Dharma School classes for children and youth (nursery school through college ages) are normally held Sunday mornings from 10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. during the months of September through June. Classes are taught by volunteer teachers, under guidance by the ministerial staff, and cover subjects including Temple etiquette, history of Buddhism, and Buddhist teachings.
Dharma School Parents (formerly call
Dharma School Parents is an association of parents of the Dharma School students. Its purpose is to promote Jodo Shinshu through participation in and support of the Dharma School program and other Temple activities.
The Dharma School Parents was established in 1947, under the name “Ijikai”, which means “organization to provide support”. The first fundraising efforts of the parents were the Temple Picnic and the Oseibo program. These events made it possible for the Dharma School to become financially independent and are still being held as annual events.
In 1962, the name of the organization was changed to Sunday School Fubokai and the meetings started to be conducted in English. Prior to this the meetings were conducted entirely in Japanese.
The Dharma School Parents supports various youth activities including the Sangha Teens and Junior YBA. The Dharma School Parents also supports other Temple fundraisers such as the annual Obon Carnival and Surf and Turf Dinner Sale. The Dharma School Parents welcomes all Temple members, especially those with Dharma School students.
Dharma School Teachers
The Nishi Hongwanji Los Angeles Betsuin has been serving Southern California since 1905. It belongs to the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, one of the largest denominations of the Pure Land stream of Mahayana Buddhism. As a Betsuin, our temple is a direct branch of Nishi Hongwanji-ha in Kyoto, Japan. It is also one of 62 temples affiliated with Nishi Hongwanji in the mainland United States.
The Dharma School teachers plan and conduct Dharma School classes during the school year (Sept. to June). In addition, as an affiliated organization, the teachers are active in supporting Temple activities which include:
- Decorating the Hanamido for Hanamatsuri Service
- Helping the BEC with Ohigan Seminars
- Chairing the Hatsumairi Service, held in May with the Gotanye Service
- Participating in the Obon carnival
- Leading the Obon Odori and Obon Odori practice sessions
- Organizing Oseibo Taikai
- Participating in the Yakisoba fund raiser
The Dharma School teachers meet on the second Sunday of each month and participate in Buddhist study classes with the ministerial staff. The teachers are also members of the Southern District Dharma School Teachers Association and participate in seminars and conferences.
The Sangha Teens was established in 1993 by parents of Dharma School students ages 11 through 14. The purpose of Sangha Teens is to instill the Buddhist faith; provide group experiences within a Jodo Shinshu environment; promote individual personal growth, leadership and citizenship; provide social and recreational activities and provide service to and for the Temple. It operates under the umbrella of the Fubokai.
Sangha Teens is a service organization with its primary concern to reinforce Jodo Shinshu Teachings. The activities include workshops, fund raisers, dance parties, basketball, participating in the Obon festival, and participating in Temple services and annual Temple clean-up.
Jr. Young Buddhist Association
The Nishi Jr. YBA is a member of Southern District and provides youths between ages 15 -20 years of age, and grades 9 – 13, to learn the teachings of the Buddha Dharma and participate in activities with Jr. YBA groups from other temples. These activities include conferences, Buddhist seminars, leadership retreats, jam sessions, volleyball, and basketball.
The Nishi Jr. YBA participates in the Nishi temple activities such as chairing services, garden cleanup, and temple picnics.
Sr. Young Buddhist Association
The Nishi Sr. YBA is a member of the Southern District Young Buddhist League. The purpose of the Sr. YBA is to unite the young Buddhists of the Southern District in order to establish a system of harmonious cooperation in an effort to encourage the teachings of the Jodo-Shinshu Hongwanji-ha as expounded by Shinran Shonin and to strengthen each other by mutual contact.
The Sr. YBA is an association of young adults ranging from age 18 to late 20's. There are various activities throughout the year which include Conferences, retreats, athletic tournaments, fund-raisers and social events. The Sr. YBA always welcomes new members. Contact the Temple for membership information.
Young Adult Buddhist Association
The Nishi YABA organization was established for young adults to learn and share the teachings of Shinran Shonin and the Nembutsu, strive to live as a Buddhist and volunteer services for the benefit of others.
The membership is composed of young adult professionals ages 31 through 40. Nishi YABA is a chapter of Cal YABA, an affiliate of the Buddhist Churches of America.
YABA activities include Jodo Shinshu forums, youth programs, social activities, and temple fundraising. In the past Nishi YABA has sponsored a forum for volunteerism and Buddhism, a career fair for Dharma School students and hosted the annual Cal YABA Conference.
Adult Buddhist Association
The Adult Buddhist Association (ABA) was established to provide adults with a forum to share the teachings of the Buddha Dharma, as well as to provide fellowship within the membership through religious and social activities.
ABA’s activities include trips to places of interest, and get-togethers with other ABA organizations. The members of ABA support the Betsuin with its annual fundraising events and participate in various conferences and seminars.
ABA welcomes new members. Please contact the Temple for membership information.
Buddhist Women's Association (BWA, formerly called Fujinkai)
The Fujinkai was first organized in 1918 by thirteen Temple members. It is a member of the Southern District Buddhist Women’s Association (WBA) and the BCA Federation of BWA. The purpose of the Fujinkai is to support the Temple programs, promote and spread the development of the Buddha Dharma in a spirit of mutual friendship and cooperation, and cultivate faith and live according to the teachings of Jodo Shinshu.
The Fujinkai participates in the annual Obon services and festival, assists and prepares meals at special services, participates in conferences and workshops, participates in Temple fund raisers and helps at the Temple clean-up.
The Fujinkai welcomes new members. Please call the Temple for membership information.
Nishi Boy Scout Troop 738 invites boys 11-17 years of age to experience new and exciting things. In any given year activities that are offered include rock climbing, canoeing, fishing, hiking, camping, and skiing. Our long-term trips have included backpacking in the High Sierras, camping in Hawaii, participating in the Nippon Jamboree in Japan, and attending the BSA National Jamboree in Virginia.
Learn outdoor skills, experience leadership and make life-long friends in the Boy Scouts.
Call the Temple for additional information and contact persons in the organization.
The Nishi Cub Scout Pack 738 provides an opportunity for our youth to learn from and participate in the established programs of the Cub Scouts. The members of the Cub Scout Pack 738 are boys ages 7 -10 years old or first grade up to fifth grade.
Pack 738 events include Raingutter Regatta, Pinewood Derby, Family Camp-out, Blue and Gold Dinner, Promotion Dinners and OBON. Pack 738 meets every Friday from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the LA Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple.
Troop 12135 is part of the Angeles Council and is opened to first grade girls all the way up to seniors in high school. The scouts learn various scouting
skills, participate in community service projects, as well as develop leadership skills that will assist later on in life.
Participating in the Japanese Optimist League (JAO) the girls and women's SCWNAU (Southern California Women's Nisei Athletic Union) basketball teams compete
nearly year round...from winter leagues to numerous summer tournaments. The Wanjettes host their Annual Basketball Tournament in April.
Nishi Judo Club
Judo is taught to help give a person discipline for their body and mind. It builds confidence and self esteem. Judo is an individual sport, but at Nishi, the students are taught that they cannot succeed without the help of many, directly and indirectly. Competition judo is also taught. The students compete at many levels; local, state and nationally. Some of the black belts that teach the classes referee at competition at various levels.
The Nishi Judo club was established in 1963 and meets weekly on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Kaikan at Los Angeles Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. An Annual Surf and Turf Fundraising Dinner is also hosted by the Nishi Judo Club.
Nishi Child Development Center
The Nishi Center provides day care services for preschool to kindergarten aged children from 2.9 to 6 years old. Nishi Center is a state licensed day care center which was established in 1983. The school was established for the Nikkei/Buddhist community in order to:
- provide an early childhood education that would prepare the child academically and emotionally for entry into the elementary school system
- cultivate a sense of appreciation of and familiarity with the Buddhist Teachings.
The school has a total of 45 students. There are two preschool classes and one kindergarten class. Each class is led by a head teacher with an assistant teacher and four additional auxiliary assistant teachers. There is also an art teacher and a music teacher, both of whom meet with the children once a week.
The Hui Aikanes organization was established to unite the Nembutsu followers from Hawaii in an effort to support the activities of the Los Angeles Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple.
Hui Aikanes became an affiliated organization of the Temple in 1984. Activities of the organization include: monthly ballroom dancing for fund raising; helping the Temple’s annual yakisoba dinner/bingo fundraiser; participating in the annual Obon activities which includes the carnival and Obon dancing; helping with the Temple’s weekly yard/garden maintenance and annual general clean-up, and bi-annual club officers installation dinner.
Although mainly a service club, the Hui Aikanes have their share of fun and camaraderie. Fishing derbies, picnics, beach and mountain campouts, ballroom dancing practice sessions, ukulele playing lessons, Las Vegas and Laughlin trips and occasional new year parties have all been part of the club’s activities.
The Temple sponsors Japanese cultural classes. These classes enable Temple members and nonmembers to learn about Japanese fine arts and sports. Classes that are currently being held are:
- Ikebana (Flower arranging) - Tuesdays 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
- Shigin (Japanese folk singing) - Tuesdays 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
- Taiko - Mondays and Wednesdays 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
- Bunka Shishu (Making pictures with needle point) - Wednesdays 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
- Chigiri-e (Making pictures with Japanese special paper) - Mondays 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
- Japanese Doll Making - Mondays 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
- Judo - Mondays and Wednesdays 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
The Temple sponsors Japanese cultural events such as the New Year’s Kohaku Uta Gassen (Japanese singing competition); and Tea Ceremony, Taiko, Shigin and Judo demonstrations during the Obon festival in July. Flower arrangements, Japanese dolls, Chigiri-e pictures, and products made by the Saishin Dojo are also displayed during Obon.
Information regarding any of the affiliated organizations and classes is available by contacting a temple minister or the temple office.