The Berkeley Buddhist Temple is in the Jodo Shinshu tradition and is part of the mother temple of the Nishi Hongwanji in Japan. The Berkeley Buddhist Temple is affiliated with the Buddhist Churches of America.
The history of the Berkeley Buddhist Temple began when 73 Berkeley residents formed the Berkeley Young Men’s Buddhist Association more than 100 years ago. The first service was held May 10, 1911, at the Odd Fellows Hotel under the guidance of Rev. Gyodo Haguri.
On Jan. 17, 1914, the Berkeley Fujinkai (Buddhist Women’s Association) was established. Rev. Keisai Nagai became the first minister of the temple in August 1918.
At first, services were held in private homes. Later, semi-permanent quarters were found at the Chitose Hotel located at Channing Way and Ellsworth Street.
The Berkeley Buddhist Temple was dedicated on Feb. 13, 1921, at its present site at 2121 Channing Way.
During the World War II mass evacuation and detention of Japanese Americans, the temple was closed from May 1942 for three years. It reopened in the spring of 1946.
The present temple was constructed in 1955 and officially dedicated on June 10, 1956. The new facility included a library for the BCA Study Center and a dormitory for 22 students. The Study Center was subsequently moved when the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS) was established on Haste Street in Berkeley.
For more detailed historical account of our temple, click here.
Photography by Sora Sagano