Welcome to Fresno Buddhist Temple
The Fresno Betsuin Buddhist temple situated at 2690 E. Alluvial Avenue in Fresno, California, belongs to the Jodo Shinshu (Pure Land) denomination of Buddhism. The founder of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism is Shinran Shonin (1173-1262), a Japanese priest who lived during the medieval Kamakura period of Japan. The title "Shonin" is given 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 its first "Howakai", or religious gathering, held in mid-November of 1899.
Dedicated in November 1920, 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 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 Temple.
Members gathered for their meetings at 825 "F" Street. The average age of the members then was only twenty-four years old. In January 1901, the first resident minister, the Rev. Fukyo Asaeda, was assigned from the mother temple Hompa Hongwanji of Kyoto, Japan, and the first service was held on January 27, 1901. Not long afterwards, a three-story temple building was completed on April 8, 1902 and was dedicated. Fifteen years later in January 1917 the name was changed, and the Fresno Buddhist Church was born. Unfortunately, in May 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 1920 and is the same structure that currently stands 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, the religious head of 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 Jodo Shinshu membership consists of over 1,400 people stretching across the San Joaquin Valley..
The Fresno Betsuin Buddhist Temple celebrated its Centennial on October 7, 2001.
Dedication of the Family Dharma Center at our current location (2690 E. Alluvial Avenue in Fresno), was held on January 30, 2010. In May of that same year, the Central California District gathered to celebrate the 750th Shinran Shonin Memorial at the Family Dharma Center.
In 2018, the Kern Street property was sold and is now the site of the Burmese Mrauk Oo Dhamma Center.
Soon, construction of the Hondo (main temple) will commence.
We 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 the Buddha remain a viable part of our lives today and tomorrow.
In the true spirit of the Nembutsu, may we continue our legacy throughout the past, present, and future. Namo Amida Butsu.