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.
JUNE & JULY SERVICES & ACTIVITIES UPDATE
June 12, 2022 - June Memorial (Shotsuki) Service & Dharma Service - 10:00 AM
June 14 - Obon Dance Practice - 7:00 PM
June 21 - Obon Dance Practice - 7:00 PM
June 23 - Obon Dance Practice - 7:00 PM
June 28 - Obon Dance Practice - 7:00 PM
July 2, 2022 - Reedley Obon Festival - food sales - 5:00 PM & dancing - 8:00 PM
July 3, 2022 - Hatsubon/Obon Service - 10:00 AM
July Shotsuki (Memorial) Service
12 Monthly Memorial (Shotsuki) and
Dharma Service 10:00 am
13 Obon Dance Practice - Conference Room 7:00 pm
14 CCMAC Meeting on Zoom 7:00 pm
15 Obon Dance Practice - Conference Room 7:00 pm
16 Reedley BC Board Meeting 7:00 pm
17 Obon Dance Practice - Conference Room 7:00 pm
18 Obon Dance Practice - Conference Room 7:00 pm
19 Omigaki - Altar Cleaning 6:00 pm
2 Reedley Obon - Food for sale 5:00 pm
Obon Dancing 8:00 pm
3 Hatsubon/Obon Service 10:00 am
A Taste of Bazaar
to everyone for your help and support! It was a successful event once again!
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.
Rev. Nakagawa's Message
June, 2022 Newsletter Article
Rev. Nakata's Message
June, 2022 Newsletter Article
Teaching Jodo Shinshu for the next
79 years so that there will be Jodo
Shinshu in the 22nd Century
Hello all Central California Nishi Hongwanji Sangha friends! I wrote “Spring has come” in the April newsletter but now I need to say Summer has come! We are already experiencing over 90-degree days, and some CC temple and churches are heading toward the Obon season! Please keep drinking water to avoid dehydration.
Since becoming a minister in 2001, I have always been thinking about how I can introduce Jodo Shinshu teaching to newer and younger generations. Soon after I received my first ministerial assignment to Sacramento Betsuin, I began a weekly Adult Study Class at the Betsuin. I was informed by their board that I was the first minister to host a weekly Study Class there. During my ministry in Sacramento, I hosted the class for 5 years and many non-members participated in these classes. In 2009, I moved to Virginia for another assignment. The Jodo Shinshu temple in Virginia had a very diverse ethnic Sangha community. Japanese Americans are the majority (sometime 80-90%) of temple members at most of Jodo Shinshu temples in the U.S. At the Temple in Virginia, Ekoji had only about (or less than) 10% of Japanese American membership. Although Jodo Shinshu Temples in the US (BCA) is a well-known amongst Japanese American society, Jodo Shinshu is almost unknown to people who are outside of the society. So, I started working for the local county government as a Community Chaplain, to make local people aware of the presence of Jodo Shinshu Teachings available in Virginia and the greater metropolitan area of Washington D.C. Since Ekoji temple is in the forest and rural area, I could not just wait at the temple to greet people for a visit (lucky if only a few people visited in one month) or study Buddhism at the temple. I applied to become a campus chaplain at George Mason University and started teaching an Introduction to Buddhism class and founded the Buddhist Club, for weekly Discussion and Meditation sessions. That was not enough to grow the number of Jodo Shinshu members and students in the non-Japanese American society, so I started teaching Jodo Shinshu and Introduction to Buddhism at different schools and organizations, such as Georgetown University, George Washington University, American University, and Virginia State Public School Teachers’ Association, which includes several sessions at the Rayburn House Office Building for members of Congress. I was working so hard in the D.C. metropolitan area to promote Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, and so one of the members of Congress offered me the opportunity to become a Chaplain at the National Institute of Health, although I kindly declined the offer! As the intensive effort for promotion of Jodo Shinshu, Ekoji gained more participation of the local people.
Some of our CC Sangha members may wonder that why I do many community activities here in Central Cal such as the Homelessness project, participation in the Mayor’s Interfaith Cabinet and delivering the Invocation at the City Council meeting. The main reason is that it is good for our society, and the second reason is to promote the presence of Jodo Shinshu here in Central Cal. As I mentioned, Jodo Shinshu is well-known among the Central Cal Japanese American society, but the reality is that most Central Cal residents do not know us. So, I often go out to help our local communities and hope that people will recognize our existence. Otherwise, even people who live only few blocks from our CC churches may not know our churches’ existence. Many of you may think Ministers are only busy on weekends, but that is not true. We do many things during the week to promote our teachings. I’ve experienced that the weekend lively Buddhist activities are the result of the weekday promotions of Buddhism.
How and where did you celebrate the year 2001? In 2001, I was in Kyoto and was busy finishing my Kaikyoshi training for the oversea deployment at the International Department of Nishi Hongwanji. While I was receiving training, I was working at a private high school as a math teacher. Though I really enjoyed teaching math, I was also very interested in sharing Buddhist teachings. At that time, my primary interest was the adult Dharma discussion, and not so much youth Buddhist education. But after our first child Kanon was born in 2008, I changed my mind and started thinking about the importance of youth education. There is a reason for that. When I moved to Sacramento, I attended Sacramento City College and took English classes. There were some missionaries, and they were trying to persuade or convert young students to their faith or belief. I was strong enough to say NO, but some students were joining their pizza parties or dancing clubs. Later, these students started talking about their new religion.
Since then, I made an extra effort to youth education, not only Dharma School, but also Buddhist education in Scouts such as Sangha, Padma, Metta Award Classes. I have trained some of our middle school and high school students. They learned Jodo Shinshu ritual so when they go to college, they can start their own Buddhist club to maintain their appreciation for life through Jodo Shinshu. Many CC temples and churches are facing difficulties in increasing Dharma School attendance. I plan to promote youth Buddhist education in the local society so that children who have never heard of Buddhism may start joining our Dharma School program.
800 years has passed since Jodo Shinshu Nishi Hongwanji has founded. It was possible to maintain for so many centuries due to the help and support of the Sangha supporters. I am sure that if we continue helping and supporting this wonderful teaching, Jodo Shinshu will remain like how it has been remained for last 800 years. If we continue to teach Jodo Shinshu to our children, even though I will no longer be here, Sangha friends in the 22nd century will continue appreciate what I appreciate now, and I will continue living in their expression of Namo Amida Butsu.
It was my great pleasure to officiate the Opening Service of the new 'Hondo’, the main Dōjō of Nenbutsu of the Central California Nishi-Honganji Fresno Betsuin Buddhist Temple.
Since 1902, when the first Hondo was constructed on Kern Street in Fresno, the Fresno Betsuin has served as the core of the Central California Buddhist activities for nearly 120 years. The original Hondo was destroyed by fire in 1919, but the Issei and young Nisei rebuilt a new Hondo the following year in 1920, and for almost 100 years thereafter, the unique three-story reinforced concrete building of the Euro/Japanese eclectic style in downtown Fresno, California, served as a symbol of the Japanese American community.
However, in the 1980s, the reality of blight in the southern part of Fresno City began to set in. In the 1990s, it became difficult to safely operate the service in the temple, and the relocation of the temple site was seriously discussed. As a result of frequent meetings by the successive Rinbans and the members, a major project was proposed and carried out to relocate the entire facility to the current location on East Alluvial Avenue in northern Fresno.
Although the plan seemed to be on track at first, the path to immediate realization has become more difficult since the 2000s, mainly due to changes in the global economic structure and a variety of other circumstances. That we all know.
Today, the long-cherished wish of all the members of the Sangha, including successive presidents, has finally been realized after almost three decades. I am pleased to report that we were able to raise the enormous amount of funds to cover the total construction costs and solemnly hold today's Enshrinement Service with the beauty of the new main hall and new Buddhist altar fittings.
This was made possible by the virtues of the Buddha and the extraordinary efforts of successive ministers, but it would not have been possible without the extraordinary devotion of all the members of the Fresno Betsuin. We should all congratulate them on this achievement.
I am now reminded of the faces of the many Dharma friends who passed away before seeing the completion of the new, beautiful Hondo. Their dedication will surely be rewarded. I have no doubt that their precious causes will be the driving force to keep the wheel of Dharma turning at the Fresno Betsuin Buddhist Temple, and that Buddha-dharma will continue to flourish for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Hyōbyaku the Pronouncement of the Purpose to the Opening Service.
I respectfully address the Śākyamuni Buddha's workings of Immeasurable Wisdom and limitless kindness by voicing with Namu-Amitabha which extends to this day.
When I humbly reflect upon the past, I realize that Śākyamuni Buddha's Amitābha in order to liberate all sentient beings from their ignorance and delusion, fulfilled the primal Vow and transferred great merit.
Śākyamuni Buddha explained the Primal Vow caused by Buddha-nature to show us the purpose of his appearance in this world.
The Seven Masters of Jōdo-Shinshū, receiving the true spirit of Mahāyāna Buddhism, correctly interpreted the Nenbutsu teachings of the un-conditional during their lifetime.
Our founder, Shinran Shōnin, expressed such an ultimate virtue of Mahāyāna Dharma in the “Kyō-gyō-shin-shō”.
Being taught and guided by Shinran Shōnin, I am able to hear the true and real Teaching and become a true human being empathized by the Great Compassion of Śākyamuni Buddha.
As I reflect with gratitude on the benevolence of the Buddha, the many teachers, and friends in Dharma who help to guide my way, a feeling of thankfulness grows.
I am certain to attain Buddhahood in the state of perfect peace and utmost bliss through the Nenbutsu.
Today, on the occasion of the Enshrine Service of the Central Object of Reverence, the members and friends in Dharma of the Nishi-Honganji Fresno Betsuin Buddhist Temple have gathered here before this skillfully expressed image of Namu-Amitābha to be reminded of the Buddha's Teachings and to express their gratitude to the immeasurable Wisdom and Compassion.
Thus, I, the eighth Rinban of the Nishi-Honganji Fresno Betsuin Buddhist Temple, Reverend Kakei Nakagawa, deputized by the Monshu, the Lord Bishop Ohtani Kojun, reverently announce the Pronouncement of the Purpose to this service.
Finding myself within the words of the True and real Dharma, and being allowed to live within boundless Life which I have received, embraced by the Tathāgata's Great Compassion, I live peacefully each day.
Respectfully and with sincerity I express and celebrate my joy in the profound benefit of receiving the Noble Teachings.
With our hearts and minds bent in deep gratitude, we express our joy and simple thankfulness to Shinran Shōnin, our innumerable Nenbutsu teachers, and to all beings with which we are connected.
May we all truly reflect with gratitude and humility on that which we have been allowed to receive through the Teachings of the Buddha.
May we always endeavor to listen intently with our fellow beings to the Summoning Voice of the Buddha, and together as one family be assembled in the State of Enlightenment.
With a radiant Boundless Mind, may we each regard all living beings with loving kindness without limit.
We vow to always be reminded of Buddha’s awakening prayer for the world and we will never fail to share the Nenbutsu, and that we will never neglect to do so.
May we all strive to listen to the Dharma and keep the Path, and may we all live joyous days of fulfilled Dharma.
I respectfully submit the purpose to this service.
Reverend Kakei Nakagawa, Rinban
Reedley Board Meetings
The Reedley Buddhist Church Board started the year having their meetings online using Zoom, but moved to in-person when everyone was fully vaccinated. 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.
Church services resumed, but depending on the local health directives, this will change from month to month. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org