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.
Calendar for January, 2020
1 Shusho-E (New Year’s Day) Service 10:00 am
9 Omigaki (Altar Cleaning) 6:00 pm
11 BWA - Mochi Manju Making 8:00 am
Classrooms 9:00 am
12 Hoonko/Monthly Memorial/
Family Dharma Service 10:00 am
13 CCBWL Meeting - Fowler 7:00 pm
25 Board Installation Service, Dinner,
& General Meeting 5:00 pm
27 CCMAC Meeting - Fowler 7:00 pm
Rev. Nakagawa's Message
January, 2020 Newsletter Article
Rev. Nakata's Message
January, 2020 Newsletter Article
Out-reach and In-reach
Happy New Year everyone! How did you spend your Holiday season in December? In the middle of December, I started transcribing a handwritten Sanskrit text into the alphabet as a part of my PhD dissertation project. I feel that my brain is gradually slowing down each year. Really! The transcribing project is good for my brain exercise. I often mention that a Buddhist is described as a lifelong learner. I spent a very Buddhistic Holiday season by doing the project.
In this January issue, I would like to write about Out-reach and In-reach. Out-reach can be simply defined as propagating or introducing Buddhist teachings to people who are new to Buddhism. Conversely, In-reach is an act of visiting people who are not able to attend temple/church services, or reconnecting people who are no longer attend temple/church activities. I started my ministry in the BCA at Buddhist Church of Sacramento. The Buddhist Women’s Association (BWA) of the Church had a social welfare committee. One of the committee’s activities was a home visitation. Their BWA membership was big, and many members lived in care homes, or quit driving. They did not have a way to attend church activities. When the committee members visited their member’s home, they always brought their handmade crafts and Snacks (such as Rice crackers or Rice cakes) to the home. During their visit, they enjoyed conversation with their members. When I was assigned to the church, they were looking for a driver to make their visitation. I happily joined the committee to support their activity. During the first few visitations, I just observed how the committee members do their visitation. Probably it was at the 5th or 6th visitation, when I visited a BWA member’s home with the committee members, she said “I have been a member of the Church for over 40 years. After I have stopped driving, I miss going to church. I keep my connection with my church friends by making phone calls, but I have no way to attend services. I miss chanting and a scent of incense.” I always carry a portable incense burner and chanting books in my car. I offered to chant Juseige and do oshoko at her home. After we chanted Juseige together, she burned incense. She seemed very happy. Her family greatly appreciated our visitation. Since then, whenever I made a visitation with the Social Welfare committee members, I chanted Juseige and offered burning incense. Our Jodo Shinshu founder Shinran Shonin (1173-1263) was known as an active propagator. In his 40s, he moved to the Tokyo area
with his family. He spent over 20 years in the area and established several propagation bases. He did not just wait people to visit him at these bases. He actively visited people who were not able to visit him. Do you know how many members who miss attending services at your church/temple, although they like to do so? We often talk about how many people attend Sunday services, but at the same time we need to have more attention to people who are unable to come to our temple/church.
There is no straightforward solution for effective out-reach activities in Buddhism. Shinran Shonin successfully gathered the founding Sangha members of Jodo Shinshu, however, his successors kept losing their members until Rennyo Shonin (1415-1499) took over Hongwanji (a head temple of Jodo Shinshu). The Jodo Shinshu/Hongwanji history tells that there was no special method for out-reach. After I worked for Buddhist Church of Sacramento, I was assigned to Ekoji Buddhist Temple in Northern Virginia. There was no public transportation near by the temple, and so there was very few visitors. I started thinking of how I can increase the presence of the temple in the local society. I personally applied for the county chaplain, the hospital chaplain, and the campus chaplain. By doing these chaplaincies, the temple name was gradually recognized at the county level. As the result, I received many speaking opportunities at the government level, not only at the county office, but also at the White House, and the Capital Hill. I was able to promote the temple name and Buddhism at the national level. At the local level, I encouraged the temple members to take a pop-up tent and a plastic table to any local events, such as a county fair, and a community gathering to have our own booth. We created a temple brochure and prepared giveaway goods for visitors. I usually hosted a calligraphy demonstration to draw people’s attention. Just sit back and relax at temple/church does not draw local people to temple/church. That I learned at Ekoji Buddhist Temple. Each temple/church in Central California is uniquely situated under the different geographic, demographic, and industrial circumstances. I am still doing my own research of what is a best way for each temple/church to reach out local people. I need everyone’s input and suggestion to make our Out-reach and In-reach projects successful. This year, I would like to encourage all Central California Sangha members to start these projects. When you need my help, please contact me. I am happy to assist you. Gassho.
A Happy New Year!
May this New Year turn out to be the happiest and the best.
In month of January, we, practicing followers of the Nenbutsu as the Mainstream Mahāyāna Buddhism, a.k.a., Jōdo Shinshū Buddhists celebrate
(honorific-death-anniversary repay indebtedness-
observance), as well as the
New Years’ Day celebration.
Ho-on-ko in 2020 is the 758th annual memorial service for Shinran Shōnin, the Founder of Jōdo Shinshū in Japan. In the 2,700 years history of Mainstream Mahāyāna Buddhism, he is the 8th and the most recent Master who carries on the true intent of Śākyamuni Buddha.
People sometimes feel that the Buddhist tradition is gloomy and sad. In fact, it could be said that we emphasize the death rather than the birth. However, although we deal with many memorials, the purpose of having these memorial services should not make us feel sad. Rather, those services help us to appreciate our condition and to remember loved ones and all our ancestors who have made our present life so meaningful.
As we face the darkness of death, we become aware of the meaning of our birth. In that sense, only when we are able to accept death can we truly celebrate our birth. In this way, a sad occasion is transformed into a happy one.
In this sense, as practicing followers of the Nenbutsu, we are celebrating Shinran Shōnin’s lifetime achievement for reminding his guidance to all lives. And that is the reason why Ho-on-ko is the most important Dharma-service for us even 757 years after his death.
Shinran Shōnin clarified Buddha’s true intent in the short words, the Nenbutsu, and his life-time experiences have guaranteed the salvation through Buddha-dharma to all sentient beings is true and real. Hope you hear his voice directly.
弥陀の本願信ずべし mi-da noḥ hon-gan, shin-zu be-shiḥ
本願信ずるひとはみな hon-gan shin-zu-ru hi-to wa, mi-naḥ
摂取不捨の利益にて ses-shu-fu-sha noḥ, ri-ya-ku ni-teḥ
無上覚をばさとるなり mu-jō-ka-ku wo-baḥ, sa-to-ru na-riḥ
“All being should entrust oneself to Buddha’s immeasurable awakening-words. All whom each individual Buddha-nature is emerged interdependently with Nenbutsu-awakening, and whom already attain direction to the Supreme Enlightenment through the benefit of being grasped, never be abandoned.”
Please attend this year’s important ‘GO-SHŌ-KI HŌ-ON-KŌ’ service at your temple this month.