The Arizona Buddhist Temple is a non-profit organization whose primary purpose is to listen to and practice the Buddha-Dharma.
The history of Arizona Buddhist Temple dates back to 1933, when the temple was established through the dedication and sacrifice of Japanese-American pioneers. It has the distinction of being the oldest Buddhist temple in the state of Arizona. With the outbreak of World War II, the temple was closed when the leaders and minister were interred. In the post-War period, the temple was revitalized by Arizona residents and a large number of former evacuees of Japanese descent who had moved to the Phoenix area. In March of 1957, the temple was accidentally destroyed by fire. Services were temporarily established in a barracks that had been brought to Phoenix from the Gila River Relocation Center. The current temple building was constructed in 1961.
Arizona Buddhist Temple’s main hall is called Hondo. It is here that we gather to listen to the Teachings of the Buddha-Dharma. Providing guidance and instruction in the Buddha-Dharma at the temple is the resident minister.
The temple provides the venue and the opportunity to listen to the dharma and study the teachings in depth through such activities as services, seminars, special observances, and special events. Another objective of the temple is to provide assistance, through various means, for the welfare of the community, extending beyond the circle of the sangha. As the central focus of the community, the temple and its members, both minister and lay people, have the responsibility for society at large. It may also occur that the temple is regarded as a cultural center, offering a wide range of programs, all aimed at cultivating the dharma and in particular, the Jodo Shinshu teaching.
The Board of Directors supports the minister in managing the business of the temple. Committees are established on occasion to plan and formulate temple activities. To further make the Nembutsu practice an integral part of their everyday life, sangha members are encouraged to participate in activities and programs for propagating and promoting the Shin Buddhist teaching.
There are some organizations and programs which serve the needs of the Arizona Buddhist Sangha.
Dharma School: Dharma School service is held at 10:00 each Sunday morning of the school year. Regular Dharma School service is followed by 30 - 45 minutes classroom with volunteer teachers of the Sangha. Students of all ages are welcome. With the cooperation of the parents, teachers, and minister, students are exposed to learning and living the Teachings of the Buddha.
Young Buddhist Association (YBA): This group provides opportunities for high school age members to meet socially, to deepen their religious understanding, and thus become the future leaders of the Sangha. By working together, they grow together. By growing together, they learn.
Parent’s Club: This organization sponsors various temple activities including the graduation party, Dharma School picnic, conferences, etc. to promote the ideals, philosophy, and teachings of the Jodo Shin sect of Buddhism.
Fujinkai (Buddhist Women’s Association): This organization contributes to the well being of the temple both as a religious and a service organization. The purpose of this organization is to encourage the practice of the Buddhist women’s way of life based on teachings of Jodo Shinshu as well as to promote self cultivation and fellowship amongst the members.