Welcome to Fresno Buddhist Temple
The Fresno Betsuin Buddhist temple situated at 1340 Kern Street in downtown Fresno,. belongs to the Jodo Shinshu (Pure Land) denomination of Buddhism Our founder is Shinran Shonin (1173-1262), a Japanese priest who lived during the medieval Kamakura period of Japan. The title "Shonin" is give to honor a Japanese priest. His statue stands in the front garden of the temple.
The history of the Fresno Betsuin Buddhist Temple
begins with the first "Howakai", or religious
gathering, held in mid-November of 1899.
The Rev. Kakuryo Nishijima of
the San Francisco Bukkyo Seinenkai conducted the service. Later,
through the efforts of Dr. Katsugoro Haida of San Francisco, a Bukkyo
Seinenkai was established in Fresno as a branch of the San Francisco Young
Men's Buddhist Association. In January of 1900 it was officially
recognized by the San Francisco headquarters and later went on to become the
Fresno Hompa Hongwanji, the official title of the Fresno Betsuin Buddhist
Members gathered for their meetings at 825
"F" Street. The average age of the members then was only twenty-four
years old. In January of 1901 the first resident minister, the Rev.
Fukyo Asaeda, was assigned from the mother temple Hompa Hongwanji of Kyoto,
Japan, ant the first service was held on January 27, 1901. Not long
afterwards a three-story temple building was completed on April 8, 1902, it
was dedicated. Fifteen years later in January of 1917 the name was
changed and the Fresno Buddhist Church was born.
Unfortunately, in May of 1919, a fire destroyed the wooden building, leaving nothing but the adjacent dormitory standing. The members were disheartened but not defeated, soon gathered enough funds to replace the wooden structure with a concrete building. This building was dedicated in November of 1920. It is the same structure that is currently standing at the 1340 Kern Street site.
On November 4, 1936, the Fresno Buddhist Church was elevated to the status of "Betsuin" by the mother temple Hompa Hongwanji of Kyoto Japan. A "Betsuin" temple indicates direct branch status with the mother temple and is a great honor. This new status confers the title of "Rimban" to the head minister, who is said to serve as the representative of the "Abbot", or Monshu who is the religious head of the the denomination. The Rev. Enryo Shigefuji was the first minister to be granted the title of Rimban of Fresno Buddhist Temple. Currently, Rev. Kakei Nakagawa is the Rimban. The membership consists of over 1,400 people stretching around the San Joaquin Valley.
The Fresno Betsuin Buddhist Temple celebrated its Centennial
on October 7, 2001. Upon completion of the Family Dharma Center at the new
site on Alluvial, the dedication was held on January 30, 2010. That same year
on May 1, 2010, the Central California District gathered to celebrate the 750th
Shinran Shonin Memorial at the Family Dharma Center.
The focus now is to begin construction of the Hondo building that will also include administrative offices, minister's offices, storage and meeting rooms.
We should celebrate our past, rich in tradition, foresight, sacrifices, and achievements. We are fortunate to be blessed with a valuable legacy created with great commitment to the Nembutsu. The Fresno Betsuin Buddhist Temple is dedicated to ensuring that the teachings of Namo Amida Butsu remain a viable part of our lives today and tomorrow.
In the true spirit of the Nembutsu may we continue our legacy throughout past, present, and future: Namo Amida Butsu.