On July 5, 2015 we will be honoring the past Bishops of the Buddhist Churches of America with our annual Bishop’s Memorial Service. This year the service will also include the presentation of Certificates of Recognition from the Office of the Bishop to our temple centenarians, Mrs. Chiyoko Fukumoto and Mrs. Kimiko Suyemasa. Looking back 100 years, we find that 1915 was a year when the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Sangha in America was already facing great challenges.
There was general concern about Japan as a rising power competing with US interests, as it grew increasing assertive following its victory in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). There was also a growing a movement among white farmers and labor groups resentful of Japanese workers. These factors contributed to rising discrimination against Japanese immigrants, particularly in California. In October of 1906, the San Francisco City Board of Education moved to refuse Japanese students admission into public schools. Then in 1913, the California Alien Land Law was adopted, prohibiting Japanese immigrants from owning agricultural land or possessing long-term leases.Continue reading “May there be peace in the world, and may the Buddha’s teaching spread!”