CWRU Links
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CLEVELAND BUDDHIST TEMPLE

CLEVELAND BUDDHIST TEMPLE

The CLEVELAND BUDDHIST TEMPLE, the only Buddhist "church" in Cleveland, was organized in 1944 to serve the needs of Japanese Buddhists who came or returned to Cleveland after the dismantling of the World War II relocation centers. The temple's purpose was to provide authentic Buddhist rites and rituals for those members who did not want to surrender their faith or traditions. The church was founded by Harvey Iwata, Tokuo Yamamoto, and Mashashi Tazumi. The first service was held on 7 Jan. 1945 in the Unitarian Society Church, conducted by Rev. Fusa Tokumoto. Subsequent services were held in members' homes until 1955, when the first edifice was dedicated on E. 81st St. A Japanese-language school was started in 1960. During the HOUGH RIOTS of 1966, the church was firebombed and the congregation resumed having services in their homes. Members formulated a plan to build a new temple. In May 1970 the new Buddhist Temple was completed on E. 214th St. and Euclid Ave. In Jan. 1976 an 18th-generation Buddhist priest, Rev. Koshin Ogui, came to Cleveland from San Francisco. In addition to serving members of his congregation, he began to reach out to non-Buddhists who were interested in some aspects of Buddhist culture. In cooperation with an organization called Zen Chin Sangha, in 1985 the Buddhist Temple offered Zen, Kinhin, and zazen meditation, Tai Chi, Shiatsu massage, and other topics and disciplines.