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 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.
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 view a service.
Joya-E Service & Shusho-E Service
Joya-E (Year End) Friday, December 31, 2021 - 2:00 PM
Ring the kansho 108 times collectively
Soba served following the service
Shusho-E (New Year's Day) Saturday, January 1, 2022 - 10:00 AM
Greet the new year!
Refreshments served following the service.
31 Joya-E Service (Year End Service)
IN PERSON 2:00 pm
1 Shusho-E (New Year’s Day) Service
IN PERSON 10:00 am
20 Omigaki (Altar Cleaning) 6:00 pm
22 BWA Mochi Manju Making 9:00 am
23 Hoonko, January Memorial Service
& New Term for Dharma School 10:00 am
29 2022 RBC Cabinet and Board Installation
Service, Dinner, & General Meeting 5:00 pm
Ever Changing Covid Rules
Due to the ongoing changes to the Covid recommendations from Fresno County, we will post the current mask requirements on the door before every service.
Refreshments will be served, but it may require that we gather outdoors.
We hope that everyone will continue to attend our in-person services and if necessary, wear a mask to protect those most vulnerable.
Our next "in person" service is on Sunday, December 31, 2021 at 2:00 PM.
Rev. Nakagawa's Message
January, 2022 Newsletter Article
Rev. Nakata's Message
January, 2022 Newsletter Article
“I am not Sensei.” Shinran Shonin
and theHistorical Buddha had the same
understanding of Buddhism
“How did I start Buddhism? The question is wrong. I only found the old path walked by ancient people.” The dialogue of the Buddha from Saṃyukta Āgama.
Happy New Year 2022 to all Central California Sangha friends! Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu (in Japanese).
The year 2021 was one of the most active of my life. I conducted numerous services and lectures at unique locations amid the pandemic. In Central California, we celebrated the 90th anniversary of Parlier Buddhist Church, and I gave a lecture on Buddhism to 350+ students at Visalia Christian High School over multiple periods in just one day. On the State level, we conducted special services at multiple relocation camp sites including Poston, Topaz, Heart Mountain, and Tule Lake. On the National level, I attended several congressional meetings on assorted topics, and gave a lecture on Buddhism in America, Organizational Transition, and Key Factors of sustainability and productivity for the Buddhist society at the General Assembly meeting (400+ people) of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV). Their headquarter is in Texas, so if there is no pandemic, I would have had the chance to speak at the headquarter! The organization was founded by Thich Nhat Hanh. In 2022, I plan to continue working on my ministry with positive and energetic attitude. So, please continue supporting your local temples and churches!
When I was child, I was skeptical about faith or religion. In my childish and narrow view, I thought they were authoritarian, and their clergies were insolent and looking down on their members. My views on Buddhism were the same. When I was an elementary student, I was a bookworm. I stopped at the school library almost every day and I read all the SF and Science books on their shelves. One day, I accidentally picked up a story book that contained short stories of the Buddha. I had no intention of reading this book, but the book I wanted to read was rented out. So, I decided to read the book with my skeptical attitude. I do not remember most of the stories in the book, but I do remember one story in particular “a castle town.” The story blew my mind and corrected my wrong assumption on Buddhism. I would like to share it with you in this article.
“A Castle Town”
One day, the Buddha was at the Jetavana Garden of Sravasti. He said “how did I start Buddhism? The question is wrong. I only found the old path walked by the ancient people. Where the ancient people walked became the path, and I am now walking along the path.”
Then he started sharing the UPAYA “skillful meanings/ example” with people.
“A long, long time ago, there is a traveler. He loses his way and is wandering in the deep forest. After many days, he finds an abandoned path. It looks like an ancient path which is used by people in the past. He decides to follow the path and walk on the path. Finally, he discovers a beautiful castle in front of him. There are a flower garden and a lake of deep blue water, and a castle town. However, people are no longer living there. The traveler smiles and admires what he is seeing. What a beautiful place!
He returns to his country and reports his discovery to the king. He says to the king, when I was wandering in the forest, I discovered the abandoned path. I decided to follow the path and at the end of the path, I saw the beautiful castle. There were a flower garden, a lake of clear water, and a castle town. People were no longer living there. Dear King, I sincerely request you to build your castle town over there. The King discusses it with his cabinet members, and he sends his people to build the town. The new castle town grows tremendously in a short time.
After the Buddha shares the story with people, he says. Just like the traveler in the story, I rediscovered the ancient path of Buddhahood which the past Buddhas followed and walked.”
The Buddha rediscovers the Dharma and he reintroduces it to everyone with simple explanations. This is how Buddhism restarted or the Wheel of the Dharma re-rotated by the Buddha, Gautama Siddhartha. When I read this story at the school library, I was shocked. The Buddha is such a humble man!
According to the story, Buddhism is introduced before the Buddha, however many might not understand what it is. When people treat the path as a special thing, we may not be able to identify what it is, or where it is, because we are not super-human. After I studied various Buddhist traditions in Chinese, Sanskrit, Pali and Tibetan, many Buddhist text writers describe or treat the Buddha like a super- natural being. Their attitude changed the Buddha and Buddhism to the authoritarian teaching.
The Buddha humbly described himself as a re-discoverer of Buddhism, not as a founder of Buddhism. And he prohibited people who worshipped him by not allowing them to create his statue. To me, although many wanted to worship or praise him, or to treat him like a super-human, he refused to be treated as a master or teacher/Sensei. I realized that he had never behaved in an insolent manner or looked down on others as if to say, “I know everything, and you don’t.”
Shinran Shonin correctly understands the intention of the Buddha. Like the Buddha, Shinran Shonin did not describe himself as a master or teacher/Sensei by not having any disciples. He could say “I am a master of Buddhism and a founder of Jodo Shinshu! Treat me as a special being,” but he did not. Shinran Shonin expressed his humble and sincere appreciation to the many involved in Buddhism including Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, Daocho, Tanlan, Shandao, Genshin, and Genku/Honen.
Both the Buddha and Shinran Shonin are my teachers. They do not heed any praising and respectable words and behaviors of others. They lived as disciples walking the path of Buddhahood, the same path that the past Buddhas followed.
Like the Buddha and Shinran Shonin, I am not Sensei because I am simply following the path which the Buddha and Shinran Shonin walked.
Reedley Board Meetings
The Reedley Buddhist Church Board has been having their meetings online using Zoom. 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.
When church services resume, 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
A Happy New Year
With the New Year’s celebration, the season of the Ho-on-ko has come around again. As I saw the schedule of the Ho-on-ko services on the new calendar, there is a voice that comes from the depths of my memory and that voice of one Sensei echoes in my ears.
“How old are you, Dotoku, in this year? Dotoku, please recite the Nenbutsu.”
Those were the words from Rennyo Shonin to his disciple named "Dotoku" when Dotoku visited the temple for the New Year’s celebration. Dotoku lived in the village of Kashuji, near the Yamashina Hongwanji temple, where Rennyo Shonin lived.
I felt that Rennyo was talking to me.
“How old are you, Kakei? Kakei, please recite the Nenbutsu.”
This is what I heard. I feel as if I am being scolded directly by Rennyo Shonin after a gap of five hundred years. Especially in my recent days of old age.
I remember when I was a child in Hiroshima, after the festive mood of the New Year's holidays had subsided, the Hoonko service was held at my family temple. Reverend Tatsudo Takeda of Kojakuji temple, the Elder minister of Hiroshima District, gave a Dharma message on the same theme, "“How old are you, Dotoku?” every year.
The scene of hundreds of gray-haired heads, all hanging deeply bowed while listening to this beginning quotation (Go-Sandai), has become the original scenery of a Jodo Shinshu temple in my mind. There were many gray-haired heads that remained downcast and did not return to their original state even after the praise was finished. The older they got, or those who followed the teachings of Shinshu, the more the words resonated with them.
In the next chapter of the same book, Rennyo gently explains the difference between self-powered and other-powered Nenbutsu and recommends that we carefully practice other-powered Nenbutsu. Why do we insist on living our lives based only on our unstable, ambiguous, ad hoc, selfish, instinctive, small, and calculating minds? How long do I have to doubt the words of Sakyamuni and his true heart? And who knows, tomorrow may really not be coming to me.
Once upon a time, a famous samurai named Shusaku Chiba and his disciples borrowed a boat from a fisherman and went out to the sea to fish at night. In the dark of night, they lit a torch and fished for fish that would gather under the torch. They were so amused by their fishing and greedy with their harvest that they forgot where they were fishing and lost track of where they were in the water. There was not even a star in the sky that night, neither a moon. It was really pitch black. If they left it like this, they would be swept out to sea and would never be able to return to land.
Realizing the seriousness of the situation, the samurais held several torches high and searched for land, but all they could see was the dark surface of the sea. At last, the torches were burned out. There was nothing left on the ship that could be burned for light. All was lost! If they were swept away by the tide of the open sea, it was over. There was nothing to do but die. Everyone, including Shusaku Chiba, made up their minds. However, when the torchlight was lost, everyone gradually grew accustomed to seeing at night, and naturally, they were able to catch the shadow of the edge of the mountain on land and return to the beach where the fishing village was located.
The fisherman said, "You foolish guys! If only you had put out the torch sooner, we would have had a good breakfast with fresh fish hours ago."
Please savor this story. I hope you participate in the most important service of Jodo Shinshu, the Goshoki Ho-on-ko service at the new Betsuin Hondo in 2022.
By the way, how old are you going to be this year?
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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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