Unique Buddhist Temple In Ontario Faces Uncertain Future

July 5, 2009

Author: Richard Cockle

Source: The Buddhist Channel/The Oregonian


A unique Buddhist temple with roots in a dark chapter of World War II faces an uncertain future, along with this Snake River town's once-thriving Japanese American community.

On some Sundays, only about 60 people attend services at the Idaho-Oregon Buddhist Temple. Most are in their 70s and 80s, and a half-dozen are 90 or older.

"The backbone of our people is dwindling," said the Rev. Joshin Dennis Fujimoto, 57, spiritual leader of the Shin Buddhist membership. "These are major concerns."

The single-story brick temple, with carved wooden doors and a golden altar, traces its origins to the suspicion that fell on Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.