Sunday, April 28, 2013

220 Jackson Avenue

Vancouver Buddhist Temple
Vancouver, B.C. Canada

Oppenheimer Park  marks the east entrance to the downtown area of Vancouver.  Both Chinatown and at one time the one block long Japan town are to the west of the park.  Directly across the street to the east is the Vancouver Buddhist Temple.

"The Vancouver Buddhist Temple is a member temple of the Buddhist Churches of Canada. The organization is affiliated with the Nishi Hongwanji Temple of Kyoto, Japan, the mother temple of the Jodo Shinshu ( True Pure Land ) sect of Buddhism. The sect follows the teachings of Shinran Shonin (1173 - 1262). It is a teaching wherein we are endowed with the ultimate goal of Enlightenment symbolized as the Pure Land.
"In 1904, fourteen Buddhist followers gathered to discuss the construction of a Buddhist temple in Vancouver. They decided to build a new temple and to request the mother temple in Kyoto to send a minister to Canada. Rev. Senju Sasaki arrived as the first minister in Vancouver on October 12, 1905. On November 9,1906, property at 32 Alexander St. was purchased. This location became the centre of activity for Jodo Shinshu followers.
"As a result of the Second World War, all Canadians of Japanese descent were ordered to evacuate the west coast. Consequently, the Buddhist temple was closed. In 1949, the War Measures Act was lifted and Japanese-Canadians were permitted to return to the coast. In 1951, the Vancouver Buddhist Temple was re-organized. 

Methodist Church at 220 Jackson Ave.
(REF. 2)

"In 1954, the Methodist Church building at 220 Jackson Ave. was purchased. This renovated building served the needs of our members until 1978 when it was decided that a new building on the site should be built. In 1979, the new temple was completed and has been the location of the Vancouver Buddhist Temple to present." (Link 1.)
Front door of the Temple

The front doors at the north end of the Jackson Avenue Temple lead to the assembly hall where services are held.  "The shrine ornaments of our naijun (altar area) were purchased in Japan and installed in the former temple in 1957....  On the completion of the new temple building in 1979 the shrine was moved to the new building." (REF 2.)

Sanctuary of the Temple

The altar area (naijin) in the assembly hall is raised.  Central to the this area is the golden altar with the statue Amida Buddha, "...a  symbol of Infinite Wisdom and Boundless Compassion."  On each side   "Chrysanthemum lamps (Kiku Rinto) hang from the ceiling..." (REF 2.)

Front altar of the Temple Sanctuary

On both sides of the altar area is a large  peacock panel.  The peacock is the Buddhist symbol for wisdom.  This symbol is also repeated in the central of the five golden rectangular panels above the altar area. On the main floor  at the front of the center aisle is the incense bowl (koro).  It is burned with incense to symbolize the act of purification. (REF 2.)   

 Peacock panel to the right of the altar area

Center peacock panel above the altar area

"Gratitude" as written on the plaque above the exit doors of the assembly hall  is the message of the Temple.  "...recitation of the Name (Namo Amida Butsu) is our expression of gratitude." (REF 1.)

In March 2013 the Wind Orchestra from Soshin Christian (Baptist) Girls School in Yokohama, Japan played in the fellowship hall at the Temple. Forty-nine members of the Wind Orchestra, between Grades 7 to 10 participated. 

Soshin Girls Wind Orchestra

Thank you: To Gina Chor and the staff at the Vancouver Buddhist Temple for information, publications,  and gracious hospitality.
Photos: Taken in March 2013 by SW.
Reference 1: JODU SHINSHU-A GUIDE-Hongwanji Inernational Center, Kyoto, Japan.
Reference 2: Infinite Life, History of the Vancouver Buddhist Temple.

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