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Buddhist Temple of Alameda

Buddhist Temple of Alameda | Japanese-City.com

Location Information

2325 Pacific Ave
Alameda, CA 94501

The Buddhist Temple of Alameda, a Shin Buddhist (Jodo Shinshu) temple, was established in 1916 under the auspices of the Buddhist Mission of North America (now the Buddhist Churches of America), the mainland United States branch of the Jodo Shinshu Hompa Hongwanji (Temple) of Japan, at 2325 Pacific Avenue in Alameda by Japanese immigrants who had settled in Alameda since the turn of the 20th century. The beginning congregation of about 60 first rented a room in the Victorian-style mansion owned by former mayor of Alameda, Mr. Edward Kimberlin Taylor, to conduct its religious services. The property was then bought in 1919 and its interior altered for use as a temple and residence for the minister and his family.

In the Temples early years, its membership grew many folds under the leadership of Reverend Shisei Shinohara, the first resident minister, and his successors, as new members were drawn from Southern Alameda County. In 1925, a social hall was added on to the main building and in 1930 a house located on the Temple grounds was purchased to serve as a parsonage. The mansions interior was then further remodeled to provide classrooms and meeting rooms.

In the 1920s, a kindergarten for children of the immigrant families was conducted daily at the temple in addition to weekly religious classes. And during the 1930s, the Temples membership flourished with over 500 children attending Sunday school every week.

However, when the United States was drawn into World War II on December 7, 1941, the Temples resident minister, Reverend Joshin Motoyoshi, was taken into custody by the U.S. Government and interned as an enemy alien. Subsequently, the Government moved all persons of Japanese ancestry out of Alameda, first when all Japanese aliens were ordered to leave Alameda in February 1942, then in April when all persons of Japanese ancestry residing along the entire West Coast, were moved into into relocation centers outside the West Coast. The temple property was then taken over by the Government for use as a school for Navy personnel.

When the Japanese Americans moved out of their Alameda homes began returning after the war ended, the Temple was established as a temporary haven for many returning Alamedans. Reverend Motoyoshi also returned upon his release from an internment camp and resumed his duties as the Temples resident minister.

The late 1940s and early 1950s was a period of rebuilding, not only the lives of the returning Nisei (second generation) and their Issei (first generation) parents, but also of the Temple as a source of and place for spiritual comfort for its members, including many post-war newcomers to Alameda. Moreover, the lay leadership of the Temple was gradually passed from the pioneer Issei to the Nisei. In 1956, the Temples young adults created a Japanese-style garden in the temple yard to commemorate the Temples 40th anniversary and to honor their Issei parents.

In 1958, the Temple received title to the former Japanese language school property adjacent to the temples ground on Buena Vista Avenue and an apartment building was constructed in its place in 1959 for use as income property. The old school building had been used until 1955 as temporary housing for World War II evacuees.

In 1961, a new minister's residence was built to replace the old ministers residence. And in 1980, the social hall was completely remodeled by removing the stage, rebuilding the kitchen as a completely new facility, and adding new restrooms.

The Temples lay leadership passed completely to its second generation members in the 1970s, and to the third generation by the beginning of the 21st century. The current resident minister, the Temple’s ninth, is Reverend Zuikei Taniguchi, who has now served the Temple for 22 years. And as the Temples members looked forward to new horizons on the occasion of the Temples 90th Anniversary celebration in 2006, Buddhism study classes open to the public were begun under the title Shin Buddhism in the Contemporary World. These classes are held from 9:15 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. before the start of regular devotional services every. Sunday. Japanese language Shin Buddhism study classes are also conducted at the same time, as well as are childrens Dharma School classes.


Phone: (510) 522-5243
Website: Click to Visit
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