Photo By: Photo from mvbuddhisttemple.org
The Mountain View Buddhist Temple is scheduled to celebrate its 50th anniversary as an independent Buddhist Temple Sept. 29 and 30.
The Golden Anniversary celebration will include a special service 1 p.m. Sept. 29 at 575 N. Shoreline Blvd., followed by a banquet in the Social Hall. Children dressed in colorful pink and green robes will lead the formal procession of ministers into the Temple Hall accompanied by traditional Japanese Court Music. The Bishop of the Buddhist Churches of America, the Rev. Kodo Umezu, will join ministers from San Jose, Watsonville and Salinas as well as ministers who have served the Mountain View Buddhist Temple in the past. The Rev. LaVerne Sasaki, who led the temple for 19 years, and the Rev. Dennis Shinseki, who grew up at the temple and is now assigned to the Monterey Buddhist Peninsula Temple, are scheduled to attend. Mountain View Mayor Mike Kasperzak will be present at the banquet.
The celebration will continue with a Sunday Service 10 a.m. Sept. 30. In conjunction with the service, Umezu will conduct an Affirmation Ceremony for 27 individuals who have chosen to follow the Buddha’s teachings.
The temple was established as a branch temple of the San Jose Buddhist Church in the early 1930s to service the Japanese Buddhist community in Mountain View, Los Altos and Sunnyvale. The first formal Buddhist services were held in the Mockbee Building on the corner of Dana and View streets. In 1954, the temple purchased a 1.5-acre site at what is now 575 Stierlin Road, and a building housing both the temple and a social hall was completed in 1957. The Buddhist Churches of America granted the Mountain View Buddhist Association independent status in 1961, and the Rev. Sensho Sasaki was named its first resident minister.
Additional land purchases enabled construction of a gymnasium, educational wing and minister’s residence. The present temple hall was completed and dedicated in 1979.
The anniversary marks the reopening of the temple. To celebrate the milestone, temple members organized a capital campaign to fund the first phase of a major renovation project. Phase 1 included seismically retrofitting the temple, a complete remodel of its administrative building, a newly constructed columbarium and a major refurbishment of the colorful and ornate temple altar by craftsmen from Japan. Both buildings, closed for more than a year, will reopen on the anniversary.
“The 50th anniversary will be a colorful gala,” said the Rev. Dean Koyama, resident minister at the Mountain View temple. “It is an opportunity for us to show our appreciation to all those who aspired to have a temple here in Mountain View, to preserve the heritage and to move forward so that anyone interested can hear of the teachings of the Buddha that help bring peace, joy and gratitude into our lives.”