Temple History

As early as 499 AD recorded writing in China indicate that a Buddhist monk from China had crossed the great sea, traveled along the Pacific Coast of North America and down to Mexico. Certain beliefs and arts in Mexico and Central America show coincidences with Asiatic civilization.

In the years to follow it was not until 1873 that a Buddhist minister of our Jodo Shin sect (Pure Land School), as part of his travel itinerary, set foot in the United States for the first time. Early Jodo Shinshu missionary work among the Japanese immigrants in America began first in Hawaii in 1887 and 10 years later a mission was established on the mainland in San Francisco, California. Thereafter, as immigrants from Japan settled in various communities in America, missionary work was expanded and other Temples were established.

The Stockton Buddhist Temple was established in 1906 by a group of Japanese immigrants. They located themselves in their first facility at 148 West Washington Street in 1908. A student boarding house was established in 1910 to fill the needs of the circumstances of that time. In 1925 a Temple was built and the members of the Stockton Buddhist community filed for incorporation as a religious group with the State of California.

A social hall was built in 1940 on an adjacent property that was purchased after the original structure was destroyed by a fire. The war years came and the Temple members with all people of Japanese descent on the west coast spent 1942 through 1945 in internment camps. The U.S. military occupied our Temple facilities during this period, and it was returned to us in November, 1945 with the end of the war. Returnees to Stockton from the internment camps utilized the Temple facilities as hostels during the early post war years until the members reestablished themselves in the community.

In 1963 it was learned the Temple site had to vacated for a cross-town freeway. Our current site on 2820 Shimizu Drive was then purchased and our new facilities constructed and dedicated in June of 1969.