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.
Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) all church functions will be canceled or postponed during the month of SEPTEMBER. (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
September, 2020 Newsletter Article
6 Monthly Memorial (Shotsuki) Service online 10:00 AM
7 Family Dharma Service (online) 10:00 AM
17 CCBWL Meeting (Zoom) 7:00 PM
20 Family Dharma Service (online) 10:00 AM
21 CCMAC Meeting (Zoom) 7:00 PM
24 RBC Board Meeting (Zoom) 7:00 PM
27 Fall Ohigan Service (online) 10:00 AM
29 CCDC Meeting (Zoom) 7:00 PM
Websites for Dharma Talks
Just click a church/temple below for the link.
Watsonville Buddhist Temple
Rev. Nakata's Message
September, 2020 Newsletter Article
securing your utmost calmness
Hello, all Central California Sangha friends! We have now been in the pandemic for half a year, but I am excited that we were finally able to conduct Hatsubon Service and enjoy the Virtual Obon Dance on August 15th, both streamed on Zoom and Twitter. Thank you to Mr. Greg Tsudama of Fresno for helping us connect on Zoom, so that the Sangha could see each other, dancing in our living rooms. Many from different parts of California, such as Los Angeles and Sacramento, joined our Zoom Obon. And hundreds of people joined the Hatsubon service and Obon Dance through Twitter streaming. We even noticed there were people from other countries that joined. Thank you to Mrs. Sharon Morikawa and her Obon Dance teachers for the great job they did to make our Obon Dance more enjoyable and memorable. I would like to thank all the helpers and I really appreciate those who supported our Obon Snack Bag fundraiser. I hope you won something from the Obon raffle! All the proceeds from the fundraiser were distributed to CC temple and churches. I plan to make a special Obon DVD for people who are periodically receiving our Sunday Service DVDs. If you do not have internet or have not been received the DVD, please ask your temple/church board members. I will make sure that you will get one!
After spending 6 months under the pandemic, how do you feel about your life? Recently, the CDC announced that since the pandemic outbreak, more people are taking medication for anxiety. Medications help us, but our Buddhist teachings help us too! In this next part of my article, I would like to write about Anjin. Have you seen, or heard the word Anjin? Anjin is securing your utmost calmness. This word appears all over in Mahayana Buddhist tradition.
For example, Bodhi-Dharma, a famous founder of Zen Buddhism, once described in his dialogue (Memoirs of Eminent Monks in Tang Dynasty, chapter 16) that “while sitting in the Zazen (leg-crossed) posture, consider yourself becoming like a solid wall. Once you become comfortable to do so, you reach the mental state of no-self and no-others. After that, do not relocate yourself (your residence), nor follow other teachings. Follow the nature and live quietly. Do not conduct something special. By doing so, you will enter a state of Anjin.”
You might watch how to do Zazen meditation first. Zen monks usually do their Zazen sitting facing a wall. My devout Zen monk friends are sitting all day long, except while eating, sleeping, and getting phone calls. I consider myself as a devout Jodo Shinshu minister, but I do not think I can keep up practice like Zazen all day and every day. Then you may wonder that how Jodo Shinshu understand Anjin.
The word, Anjin appears in one of our Jodo Shinshu Seven Masters, Shandao’s publication (Raisan). It states that the action of entrusting one's whole heart for wishing to live a life of Sukhavati (utmost calmness). When we encounter uncertainty, we feel anxiety because we cannot know what is going on. The historical Buddha clearly states that our life is uncertain, more precisely our life is unpredictable. Once we fully understand and accept life’s uncertainty and unpredictability as they are, we reach the mental state of Sukhavati. We, however, should not blindly believe his word. It does not mean he is wrong. We should make sure whether his word makes sense. After passing our test, his word becomes trustful for us. At that moment, we say we can entrust our whole heart to his word.
Commonly, conventional religion does not have this process. God's word is absolutely right and genuine, so people should not challenge or doubt it. I think it is one of the big differences between religion and Buddhism.
In the 8th century, at the age of 28 years and after spending 20 plus years in monastic life, Shandao encountered the teachings of Sukhavati. I am sure that he tested its validity because the encounter was a life changing moment. If I were him, I would not blindly believe it. How about you? Do you just simply accept and believe whatever other people say, if their saying may change the course of your life? After Shandao tested the teaching, he entrusted his whole heart to the teaching, wishing to live a life of Sukhavati. He was a great poet and left many chanting texts for us. We can feel his passion for the teaching from his masterpieces such as Junirai.
Living a life of Sukhavati does not mean we are going to live elsewhere. The word, Sukhavati is an idiom, and it consists of two words. One is sukha, and the other is avati. Sukha means utmost calmness, and avati can be understood as leading something or someone to a certain mental state or place. Based on these translations, sukha-avati means the teaching leads us to the mental state of utmost calmness. Live a life of utmost calmness here and now, is an appropriate understanding.
Our Jodo Shinshu teaching encourages us to be aware of the life’s interdependence. We are narrow minded, thinking that we make a living by ourselves, but our life is sustained by numerous others. When we were small, we were not able to do many things on our own. Many adults helped us grow until we gradually started doing things by ourselves. Do you remember all of your school teachers? Do you remember your classmates and playmates? All of them are a part of your life, and you are a part of their life. Some or many of these adults, teachers and friends had been passed away and you might have attended their funerals.
Just recently, my grandmother-in law (my wife’s grandmother) passed away and I talked about her during our Aug 16th Sunday streaming service. If she did not exist, my wife would not either. My wife and I can enjoy our lives with three girls, because we had our grandmother. We really appreciated her generosity and support while we shared life and time with her. The loss of our loved ones made me become more deeply aware of my own life’s interdependence, and it made me think about the natural cycle of life and death. Sooner or later, we must leave our loved ones. What we can do until the last day of our life? I just try to fully enjoy and mindfully live each day. Such way of living leads me to Sukhavati, utmost calmness. I assume Shandao encountered many life threating events such as pandemics, epidemics, wars, and extreme weather. The vaccination technique was developed only some two hundred years ago. Many people died in 8th century due to many unknown causes. Under such hardship of living human life, Shandao appreciated the teaching and expressed his utmost calmness and happiness in his chanting notes.
Although we are in the pandemic right now, I do not feel any anxiety. I feel I am alright no matter which direction my life goes. Our Jodo Shinshu teaching makes me think and live positively and optimistically, so that I can continue to enjoy a life of utmost calmness.
I am sure that you have more time to read now. If you are looking for books to reduce or manage your anxiety, please read two books by our Nishi Hongwanji former Monshu Koshin Ohtani, "The Buddha's Call to Awaken” and "The Buddha's Wish for the World." The first chapter of “The Buddha’s Call is entitled “Living in an Age of Uncertainty” in which he explains the Buddha’s core teaching “life’s uncertainty.” I am sure that these books will help you to understand Jodo Shinshu teaching more clearly.
Invocation for the 75th
Anniversary of the Bombings of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Tree Planting Ceremony at the Peace Garden
California State University, Fresno
August 6, 2020
O Serene, O free, Namu Amita Ābhah,
On that hot summer 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, since the long ages, living our lives merely foreboding death as individuals. But since "that" day we must recognize a foreboding of the biological death of the entire race.
Our Truth-self came into view in a moment for the first time. But at the present time, we still do not recognize our deadly foolishness that may cause the total downfall of all species on the planet earth itself.
O Serene, O free,
It is 75 years after these double tragedies of Hiroshima, August 6, and Nagasaki, August 9, but people do not seem to realize the true impact of it yet.
Only the greed that is based on blind feelings due to fear of death has burst forth to become a gigantic monster as such. Currently the entire world is actually under the unbearable sufferings by the Mutated Virus Covid-19.
O Serene, O free,
In thine immeasurable mercy and goodness, wipe away all dark stains from the heart of this earth.
Today the seedings of the Camphor tree, which survived the hell under the Atomic bomb, sent from Hiroshima, will be planted here in the soil of Central California.
O Serene, O free,
The souls of our forgotten children of Central California, who had to die young in their loneliness 75 years ago in Hiroshima, have returned to their hometown as a symbol of world peace.
Touch them with thy right hand now, bring harmony into our life, and bring the rhythm of eternal hope by all means.
Namu Amita Ābhaḥ、
Our actions are our only true belongings.
We cannot escape the consequences of our actions.
Our actions are the ground on which we stand.
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.
When church services resume, we may be sitting further apart, but at least we'll be together to listen to the Dharma.
The annual food bazaar that is usually held in November has been canceled, so please support the Yakisoba Dinner! We are trying to fund raise with a minimal amount of manpower. Our guest chef will be Rev. Nakata!
Click here for PDF copy of order form.