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.   


REEDLEY ONLINE AUCTION: The link to the online auction will be found here when it is available.  All bids will be made from April 1 - 15th.  You will be able to preview the auction here soon!



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.

March Calendar

Rev. Nakagawa's Message

        March, 2021 Newsletter Article

6    Church Yard Clean Up Day                                8:00 am

7  Monthly Memorial Service & Family
      Dharma Service ONLINE from
      Reedley                                                            10:00 am

8  Family Dharma Service ONLINE
       from Fresno                                                     10:00 am

16   CCDC Meeting on Zoom                                 7:00 pm

18   RBC Board Meeting on Zoom                         7:00 pm

21   Spring Ohigan Service ONLINE
         from Tule Lake Memorial Site                      10:00 am

28   Family Dharma Service ONLINE
         from Fowler                                                  10:00 am


        Let's Cross to the Other Shore

     “Birth-and-death are this shore, Nirvana is the Other Shore, and Bonno (the Blind Passions) are the swift currents in-between that would be swept away with every worldly effort. The Mahayana Bodhisattvas boarded a Pāramitā Meditation boat with inconceivable Wisdom from this shore of birth-and-death to the other shore of true-and-real Enlightenment."
    In March, Spring Ohigan is held at the turn of the season. In particular, the spring equinoctial week is an event that announces the arrival of the nicest season, free from the chilly mornings.
    The national holiday law of Buddhist countries states that the Spring Ohigan is "to praise Nature and care for living things," and the Fall Ohigan is "to respect the ancestors and to honor those who have passed away."
    We must celebrate the spring of new life, praise the blessings of Mother Nature, thank all support from between heaven and earth, and offer our gratitude in memory of the great virtues of our predecessors.
    Taking this opportunity, our ancestors continued to worship their ancestors since ancient times, but after the 6th century while learning a whole new insightful Buddha dharma--the universal truth reality--they left behind the right way of life-being to follow the rhythm of human-life that suited them.  The lives of those who forget their ancestors and do not think of their parents will be corrupt someday.
    Day by day, in the ups and downs of this world of egoistic birth-and-death, if we scold ourselves and stare at one self, and when joined in the true working of the wisdom of the Buddha by validating Nenbutsu, this shore of delusion will be changed to the other shore of true and real Enlightenment.
    Let's devote ourselves to living in the world of enlightenment, seriously under the torch of wisdom that shows the route that crosses the Ocean of birth-and-death.
    Like Fall Ohigan in 2020 in Manzanar, Spring Ohigan in 2021 will be in front of the monument on the site of the Poston Concentration Camp. We CC Ministers will conduct Central California Sangha's 2021 Virtual Spring Ohigan Service on Twitter from Poston.  This is one of many places where Americans of Japanese ancestry were detained under discriminatory crackdowns during World War II.  During World War II, manypeople and families suddenly had to spend this unimaginable period of life inside the barbed wire fences at this Poston camp.
    There is a Japanese word "Shikata-ga-nai.”   Nowadays, not only the 3-sei (third) but also the 4-sei (fourth) and 5-sei (fifth) generations know it as a Japanese word that seems to symbolize the experience of the Concentration Camp. And this word is used as a word of “giving up” because Japanese Americans detained in Concentration Camps during World War II were despaired in a difficult reality.     The use of this word is based on a great deal of misunderstanding, but especially such “Lost in Translations” are clearly detrimental to the new generation in shaping their identity as Americans of Japanese ancestry. Because it is a word that emphasizes wrongly the negativeness of Japanese Americans, it is not really true. (I wrote the detailed story in my article in the October newsletters of each Central California Sangha.)
    From its conclusion, most of the 1-sei (first) and 2-sei (second) generations of Japanese immigrants at that time did not use and speak the Japanese word "Shikata-ga-nai."  The word "Shikata-ga-nai" is a standard word used after the 19th century centered around the Tokyo capital area and is a word found mainly in modern Japanese teaching materials.
    Around 100 years ago, most of the large numbers of immigrants to the west coast of the United States were from the western part of the Japanese archipelago, such as Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Shimane, and Kitakyushu, and the western dialect they spoke was far different from the Tokyo-capital standard. Moreover, people in the western Japan region have kept a strong Buddhist cultural background, since people in those area encountered Buddhism 1,500 years ago. That is why they absolutely never said "Shikata-ga-nai.” "Shikata-ga-nai" is a word of complete resignation, looking up at the sky with both hands up. That pose means "I can't help it" or “There is nothing for it but to accept.” 
    When in trouble, real 1-sei and 2-sei immigrants who handled western Japanese language said "Shō-ga-nai-ken-nō.”  This word comes out when they looked down, focusing on the point with their arms crossed, recognizing the desperate situation, but thinking about possible ways to solve it.  That contrasting pose means “It’s a first time with this experience; no data cannot help…well, let me think….”

     The unreasonableness of the federal government forced Americans of Japanese ancestry to live in Concentration Camps that violated the Constitution.
    Our 1-sei and 2-sei immigrants spoke the same words of their ancestors, “Shō-ga-nai-ken-nō--well, let me think…” and concluded, "GO FOR BROKE!"  (I won't discuss here whether it is good or bad for the Buddhists to go to war.)  But the same event that had occurred in 16th century Japan, again occurred in 20th century America.
    It is a fact that for the sake of their mothers, sisters and for their families left behind in the Concentration Camps, the Nikkei troop, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, continued to perform their duty even when the casualty rate exceeded 300%.  They were never to be the descendants of the career Samurai warriors--they were the descendants of the Jodo Shinshu farmers rebel army (Ikkō-Ikki一向一揆), who almost got established as a republic nation in the 16th century of Japan.  It was they who appeared again miraculously in the 20th century United States of America.
    Jodo Shinshu Buddhists never despair and never give up. We are the successors to the core of Mahayana Buddhism, which is Śākyamuni Buddha's most targeted expression. 
    It is a way of life that we have learned from Buddhism from 1,500 years ago in Japan.
    Since the incomprehensible Covid-19 pandemic has erupted, we are experiencing a truly unpredictable reality of what will happen in real time.  We must try to avoid fiction and uncertainty as much as possible and try to light the torch of wisdom.

Please never say "Shikata-ga-nai" while looking up at the sky with both hands up before you reach the other shore.

It's always "Shō-ga-nai-ken-nō--well, let us think…" in Jodo Shinshu.

Rev. Nakata's Message

     March, 2021 Newsletter Article

Our Wisteria Seal Adds Depth
and Meaning to the Teaching of

Hello, all Central California Sangha friends! Since the stay-at-home order was enacted, we have been experiencing a life of the pandemic. Although many of our activities are limited, as a CC minister, I always try to think of things I can do for you in the current situation, in addition to starting or creating new Education programs and fundraisers for CC since last March. But mainly, what I CAN do is to maintain what I was doing before the pandemic began, as much as possible. We continue to conduct memorial services and weekly Sunday services.

A few weeks ago, I conducted a graveside burial service. After the service, one of the family members pointed to their family grave and asked, “What does this symbol mean and why is it on our family grave?”  On their gravestone is the Wisteria seal. So, while keeping socially distanced, I explained.

Have you looked at your family gravestone in detail?  Do you remember whether or not the gravestones have the Wisteria engraved? Do you know what the Wisteria seal means on these gravestones?

In this article, I would like to share what it is and its meaning.

First, the short answer. The symbol is the seal of Nishi Hongwanji. You might be able to guess what it is.

Now, the brief transition TRANSLATION of the seal.

Some of you may know that each Japanese
family in Japan has a family seal/crest. It is
known as “Kamon” or “Mon”. Ka means
“family, and Mon is “seal”. I know some
Japanese restaurants in the US are named
“Kamon”. Our founder is Shinran Shonin and
his family name is Hino. The Hino family seal is “a crane with its wings spread”. You may know the story of the thousand cranes. When someone gets sick, people make a thousand cranes out of Origami paper with its message being, “get well and live long”. In fact, people in far east Asia, believed a crane can live up to 1,000 years. So, it became a symbol of longevity. If you have Japanese friends, or Japanese origin, you may find a unique seal.

Shinran Shonin was lived in the 13th
Century. 300 years after his passing,
Shonyo was head of Hongwanji temple,
the 10th Monshu. He changed the seal to
the Wisteria but the shape was different
from what we have now. The seal of
Wisteriawith Eight Vines had been used for three
centuries. Some minister robes still have this design on them.

In 1898, Kyonyo, the 22nd Monshu of Nishi Hongwanji married Kazuko Kujo (sister in-law of the Taisho Emperor), and Kazuko brought the Wisteria seal with two hanging vines to the Hongwanji family. I have seen this hanging Wisteria design on old Issei Service books or other publications, because some of the Japanese Issei immigrants came to the US before marriage.

In 1903, when Kyonyo conducted his
accession ceremony to become the Monshu,
he designated the (hanging vine) Wisteria
as the official seal and as the Hongwanji
emblem. Our Monto-Shikisho, or Okesa
bears this seal.

As I wrote, Kazuko Kujo brought the hanging vine Wisteria to Hongwanji. Do you know who she is? Her sister in-law Lady Takeko Kujo is very famous. She is known as the woman who started the Buddhist
Women’s Association (BWA), but the
actual story is that Lady Takeko helped
Lady Kazuko establish the BWA. So,
as wife of the Monshu, Lady Kazuko
was the honorable advisor to the BWA,
and Lady Takeko became the leader of
the BWA. This means that one of the founding ladies of the BWA introduced the seal of the Wisteria.

I have a Wisteria tree in my front yard. During late spring in May, purple or pink color flowers bloom on the hanging vines. As you know, the Wisteria tree needs supports to grow their vines and show their beautiful flowers. Just like grape vines. it cannot grow without support. Our human life is like that of the Wisteria. Without other’s help and support, we are not able to sustain our life. Since the day we were born, we have been receiving help from numerous hands. The wisteria is really a symbol of our fundamental teaching – Interdependence.

At the graveside service, I pointed to the Wisteria seal and said, “it is a symbol of interdependence of our life. When you see it at the graveside, it will remind you that you will always be connected to your loved ones who are buried under the gravestone. But at the same time, their memories are always in your mind and heart, to help you to feel less alone. You are always with them.” Gassho.

A Taste of Bazaar Flyer with Silent Auct

      Reedley Buddhist Church presents
           A Taste of Bazaar

Click on the image below to open a PDF to download.

Click here to take you to the Online Auction - available on April 1st.

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.  

The 2021 Crab Feed and Silent Auction 

will not be held due to Covid-19.

We hope to return the following year on
Saturday, March 5, 2022

The annual Reedley Buddhist Church

Food Bazaar

is tentatively scheduled for 

Sunday, November 7, 2021

We hope you will mark your calendars

and come out to support us!  

© 2018 Reedley Buddhist Church -  Proudly created with Wix.com

2035 15th Street - P.O. Box 24
Reedley, CA  93654                     Phone: (559) 638-2146

Email Church President,
Judy Kobayashi

Supervising Ministers:

Rev. Kakei Nakagawa, Rinban
     Fresno Betsuin Buddhist 


Rev. Kaz Nakata

Email Webmaster:  reedleybc@gmail.com