SENSHIN BUDDHIST TEMPLE
               Senshin  
        "cleansed-mind-temple"
          1311 W. 37th Street
       Los Angeles, Calif. 90007

         Tel: (323) 731-4617
         Fax: (323) 731-1318



SENSHIN BUDDHIST TEMPLE HISTORY

Established in 1951 as an independent temple, the Senshin Buddhist Temple belongs to the Jodoshinshu Sect, Hongwanjiha School, of Japanese Mahayana Buddhism and is popularly referred to as Nishihongwanji. Senshin Temple is an affiliate of the Buddhist Churches of America that is made up of some 60 temples in the continental United States with headquarters in San Francisco. An overseas branch of Jodoshinshu Hongwanjiha whose parent temple is in Kyoto, Japan, the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) is one of six overseas Sanghas, the others being Hawaii, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, and Europe.

Senshin Temple began as Senshin Gakuin, a Japanese language school and Sunday School conducted by Rev. and Mrs. Junin Ono from the Los Angeles Honpahongwanji Buddhist Temple (which became the Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Betsuin in 1931). He was succeeded by Rev. Hirofumi Kuwahara in 1932, Rev. Bumpo Kuwatsuki in 1938, and Rev. Jotetsu Ono just prior to the U.S. entering World War II.
With the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into the war, all Japanese and Japanese~Americans on the west coast were interned in prison camps. The new educational complex and altar that was built in 1938 at 1336 W. 36th P1. was boarded up for the duration of the war. Fortunately the new building was completely paid for and placed under the care of Rev. Julius Goldwater, the first Caucasian minister of Jodoshinshu who was assigned to the Los Angeles Betsuin. Rev. Goldwater cared for the belongings of the internees that were stored at the Betsuin while keeping in touch with the internees in the various camps, bringing them what he could.

With the end of the war on August 11, 1945, the Japanese began to return from the camps. Rev. Goldwater requested permission to convert the Gakuin into a hostel for returning families until they could find accommodations elsewhere. The hostel was run by Rev. Goldwater, Rev. & Mrs. Kanmo Imamura, and Rev. Arthur Takemoto (then a student). From 1945 to 1947, the hostel provided temporary housing for many families as they came out of the camps and until they could find temporary housing of their own. Rev. Kyoshiro Tokunaga, then a student from Japan began to teach Japanese language at Senshin and Rev. Kuwatsuki from the Los Angeles Betsuin began religious programs in 1947. It was during these years that the Gakuin flourished in the center of the Japanese~American community known as "Seinan" or “south-west” Los Angeles.

On May 1, 1951, the Senshin Gakuin became the Senshin Buddhist Church, an independent church with Rev. Bumpo Kuwatsuki of the Betsuin being asked to become the founding minister, assisted by Rev. Koyo Tamanaha.


  Kuwatsuki                                  Tamanaha                           Suginari                
Rev Bumpo Kuwatsuki                  Rev Koyo Tamanaha                     Rev Takujo Suginari
Head Minister 1951-1958                  1952 - 1954                                   1954 - 1955

TaiUnno                               Kimura                             EUnno
Rev Taitetsu Unno                          Rev Gibun Kimura                         Rev Enryo Unno
1957 - 1962                                   Head Minsiter 1958 - 1960           Head Minister 1960 - 1970

TetsuoUnno                                 Fujikado                           Kodani                
Rev Tetsuo Unno                             Rev Hoshin Fujikado                     Rev Masao Kodani
1962 - 1968                               Head Minister  1970 - 1978                   1968 - 1978
                                                             1978 - 1988                          Head Minister 1978 -

In 1985, Senshin Buddhist Church officially changed its name to the more appropriate Senshin Buddhist Temple.

SENSHIN TEMPLE SCHEDULES

Senshin Temple Family Services are held every Sunday from 9:30am. This is a Family Service in the Hondo (main hall), after which the Sangha divides into the following groups:

    English-speaking adults group in the Classroom Bldg.
    Dharma School children in the Classroom Bldg.
    Twice monthly Japanese-speaking group in the Hondo.

Monthly Memorial Service (Shotsuki Hoyo)
, in memory of those who have died in that month is usually observed on the first Sunday of each month. On request, the listing of the name of the deceased and the person observing the memorial appear in the Prajna newsletter.

Buddhist Holidays: Buddhist holidays are according to the Japanese Jodoshinshu tradition, set according to the western calendar.

Shusho-e:           New Years Day Gathering - 1/1
Hoonko:             Shinran Shonin Memorial - 1/16
Nehan-e:             Historical Buddha's Death - 2/15
Higan-e:             Spring Equinox Gathering- 3/21
Hanamatsuri:     Historical Buddha's Birthday -4/8
Gotan-e:             Shinran Shonin's Birthday - 5/21
Kangi-e:             Gathering of Joy (Obon) - 7/15
Higan-e:             Autumn Equinox Gathering -9/23
Jodo-e:              Bodhi Day, Shakyamuni Buddha's Enlightenment - 12/ 8

Holidays are generally observed on the Sunday closest to the above dates.

Study Classes:  Study Classes in English and Japanese are conducted on regular and periodic basis. Please refer to temple schedules.

Howakai: (Dharma Discussion Sessions) are held periodically in English and Japanese in members' homes.

Seminars: Religious seminars are presently held twice a year in March and September during the Spring and Fall Higan observances.

Retreats: Retreats are held at retreat sites out of town periodically from three-day sessions to one week sessions.

Kekkonshiki (weddings), Soshiki (funerals), and Hoji (private family memorial services) can be arranged by phoning the temple.


A Short History of Jodoshinshu

Jodoshinshu belongs to the Mahayana or North and East-Asian tradition of Buddhism. The other great tradition is the Theravada or South and Southeast Asian tradition. Within the Mahayana tradition, Jodoshinshu may be distinguished from all the other schools by its rejection of all specific practices which are thought to lead to Bodhi (awakening), labeling them as ego-centered self-power.

Jodoshinshu means the “True Essence of the Pure Land Teaching” as well as the “Sect of the True Pure Land Teaching”. Its founder is Shinran Shonin (1173-1263 AD) who was ordained in Kyoto as a Tendai monk at the age of nine. For the next twenty years, he lived the life of a monk on Mt. Hiei, the great Tendai monastic complex to the north-east of the city of Kyoto. There he spent the next twenty years in sincere study and meditation but despaired of not getting any closer to Bodhi.
Discouraged by his non-progress on the Buddhist path, and by the corruption of the monastic communities, he left Mt. Hiei and descended to the city of Kyoto. It was here that he met the monk Honen and was led to the Nembutsu teaching.

As the Nembutsu teaching spread, it was condemned by the established religious authorities who succeeded in having Honen and many of his disciples, including Shinran, defrocked and sent into exile. During his period of exile, Shinran was to preach among the common people in the remote provinces. In his later years, he returned to Kyoto to study and write while corresponding with his many followers in the provinces. Shinran died in Kyoto in 1263AD at the age of eighty.

Since his death, the Jodoshinshu Sect that developed around his teachings divided into ten schools, the two largest of which are headed by blood descendants of Shinran.  These two are the Jodoshinshu Hongwanjiha or Nishihongwanji, and the Shinshu Ohtani-ha or Higashi Hongwanji.

Jodoshinshu Buddhism

In Buddhism, how we see ourselves and the world is said to be warped by an instinctive self-centeredness, a self-centeredness which clouds our vision of things and misdirects our understanding of them. Shinjin (true-mind) in Jodoshinshu is not to see clearly but rather to see this situation clearly. Further, this awakening is not arrived at through vigorous self-discipline and meditative austerities. Mustering the forces of a self-centered being cannot lead to non-self-centeredness. In other words, self-power leads to increased self-centeredness. Against this, is the “other” power of reality and truth which is ignored so long as the self reigns supreme. This Other Power surrounds and sustains us in spite of our ignorance of it. One becomes aware of Other Power as one becomes aware of Self-Power and can thereby let go of it.

This Truth-Reality called Other Power is ineffable and beyond description. It is beyond shape and form and beyond categories of time and space - and yet, it is expressed in human terms by an anthropomorphic image called Amida Buddha, or the more abstract formulation of “Namoamidabutsu” in Chinese characters. This is the Nembutsu which literally means “I take refuge in the Buddha Amida”. It is not a mantra, but the name of the working of Truth-Reality.

The Truth-Reality called Amida Buddha then, is the central object of veneration in Jodoshinshu temples. This definition of Buddha is not to be confused with the other definition of Buddha as a human being who realizes or experiences this Truth-Reality. Shakyamuni Buddha is thus a human being who realized or experienced the Truth-Reality called Amida Buddha.

The Pure Land (Jodo) is the land, state, condition in which Truth resides. It is thus the land in the past and in the future, as well as in the here and now - that is infinite in time and space. It is again paradoxically expressed in spatial terms as located in the West, although  “west” indicates no place but a direction.  In Buddhist imagery, the direction west, the direction of the setting sun, is connected to the color red and the condition of meditation. The Pure Land is more often referred to in Japanese as “Gokuraku” or the condition of being “extremely at ease”, a basic characteristic of Bodhi.

Jodoshinshu also means “the true meaning of the Pure Land teaching”, in which case it refers to Shinran Shonin's interpretation of the Pure Land tradition of Buddhism, since Shinran himself had no thought of establishing a separate sect of Buddhism.


Dharmachakra
     Dharmachakra - (Dharma/wheel) - One of the many symbols of Buddhism, the wheel of the teachings has eight spokes                              representing the Eightfold Noble Path as set down by the Buddha Shakyamuni. 
     In America, since W.W. II, The Dharmachakra has replaced the more traditional Swastika as the symbol of Buddhism





Kujo
     Kujo Sagarifuji - The pendant wisteria crest is the official crest of the Jodoshinshu Hongwanjiha or Nishihongwanji.
     It was offered to the Hongwanji by the Kujo family, a great patron of the Hongwanjiha.