Temple and Facilities
The current temple was completed in November 1969. It has three chapels available for religious services. The main chapel, or Hondo, is located on the main floor. The Lotus room is located downstairs and can be converted into three divided rooms for multiuse purposes. The Hondo can seat five hundred persons. The naijin, or alter, is built in the traditional style of the Hompa Hongwanji Betsuin. The previous temple building located at First Street and Central Avenue is now part of the Japanese-American National Museum.
The main temple building has facilities which include classrooms, conference rooms, guest rooms, library, bookstore, dressing rooms for weddings, kitchen facilities, ministers' offices and waiting room, Dharma school office, and child development center office, temple office and waiting room.
The newly constructed Centennial building includes the Wisteria Chapel and Columbarium (Muryo Koju-do Memorial Chapel housing 3,000 niches.) This chapel was transposed from the previous temple's main alter.
Multipurpose Hall (Kaikan)
The Multipurpose Hall completed and dedicated on February 29, 1976 is located on the north side of the main temple building. The dedication ceremonies for the "Kaikan" were held in conjunction with the 70th Anniversary of the establishment of the Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple and its 45th Anniversary since its elevation to the status of Betsuin. At the front of the Kaikan, a stage can be used for productions of various types. Above the stage, a modernistic style altar is available for services during conferences and special programs. For lecture-type seating and for productions, up to a thousand persons can be accommodated. At the rear of the Kaikan, full kitchen facilities are available for banquets and receptions.
Athletic teams for basketball, volleyball, other athletic events including judo, kendo, and other martial arts competition and practice sessions use this facility. Moveable bleachers are available for spectators. Shower facilities are available for boys and girls.
When groundbreaking for the relocation of the Temple to the present site took place in October 14, 1968, plans were already in place to implement a Japanese garden designed by Mr. Nunokawa, a Japanese garden expert from Japan, at the entrance to the Temple. Many Temple members contributed countless hours of labor and most of the plants to ensure the beauty and serenity or the garden. When the Temple dedication took place on November 16, 1969, the garden was nearly complete. The Japanese garden was dedicated on June 28, 1970.
The Statue of Shinran Shonin
The tall imposing bronze statue of Shinran Shonin was donated by Mr. Seiichi Hirose of Takarazuka, Japan to help commemorate the 800th anniversary of the birth of Shinran Shonin, the founder of the Jodo Shinshu. It is twelve feet high and stands on a base eight feet high. The figure depicts Shinran Shonin as he walked in straw sandals and carried a bamboo cane as he endured many hardships in his efforts to disseminate the teachings of the Nembutsu. Mr. Hirose donated a similar statue on the New York Buddhist Church in 1955 and wished to donate a similar statue on the Pacific Coast area of the United States. He first approached this Temple in 1971. After his offer was accepted, the statue arrived in September 1972. It was damaged but repairable. However, the manufacturer decided to replace the damaged statue. The replacement arrived in December 1972. Mr. Eijiu Sasajima, former President of the Temple, donated the cost of the base construction. On March 18, 1973, the unveiling ceremony was held in conjunction with the Spring Ohigan Service. Several civic dignitaries were in attendance.
Bell of Dana - Bell Tower
Bell Tower photo The large bronze bell housed in the bell tower was donated by Mr. Yehan Numata of Toko, Japan. The large bell, called Bonsho in Japanese, weighs 2,500 pounds, is three feet two inches in diameter and four feet six inches high. It sits in a bell tower that has a base twenty feet by twenty feet and a total elevation of seventeen feet. Mr. Numata has promoted the Buddhist movement in many ways through the dissemination of literature and donations such as this. It was Mr. Numata's desire to donate the bell in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of this nation. To house this Bell of Dana, the construction of a bell tower was planned as part of the 75th Anniversary commemoration of the founding of the Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. The bottom of the roof tiles of the bell tower have been inscribed with the donors to the 75th Anniversary project who have honored their ancestors with a memorial inscription. Mr. and Mrs. Numata generously contributed to the bell tower construction also. On October 14, 1979, dedication services were held. The tolling of the Bonsho takes place before special services.
At the entrance to the temple, two tall lanterns adorn the temple grounds. These lanterns were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Masashi Kawaguchi to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the founding of this temple. The dedication ceremonies were held on October 27, 1985. Mr. Kawaguchi was a past president of the temple and has made significant and timely donations to this temple on several occasions in the past.
Shinran Shonin and Disciples
The statues of Shinran Shonin and two disciples immediately to the left of the temple's entrance doors was donated by Mr. Seiichi Hirose soon after his visit to the newly constructed temple. The scene took place at Kotagahama, Japan, a sacred place to the followers of Jodo Shinshu. It is said that Shinran Shonin face Amida Nyorai, day and night, through the harshest of conditions and found the living proof of Amida's Compassion. This occurred during a time when Shinran was placed in exile by the ruling state in Japan.
Statue of Shinran Shonin and DisciplesSoon after the dedication ceremonies for the temple opening at this relocation site, Mr. Seiichi Hirose from Takarazuka, Japan offered to donate the statues. Mr. Hirose made many philanthropic contributions in Japan. The dedication was held in March 1971. He also donated the large statue of Shinran Shonin located in the temple garden.
Mural Paintings - The Life of Shakyamuni Buddha
The historical Buddha was born on April 8, 565 BC as Prince Siddhartha Gautama, son of Suddhodana, King of the Shakya cian, and Mahamaya (Lady Maya) in the town of Kapilavatsu.
Mural panel paintingAlthough Siddhartha was born into a family of privilege, the Prince sought to understand why life included those who were less fortunate. After several years of ascetic practice in the quest to understand, he found the reasons while sitting under the bodhi tree. This day of enlightenment was December 8 in his 35th year. He then set forth to teach others and passed on his message for a period of forty-five years. The Buddha passed away on February 15, 486 BC.
Soon after the dedication of the temple. Mr. Hideya Chiji of Japan offered to paint a mural on the life of Shakyamuni Buddha for the Hondo (main hall). The Temple gratefully accepted this generous act of Dana. With help of his son, Yasuhiro, he spent a year and a half on the mural. On May 16, 1971, the murals were unveiled and dedicated with a special service. The eight panel mural painting is the only set of its kind in the United State and has attracted many artists and sightseers.