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 stream live.
Eshinni Kaushinni & BWA Members Memorial /Monthly Memorial Service
Sunday, October 10, 2021
The Dharma School New Term is still postponed to a later date due to Covid.
Please wear a mask indoors to keep everyone safe.
Autumn Favorites Take Out Dinner
November 7, 2021
Click here to download the order form.
3 October Memorial (Shotsuki) &
Dharma Service VIRTUAL SERVICE 10:00 am
10 Reedley Shotsuki, Eshinni/Kakushinni
Dharma Service IN PERSON 10:00 am
17 Dharma Service - VIRTUAL
SERVICE 10:00 am
20 Reedley BC Board Meeting - Conference
Room 7:00 pm
24 Dharma Service VIRTUAL
SERVICE 10:00 am
25 Dharma Service
VIRTUAL SERVICE 10:00 am
31 Fresno Aki Matsuri Bento Drive Thru 2 - 5 pm
Rev. Nakagawa's Message
October, 2021 Newsletter Article
Rev. Nakata's Message
October, 2021 Newsletter Article
The Eight Essentials of our
Jodo Shinshu No. 6.
We will reach enlightenment when we give up our self-righteousness, by hearing the primal vow of Amida Tathagata. (Ta Riki Hon Gwan)
Hello, all Central California Sangha friends! Have you received the booster shot? The Spanish Flu (medically known as subtype H1N1 virus) lasted 3 years as a pandemic warning until it was renamed as a seasonal Flu. The H1N1 virus is still active in 2021, as you see the Flu season coming closer. I will not be surprised if the current pandemic continues for another year. Even after the “pandemic” is over, we may see a banner “The Corona season is nearing, get your vaccine” at a pharmacy, soon. I personally see the pandemic as a test of endurance. The virus is smart enough to change its shape, very quietly sneaking into our nose, and persistently trying to reproduce humongous numbers of themselves. If people are impatience, short-tempered, or lazy enough to neglect proper self-sanitization, we may not make a best decision and practice required to overcome the pandemic sooner. I continue to do my part with the sense of endurance, so please continue your part as well!
Recently, I attended the BCA ministers’ Association meeting on Zoom. During the meeting, we had District Reports. Out of the 8 districts in the mainland, some have 7 – 10 fulltime ministers. Although CC has only 2 fulltime ministers, the volume of various activities on the report shows that CC is the most active district, as if we have 7 – 10 fulltime ministers!! We can do so because of supporters like you. I sincerely appreciate your generosity and understanding to our ministerial work, especially under this pandemic.
In this article, I would like to share one of eight essential teachings of Jodo Shinshu. It is Ta Riki Hon Gwan, the sixth of eight important teachings. It is a Japanese idiom and Hon Gwan is a very important word. It is used for our mother temple’s name as you know, Hongwan-ji (temple). Now you know how important the word Hon Gwan is. Ta means ‘others. Riki literally means ‘power’, but in Buddhism, we should understand it as ‘help and support of others. The word, Ta-Riki is often described as Other Power, then it sounds like a god or deity provides us physical or spiritual benefit, and as the result it may confuse people living in the Christian society. Hon means ‘main’ or ‘core’. Gwan literally means ‘Vow’, but more precisely it can be understood as a statement which leads others to be enlightened.
Our founder, Shinran Shonin describes what Ta-Riki, in his book, Kyogyoshinsho, Kyo-Kan. He states “Ta-Riki is also called the efficacy of Hon-Gwan by the Tathagata. 他力といふは如来の本願力なり” In this sentence, he treats Ta-Riki and Hon-Gwan almost equivalently. The efficacy of Hon-Gwan will appear as your deepest appreciative reaction with Nenbutsu (recitation of Namo Amida Butsu), to the 18th vow of the Amida Tathagata. It also means when we are touched by Ta-Riki, our heart will be filled with the sense of deepest appreciation to the 18th vow. The 18th vow embraces all sentient beings without any discrimination, distinction nor requirement. It means there is no discrimination, distinction nor requirement in the life of interdependence. You might have heard “live as you are” or “come as you are” before. Providing the atmosphere of “as you are” is the essence of the 18th vow. “As you are” contains a unique Buddhist understanding.
You may question what is “YOU” in the Buddhist context of “as you are”? The historical Buddha explains there is no “YOU”. YOU are formed and maintained by numerous others. YOU do not exist by yourself. Just like… since YOU are born, how many grains of rice (gallons of water) have you consumed to maintain yourself? YOU (your existence) are the result of interdependence of life (help and support of others). The Buddhist teaching does not test you whether you KNOW it, instead, you LIVE with it. In the last 20 years, I have heard from people like, that it is hard to understand Buddhism. Yes, it is hard to intellectually understand Buddhism, but it is easy to live with it. When I was in Japan, Buddhism existed as a Living Dharma. I could feel or experience Buddha Dharma in my everyday life, because I was told that Buddhism is a teaching to live with. When I came to the U.S., I was surprised that many people were eager to study Buddhism, but not live with it. It was one of my culture shocks. Now I know such attitude (custom) is brought on by the idea of Bible study and Theology.
Once you start living in the life of interdependence or keep awaking that the result of interdependence is your existence, you will truly enjoy and appreciate your existence without thinking of your financial status, your position in your society or work, or other judgmental and discriminatory minds (in other words, self-righteous). In Buddhism, Self-righteous is a NO NO characteristics. Under the life of interdependence, when I point out someone and say he is wrong, my forefinger is also pointing to myself and tells me that I am wrong for him because I am a part of others and others are a part of me. Everything is connected to each other. “YOU” is a person who truly enjoys his/her life with gratitude and appreciation in the life of interdependence. The Buddhism understanding of YOU shows the uniqueness.
Shinran Shonin often conducted self-contemplation (Nai Sei or Nai Kan) to feel and recall the life of interdependence and impressed his gratitude and appreciation on his mind. To me, it can be understood as Jodo Shinshu meditation. I know we are living a busy life, but I would like you to pause and stop for conducting self-contemplation. You will be happy to live with it.
Why We Pursue the Seven Masters
“If the Awakening-words of Buddha’s Amitābha which an inconceivable Wisdom and Empathy on the Buddhahood is true, Sakyamuni's teachings cannot be false. If the Buddha's teaching is true, Shan-tao's commentaries cannot be false. If Shan-tao's commentaries are true, how can Ho-nen's words be empty? If Ho-nen's words are true, what I, Shinran, say about attaining Buddhahood by the Nenbutsu cannot be meaningless.” Tanni-sho [Book II, The Text, Chapter 2]
“Why do we pursue the Seven Masters?” is a frequent question from members.
One asked, "Rinban, I know there were such people as the Seven Masters, but I don't know the details of them, and to be honest, I'm not very interested in them because they lived 1,000 or 2,000 years ago. It doesn't matter to me what these people say. So rather, show the Buddha's teachings directly to support us living in the present time.”
At first glance, it sounds like a legitimate opinion, but it seems that there is a serious misunderstanding about Buddhism.
The first thing to remember when learning about the uniqueness of Buddhism is that Buddhism has no holy book. For the Buddha, he didn't think that there was a necessity for an authoritative sacred scripture like the religion before him. Some may say, "There are Sutras in Buddhism, aren’t there?" But "Sutras" are self-reports of the people who received the guidance that the Buddha actually met and gave personally. These were not signed, written, or stated by the Buddha himself.
Tens of thousands of "reports" have remained till now as a result of the Buddha in taking each and every one of their realities seriously and instructing how to become a Buddha under their limited conditions.
However, the contents are very different, and when read by ordinary people, the more they read, the more confusing they become. This is because the Buddha shared his teachings according to the personal qualities of each individual. Each person's life is different. Surprisingly, Buddha shows a way of suitable expression to the targeted person that fits perfectly with each life.
Even so, in the first few hundred years after the death of Buddha, there were Buddhist teachings and methods that were almost perfectly inherited by oral tradition, but around 4th century B.C.E., those were written down on banana-leaf papers by orders of ancient monarchy. It is said that when it came to the public, arbitrary interpretations began and Buddhism quickly fell into a state of great confusion.
For the next 500 years, the Buddhist teachings continued to be in turmoil, and the uniqueness of Buddhism was about to be
lost. At this time, the First Master of the Seven Masters, Nāgārjuna (Ryuju, AD.150-250), appeared. He re-created the Buddha's logic as if he were a direct disciple of the Buddha, understood the Buddha's ideals and intent with astonishing accuracy, and clearly proclaimed the motive of the Buddha's sharing his dharma for all sentient beings to the people of 2nd century in India. Nāgārjuna shared the Buddha-dharma by the best suitable expression of the teaching for the targeted person exactly like the Buddha. The revival of Mahayana, the Buddha's Intent, has begun.
Since then, at intervals of 100 to 200 years, in different civilizations of India, China, and Japan, Six Masters who shared the Buddha-dharma by the best suitable expression of the teaching for the targeted person exactly like Nāgārjuna, appeared. They were all really like direct disciples of the Buddha.
The six Masters of Vasubandhu, T’anluan, Taoch’o, Shandao, Genshin and Genku (a.k.a. Hōnen) followed, and finally, Shinran Shōnin would appear. There was no appearance of Shinran Shōnin without great achievements in each era and place by the Seven Masters. And, the strong influence of Shinran Shōnin's guidance has continued to be effective in Japan until the 21st century, and under that influence, Shin Buddhism in the United States began.
From last year to this year, I have had a chance to talk about some of the Seven Masters: 1st, Nāgārjuna; 2nd, Vasbandu; and 3rd, T’anluan. I will continue to talk about the other four masters as appropriate.
If you can't wait that long and want to know more now, join the “Shoshin-ge Study Class” on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom. We are trying to translate the chapters of Buddha’s Amitābha, Ṡākyamuni Buddha, Nāgārjuna, Vasubandhu, T’anluan, Taoch’o, Shandao, Genshin and Hōnen into 21st century English. Here we are discussing the current version of the Shōshin-ge as of 2021.
I strongly hope for the emergence of the American-born Master who can share the Buddha-dharma by the best suitable expression of the teaching for the targeted Americans. Such a person is truly awaited in the current American Buddhism.
By that time, Shinran Shōnin will have become the eighth master of Shin Buddhism, and a new term, "the Eight Masters of Shin Buddhism," may have been added to the history of Mahāyāna Buddhism.
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.
Luncheons will be served, but it may require that we dine outdoors. Although it was warm for the Hatsubon service, we were able to set up tents outside to provide shade on the patio.
We hope that everyone will continue to attend our in-person services and if necessary, wear a mask to protect those most vulnerable. We had over 80 members, family, and friends come out to honor their loved ones at the Hatsubon service. It was nice to see so many of you!
Our "in person" service on Sunday, October 10, 2021 at 10:00 AM is scheduled, so we hope to see you there!
Congratulations to Reedley Buddhist Church Dharma Scholarship Recipients
Congratulations to Keiko Kajihara (2nd from left) and Rylee Kubo (3rd from left), recipients of the Reedley Buddhist Church Dharma Scholarship. Both were very active in the Reedley Jr. YBA and CC Jr. YBA. They are seen with church president, Judy Kobayashi and Rev. Kaz Nakata.
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
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
Email Webmaster: email@example.com