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. Nakagawa and Rev. Nakata are the supervising ministers 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.
The membership is approximately 110 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.
July 27, 2020 - VIRTUAL HATSUBON SERVICE has been rescheduled for Saturday, August 15th at 5:30 PM. (see the Twitter link below) Depending on the state's orders for churches, the VIRTUAL OBON is still undecided. If it possible, it will follow the Hatsubon Service.
Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) all church functions will be canceled or postponed during the month of AUGUST. (If circumstances change, members will be notified by mail.) If you have any questions, please call President Vickie Nishida, any board member, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you for your understanding.
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.
Rev. Nakata and Rev. Nakagawa are providing Sunday Dharma Talks. Please go to https://mobile.twitter.com/fresno_nishi on Sunday at 10:00 AM to stream live.
Rev. Nakagawa's Message
August, 2020 Newsletter Article
2 Central Cal Dharma Service (from Visalia) 10:00 AM
9 Central Cal Monthly Memorial Service
VIRTUAL (see link below) 10:00 AM
13 CCBWL Zoom Meeting 7:00 PM
15 Cen. Cal Virtual Hatsubon Service
(from Fresno) 5:30 PM
15 BCA Virtual Obon at Northwest 6:00 PM
register for Zoom link @
16 Central Cal Dharma Service (from Fresno) 10:00 AM
20 Reedley Board Zoom Meeting 7:00 PM
23 Central Cal Dharma Service (from Fowler) 10:00 AM
30 Central Cal Dharma Service (from Reedley) 10:00 AM
Websites for Dharma Talks
Just click a church/temple below for the link.
Watsonville Buddhist Temple
Rev. Nakata's Message
August, 2020 Newsletter Article
Reaching out Sangha
members as many as possible
Hello, all Central California Sangha friends! This is my fifth Newsletter article after the stay at home/shelter-in-place orders were enacted. How are you adapting to the new normal life? Are you getting used to it?
August is my anniversary month. Yes, it is my birth month, but more importantly it is the month that I was assigned to the Central California District. I still clearly remember that it was 105 degree here in Fresno on July 26, 2019. Gary Mukai from Fowler generously volunteered to drive a 26-foot U-Haul Truck (it was like a Transformer Convoy!) from Los Angeles to Fresno. There was more than a dozen of the Central Cal Sangha friends that arrived at my new residence to unload furniture and my toys!! Without their support, I would not have been able to manage my move. I really appreciated it.
As a CC District Minister, I have driven up to Merced and down to Bakersfield, the area we cover as a minister serving area of CC. I have met thousands of people since last August. I have always tried to accommodate their needs by sensing their feelings. As many as possible, I try to accept invitations for the family luncheons to see and visit with Sangha members.
One person walked up to me after I conducted a service in Bakersfield. The person said “I used to attend the Bakersfield church. After the closure of the church, I have not had a chance to hear a minister’s talk for a long time. Your talk was pretty good today because I recalled my church memories.” I said to the person, “thank you so much for attending the service and for listening to my talk. I am so glad to hear that I was able to bring back fond memories again.”
There are several care homes and assisted living facilities where our senior Sangha members reside in CC, to which I have visited in the last 12 months. Sangha members at the facilities offer coffee and tea (and snack!) after a monthly service. I enjoy chatting with them for an hour or sometime two hours, after the “short” monthly service. They usually share stories of their active ages. I have even heard love stories of the 1960s. At the time, McDonald’s was an awesome spot for dating, spending 70 cents for two meals. What a great value!
While I have been reaching out many Sangha members, some have made the difficult decision to close their community. Dinuba Buddhist Church, which is known as a provider of its longtime dedication to the local community and Central Cal District, hosted its final service last November of which many CC leaders attended. I had a chance to talk to one of the founding member’s families after the service. They had one black and white photo which was taken in 1927, when Dinuba celebrated its Hondo building dedication. One of the family members pointed to a kimono-clad girl in the photo and said “the little girl was my Ba-achan (grandmother). She was raised in Dinuba and later moved away when she grew up.” When the grandmother was a little girl, she attended the church grand-opening ceremony. 92 years later, her children and grandchildren observed its closing ceremony. Before the little girl (Ba-achan) passed away, I occasionally met
her and listened to her stories. This personal experience made the closing service more meaningful.
On the other hand, one of our branch temples, Kingsburg Buddhist Church stood to re-vitalize. After I moved to CC, I started a monthly Dharma discussion at the church. It is a small gathering, but all attendees are eager to learn the Buddha Dharma. There is no penalty or punishment even if people do not attend Services in our Buddhist tradition. It is rare to meet people who say, “we seriously want to hear the teachings.”
For the first 7 months of my assignment, I drove around the Central Valley and was reaching out to as many Sangha members as possible. Then, as you know, we encountered the pandemic in March. All Sangha members are in the same boat. Right after the announcement of shelter in place, we quickly started the Streaming, online Sunday Service for continuity of our Buddhist tradition and ministerial duty. To reach out to members who are unable to go out during the pandemic and for those not familiar with the internet, I distributed a recorded Sunday Service DVD to CC temple/church for their Sangha members. Burning hundreds of DVDs became part of my monthly routine.
I have started hearing “I miss going to the church” and “I miss my church friends.” Currently, Rinban and I provide the Streaming Services through Twitter. I decided to add Zoom video streaming for the Sangha to “gather”. Zoom is known as a video conference software and the participants of Zoom can see and talk to each other. It means we will have two video cameras capturing our chanting and Dharma talk. Twitter streaming will be continuously provided for the public view. When I presented this idea at the Parlier Board meeting, they favorably agreed to try their virtual Parlier Sangha gathering on Zoom. I am writing this article on July 19, and our first Zoom gathering from Parlier Buddhist Church will be on July 26. I hope it will go well.
It might have been the middle of March when you last saw your temple/church friends. I feel that it is my duty to re-connect Sangha with each other. It is my hope that many temples/churches participate in this Zoom project to reach out to their Sangha members and to restart their social gathering on the internet. We have no result if we just complain about the current situation. The 1st year of my assignment at CC was challenging but I was able to confront many challenges because of your help and support. In my first year, I tried my best to provide enthusiasm throughout the Central Valley, and I will continue to do so in my 2nd year. Please continue to support your Central California Temple and Churches.
Post Hiroshima 76th (PH 76)
The atomic bomb was dropped on downtown Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, instantly killing tens of thousands of people, evaporating more than 140,000 people. It centered on the A-bomb memorial dome (a.k.a Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall) within a few days. The thousands of survivors directly hit by the A-bomb, as well as the first suburban responders, consecutively died caused by the nuclear radiation during the next decades.
But few know the fact that many Americans such as elementary school, junior high school and high school students lost their lives. They were all 2nd generation of American-Japanese-Ancestry: ‘Nisei’ boys and girls who were staying at their grandparents’ place to receive basic education. And many P.O.W. American Army Officers were sacrificed under this genocidal bombing campaign. We can never forget this brutal fact.
A.D. 2020 = P.H.(Post-Hiroshima) 76th. It is 75 years after "A" Day – almost two generations have passed, but people do not seem to realize the true impact of it yet. But the citizens of Hiroshima, who survived through that hell and a few deep-thinking people who had been living in other parts of the world, had recognized a certain fact.
That day under a blinding flash, which surpassed the brightness of the sun, we human beings entered into A NEW ERA against our will. We human beings, Homo sapiens, during the long ages have been living our lives merely foreboding death as individuals. But since "that" day we must realize a foreboding of the biological death of the entire species. Our real-self came into view in a moment for the first time but, at the present time, we still don't recognize our deadly foolishness
that may cause the total downfall of all species on the earth itself.
Since that day, we have experienced additional tragedies due to nuclear technology in Nagasaki, Nevada, New Mexico, Chelyabinsk (Russia), Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Iraq, and Fukushima, etc., recently polluted as an accident of a nuclear reactor and as an experimental site for newly developed nuclear weapons from PH 01 to PH 76. There was not one year in which there wasn’t a possibility for nuclear-related disaster. We should recognize that we have a huge scientific power that can physically destroy this planet hundreds of times over. We should also notice that the human mind has not developed conspicuously since 5000 years ago when the first human civilization was occurred--only the greed that is based on blind feelings due to fear of death has burst forth to become a gigantic monster as such. Yes, these are the same follies responsible for many sorts of environmental destruction, such as depletion of the ozone layer by Freon gas, etc. Currently, the whole world is now actually suffering.
Human’s act of stupidity never stopped since THAT HOT SUMMER DAY.
The ominous testing of nuclear weapons, non-self-control new technology, and the roar of economic greed have drowned out the voices of Hiroshima calling out, "No more Hiroshimas!", preventing this message from being heard throughout the world.
As Jōdo Shinshū Buddhists, each of us has to bear in mind that greater than 90% of the victims who perished or were wounded in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were Jōdo Shinshū Buddhist followers, definitely our Dharma friends. And after ‘that’ day we certainly must have recognized, as followers of the Buddha-dharma, that a mere personal liberation means there is no meaning of life in this world anymore.
Our basic ideas have changed certainly from "Death as an Individual Human" to "Death as a Human-Species.” This changing of ideas must bring about a real epoch. As followers of the Buddha-dharma, we ought to become conscious of "Death as a Human-Species.” And, our desire for salvation should extend to “Liberation of all beings." We can no longer be satisfied without complete liberation that is Buddha's intent. This is obviously the original way of the Bodhisattvas of Mahāyāna Buddhism.
This deep consciousness of ours has already been entered upon with Buddha here now!
At the end, I present a poem of Rabindranath Tagore that we can only think was written for us in the 21st century.
O Serene, O Free, Lord Buddha, The Awakened One
By Rabindranath Tagore
The world today is wild with the delirium of hatred.
the conflicts are cruel and unceasing in anguish,
crooked are its paths, tangled its bonds of greed.
All creatures are crying for a new birth of thine,
O Thou of boundless life,
save them, rouse thine eternal voice of hope,
let Love’s lotus with its inexhaustible treasure of honey
open its petals in thy light.
O Serene, O Free,
in thine immeasurable mercy and goodness
wipe away all dark stains from the heart of this earth.
Man’s heart is anguished with the fever of unrest,
with the poison of self-seeking,
with a thirst that knows no end.
Countries far and wide flaunt on their foreheads
the blood-red mark of hatred.
Touch them with thy right hand,
make them one in spirit,
bring harmony into their life,
bring rhythm of beauty.
O Serene, O Free,
in thine immeasurable mercy and goodness
wipe away all dark stains from the heart