Nishi Hongwanji Celebrates Golden Milestone

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Temple marks 50 years at current site with series of events.

About 500 members took a commemorative photo in front of Nishi Hongwanji’s Hondo.

By KOICHI SAYANO

The Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple (Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple) observed its 50th anniversary since moving to its current site with a series of activities and events on Sept. 7 and 8.

The Commemoration Service was held on Sept. 8, complete with a procession of ministers, members, and Chigo (children dressed in Heian-period attire who accompany Buddhist processions) and attended by over 500 people, including representatives from Nishi Hongwanji-affiliated temples throughout Southern California.

As his grandfather did 50 years ago when the building was dedicated, the services were officiated by Gomonshu Kojun Ohtani, the resident minister of the Nishi Hongwanji Head Temple in Kyoto and the 25th-generation direct descendant of the denomination’s founder Shinran Shonin (1173-1263).

On Saturday afternoon, Sept. 7, a public lecture was held with over 120 attendees on the topic of “A Way of Living as a Nembutsu Follower.”

A commemorative banquet attended by nearly 500 members and supporters from throughout Southern California was held that evening at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello.

Children took part in the Chigo procession from the old site to the current one.

The leaders of the Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple decided to move from the old Central Avenue facility, which was built in 1925, because of lack of space and discussions by the City of Los Angeles in the mid-1960s that a portion of the building would need to be demolished to expand First Street.

The new facility, about a half-mile to the east of the old building, was built to support its growing religious, community, and youth programs with tremendous support from the members, friends, and supporters throughout the community. Construction began in 1968 and the building was dedicated in November 1969.

YBA members pose with Gomonshu Kojun Ohtani (third from left) at the celebratory banquet.

Rimban William Briones at the celebration.

The Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple’s current site has now been its home for the longest period in its 114-year history.

With the temple’s continued investment in its facilities, it has expanded from its original building to add the Kaikan Multi-Purpose Hall, Collumbarium, and additional parking.

As one of the oldest religious institutions in the Little Tokyo area, it continues to serve the community with the support of its dedicated members and supporters from the broader community.

For information, contact the temple office at (213) 680-9130 and also check www.nishihongwanji-la.org.

Photos by JUN NAGATA/Rafu Shimpo

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