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.
SERVICES & ACTIVITIES UPDATE
Sunday, August 14, 2022 - August Memorial (Shotsuki) & Dharma Service - 10:00 AM
Sunday, September 11, 2022 - Ohigan, September Memorial (Shotsuki) & Dharma Service
Saturday, September 17, 2022 - Reedley BWA Bingo Day - 12:00 noon
Saturday, October 15, 2022 - Reedley BWA Yard Sale
Sunday, October 16, 2022 - Eshinni-Ko, Kakushinni-Ko, BWA Memorial, October
Memorial (Shotsuki), & Dharma Service - 10:00 AM
6 Kingsburg Obon - Food (4:00) Dancing 6:00 pm
14 August Memorial (Shotsuki) Service &
Dharma Service 10:00 am
20 Toronagashi at Shinzen Friendship Gardens 7:00 pm
24 Reedley BC Board Meeting 7:00 pm
BWA Yard Sale
October 15, 2022
Start cleaning out those garages and closets!
Due to the lack of storage space, we will not be able to accept any donated items until the week before the sale.
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.
Obon Festival 2022
Rev. Nakagawa's Message
July, 2022 Newsletter Article
Rev. Nakata's Message
August, 2022 Newsletter Article
“Knowing how much is enough”
makes us appreciate our everyday
Hello all Central California Nishi Hongwanji Sangha friends! The Obon season is nearly over. So far, Fowler, Fresno & Reedley have hosted their 2022 Obon Dance. If you have not had a chance to dance “Tanko-bushi” this year, it’s not too late! The final CC Obon for 2022 will be hosted by the Kingsburg Buddhist Church on August 6, so please come, and join us!
In our Jodo Shinshu tradition, during Sunday services, we usually have sutra chanting such as Juseige or Sanbutsuge. Do you know where Juseige and Sanbutsuge originated? These two chanting materials are included in a Buddhist text which is called Larger Sutra (translated version) or Sukhāvatī (original version). The translated title does not have much meaning, but the original title has an important meaning. It means “lead to equanimity.” If I add some words to the title, the title can be read as “this Sukhāvatī text leads you to the state of equanimity.” Perhaps you have never heard the word “equanimity” before. Equanimity is sometimes translated as ‘great calmness’ which is the objective for all Jodo Shinshu Sangha. Our Jodo Shinshu founder Shinran Shonin translated it in Japanese, An-non 安穏.
The text introduces several ways to reach the state of equanimity/great calmness. Living in Tariki/ Hongwan (primal vow), is one of the ways. This time, I would like to introduce another way which is described in the text. It is “knowing how much is enough” as the dharma message of the historical Buddha. In the translated Chinese text, it is written as 少欲知足 (sho yoku chi soku). The Senshin Buddhist Temple in Southern California has the stone monument of this sho yoku chi soku. If you have a chance to drive down to Los Angeles, please visit the temple to see the monument.
Have you ever said “oh, I ate too much” in your life? Please imagine that you were in a restaurant and ordered your favorite menu item for dinner. When your server brought your meal and placed it in front of you, you see, and smell the meal. As the result, your mouth waters. As your stomach starts to rumble, you may think “oh, I want to grab my meal right now!” At the occasion of dinner with ministers, you may be asked to wait to eat until after the saying of Itadakimasu by a reverend. You may say to yourself “hurry up, reverend, say it now!” Finally, a reverend stands up and says Itadakimasu! Then you rush to grab a knife and a fork and start eating your meal. For the first and second bites, you may really think “oh, this tastes soooo delicious,” but after you have finished half of your meal, you may start to feel as though you are only filling your stomach rather than enjoying it. When you see a quarter of the meal remaining, you may say “oh, I ate too much.” By that time, you no longer appreciate the meal. Have you experienced this before?
We are living in the world of “betterness – the quality or state of being better” or “moreness - the quality or state of having more.” One of the origins of such ideas was formed in the early 19th century in Europa as Progressivism. After the 17th century, Europeans gained confidence in their technological and philosophical development to overcome any obstacles in order to advance or improve their life.
It is good to have something better or more (such as buy one, get one free!). While able to manage our emotions on betterness or moreness, we are comfortably pursuing something better or more. However, when betterness and moreness starts to control our emotions or continues to stimulate our desires, we start to feel as though we are lacking something, a sense of un-fulfillment. These emotions make us feel frustration, stress, or even anger in our everyday life.
The story of Sukhāvatī was formed about 2,000 years ago somewhere in Southwest Asia. It tells that our emotional problem on betterness and moreness has been unchanged, although we think we have become smarter over the last 20 centuries. The historical Buddha generously informed us that “knowing how much is enough” reduces the sense of lacking or un-fulfillment so that we can live & appreciate our everyday life. The Buddha does not force us to apply his teaching to our life, but I really live my everyday life appreciative with much less Monku (complaints) after I have applied his teaching.
“I, Shinran, have never even once uttered the Nembutsu
for the sake of my father and mother. The reason is that
all beings have been fathers and mothers, brothers and
sisters, in the timeless process of birth-and-death since the birth of this universe. When I attain Buddhahood, each and every one will be saved without exception. If it could be a good accomplished by my own powers, then I could transfer the accumulated merits of my Nembutsu to save my father and mother. But since this is not the case, when we become free from self-power and quickly attain the enlightenment, we will save those bound closest to us, no matter how deeply they are immersed in karmic suffering.” (TANNISHO, chapter 5)
Obon is the most familiar festival celebrated by Buddhists. It is a dharma-gathering where we renew our thoughts about our ancestors by remembering our close relatives who have passed away.
By the way, who exactly are our ancestors? Are they my parents who gave birth to me and my grandparents who delivered my parents? For example, if you count the 32 generations of my ancestors, you will have more than the current population of the earth! If one of these people was missing for some reason, I would not be alive today. I can't help but think of the complicated fate of my birth. I can't help but wonder where and how my countless ancestors are now. Are they really sleeping in their graves?
One Chinese master once wrote, "My body is the dead body of my parents.” This means that the blood of countless ancestors flows from parent to child, child to grandchild, and is all condensed into my body. The bones buried beneath the grave are nothing, but the ancestors are still alive in this world. In other words, my body is a living ancestor. This is true not only for humans, but also for dogs, cats, and all living things. However, only human beings can be considered to have not only a body, but also a life that is lived with a wish. This wish may be represented by the words “happiness and well-being.”
Obon is properly called "Urabanna". Some of you probably know that the word "Ura" means "to be hanged upside down.” Let's take a look at some of the causes which we have fallen into difficulties.
1. We neglect what is important and value what is not important.
2. We put off things that need to be done and hurry to do things that don't need to be done.
3. Forgetting things that need to be remembered and remembering things that should be forgotten.
4. Asking questions that don't need to be asked, instead of asking questions that need to be asked.
5. I don't do what I have to do, but I try to do what I shouldn't do.
The list goes on and on. Even if you don't have a specific reason, I'm sure you can think of one.
Our suffering stems from this upside down way of being. We think we are standing on our feet, but we are really standing on our head, so we can never get rid of our suffering. If we just live a busy, busy life, we will never realize that we are standing on our head. Standing on one's head is unnatural, so it is several times more painful than standing correctly. As a result, we naturally complain more than those who are standing correctly. Running around on your head when it's hot will only make you more frustrated. Therefore, I suggest that you slow down for a couple of days and check your way of being, which is the meaning of "Ura", or “I’m standing on my head, ain't I?”
So, how can we check ourselves if we don't even realize that we are standing on our heads? The only way is to be exposed to the correct teachings is by Buddha's wisdom. It is only when we are exposed to the right teachings that we realize how upside down we are.
Bonn is a vessel. It means a vessel to scoop up the suffering, which means salvation. Therefore, the "Urabanna" is a gathering where those who are standing on their heads and suffering can be saved through the correct teachings. It is exactly not an event for the dead but for the living who are suffering from standing on their heads.
During the Obon season, we visit graves and read sutras in front of the family tomb stone, so it is often perceived as a Buddhist event for the dead. However, both visiting graves and reading sutras are opportunities for us who are still alive to think about the way we are today, while paying respect to our ancestors.
Those who think that visiting graves and reciting sutras are only for the dead will be surprised when they encounter the words of Tannisho, "I, Shinran, have never even once uttered the Nembutsu for the sake of my father and mother." However, this is the original way of Buddhism. There is no such thing in Buddhism as a way of thinking for the dead without considering one's own state as a living person. When we say that we do not recite the Nenbutsu or read the sutras for the dead, it may sound like we are mistreating our ancestors, but in reality, the act of reciting the Nenbutsu or reading the sutras for the dead is mistreating our ancestors.
One should know the reason for this is that in the act of reciting sutras for the dead, there is an unconscious prayer that the dead will go to a better place. The reason we pray for them to go to a better place is because we believe that our ancestors did not go to a better place. The belief that our ancestors did not go to better places is the reason why we pray for them in the form of Nenbutsu and Sutra reading.
We should remember our ancestors who headed towards the Pure moment under the light of Buddha's wisdom who kept sending "Namōmitābha (Namu Amitābha).” We will celebrate the 'Urabanna.’ I would like to welcome the Obon Festival with great care this year as well.
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