends:
"True and real Shinjin is unfailingly accompanied by Nenbutsu recitation. Nenbutsu recitation, however, is not necessarily accompanied by Shinjin, that is the act of Buddha’s wish-for-the-world." (from the “Kyo-Gyo-Shin-Sho, Chapter Shin, 50 passage”)
That is: Nenbutsu recitation, with no Shinjin, is an empty Nenbutsu
Shinjin, with no Nenbutsu recitation, is an empty Shinjin
Please recite the Nenbutsu while sensing by yourself that the Buddha's original vow is being realized. This is the Jodo Shinshū Hongwanji, the mainstream of Mahayana Buddhism, which accompanies and lives with the great way of life of the Buddha.
Namoamitabha, Namoamitabha, Namoamitabha
Our founder, Shinran Shonin's
difficult decision: “Harmony over
Hello to all Central California Nishi Hongwanji Sangha friends! I am happy to tell you that I’ve found that many people do read my articles! If you remember my last article, I wrote about my mother and my activity. Soon after the article was published, Sangha friends began approaching me and asked about my exercise, and walks. I replied, “Oh, thank you for reading my article, and yes, I am continuing my exercise, but I haven’t made a 5 mile walk yet”.
I often receive questions on Buddhism, especially on Jodo Shinshu, from those who do not know the difference between “Buddhism” and “Jodo Shinshu”. It may be due to the lack of our ministerial effort to emphasize what Jodo Shinshu is. The common question on Buddhism is “what is enlightenment?” or “what/who is Buddha?”. But rarely do I receive questions on Jodo Shinshu. My ministerial duty (or why I am hired in a ministerial position) is to promote and propagate Jodo Shinshu.
Do you know what is most essential and fundamental for Jodo Shinshu? You might answer “Amida Buddha!”, “Nenbutsu (Recitation of Namo Amida Butsu)”, or “Chicken Teriyaki!”. I would say “yes!” to all these answers, but our Jodo Shinshu founder, Shinran Shonin’s answer was quite different. Although he was a lifelong student learning the teaching, but never forced others to “study” Jodo Shinshu and never excluded those who did not have reading skills.
What was more important to Shinran Shonin than studying Jodo Shinshu? We can learn from the historical story on him.
In the 90 years of life, Shinran Shonin had 7 children. His oldest child was named Zenran. When Shinran Shonin turned about 62, he moved back to Kyoto (western prefecture of Japan) from the Tokyo area (eastern part of Japan). Zenran also moved to Kyoto at some point. After their move to Kyoto, the sangha members in the Tokyo area were getting unsettled. Shinran Shonin received letters from these members and decided to send Zenran to mediate their issues. His decision was based on his trust in Zenran. After he sent his son to the Tokyo area, he started receiving hearsay from the sangha members, on Zenran’s unbelievable behavior. One rumor was that Zenran misguided the members by claiming that he is the only descendant who mastered the teaching of his father. Shinran Shonin was shocked to hear this but realized that the rumor was true only when these members reported directly to Shinran Shonin, while visiting him in Kyoto. Although Shinran Shonin attempted to stop his son’s improper behavior by sending several letters, Zenran ignored his father’s advice. As the result, the sangha in the Tokyo area had become disharmonized. Shinran Shonin had to make a tough decision. The traditional Dharma Talk below, captures his thoughts in Japanese.
“It is so lamenting to make a tough decision on my son, Zenran. I officially disown you and send the letters to both you and the members.”
This happened only a few years after Zenran was sent to the Tokyo area, on behalf of his father. The traditional Dharma Talk continues why Shinran Shonin made his tough decision…
“Oh, Zenran. I disowned you, although it was so sad to make such a decision. I disowned you, not because I do not like you or I was eager to disconnect our father-son relationship. I needed to keep consistency of Jodo Shinshu teaching for future sangha members, and a harmonious sangha for the current sangha members.”
I learned of this story when I was a college student in Kyoto. It was a very good lesson, before entering the Jodo Shinshu ministry. Since, I try to remain humble, and share the proper understanding of Jodo Shinshu, while maintaining harmony.
I hope you thoroughly understand my hope and learn from Shinran Shonin.
2035 15th Street - P.O. Box 24
Reedley, CA 93654 Phone: (559) 638-2146
Email Church President,
Rev. Kaz Nakata
Rev. Kakei Nakagawa, Rinban
Fresno Betsuin Buddhist
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