Message from Bishop Noriaki Ito
On the evening of Thursday, February 25, our Los Angeles Higashi Honganji Betsuin Temple was the target of vandalism and fire.
Our security cameras revealed a man climbing over the fence in front of the temple. He started a fire that incinerated two wooden lantern stands at the temple’s entrance. Subsequently, he broke and tipped over two metal lanterns that were standing at the bottom of the stairway. Before leaving, he threw a rock at the front entrance, shattering a large glass panel.
Fortunately, he wasn’t able to enter the temple, where he could have caused more damage. And fortunately, no one was hurt.
In light of the current rash of attacks against Asian Americans in our country, I can’t help but feel this incident is related.
As Shin Buddhists, we need to encourage friendships with everyone we live together with. In addition to our efforts to continue to learn from the Buddhadharma, we should do our best to contribute to a society of equals, of true friends living together in harmony.
We are so grateful for the overwhelming kindnesses bestowed upon us from friends in our community and from those near and far who have expressed their wish to support us.
There have been inquiries regarding contributions to help with the repair. A community organization, Nikkei Progressives, started a GoFundMe campaign for the temple. Already, many people have contributed to the fund, which will help pay for repairs and enable us to upgrade our security.
The temple also accepts donations through its website.
I would also encourage you to make contributions to your local temple to help improve security and other needs they may have.
Thank you for supporting our Betsuin and our district. Take care and be safe.
Namu Amida Butsu
-Rev. Noriaki Ito is Bishop of Higashi Honganji North America District and rinban (head minister) of the Los Angeles Betsuin Temple.