July Dharma Messages

The Story of the Banyan Deer

Once upon a time, in a big forest, there was a wise and kind deer king named Banyan. Banyan was the leader of a large herd of deer. All the deer loved and respected him because he was very smart and always took care of them

In the same forest, there was another herd of deer led by a proud and selfish king named Branch. Branch’s herd did not listen to their elders and thought they knew everything.

One year, there was no rain, and the forest became very dry. There was no water or food, and all the animals were very thirsty and hungry. Banyan remembered a story his ancestors told him about a hidden waterhole that saved them during a drought long ago. He decided to find this waterhole to save his herd.

Banyan gathered all his deer and told them about the secret waterhole. He said”Our ancestors told us about this place. It will be a hard journey, but we must try.” The deer trusted Banyan and followed him through the forest.

After a long and difficult journey, they found the hidden waterhole. It was full of fresh water! The deer drank the water and were very happy. They survived because they listened to their ancestors’ wisdom.

Branch and his herd, however, did not know about the secret waterhole because they didn’t listen to their elders. They wandered around the forest, looking for water, and many of them did not survive. Finally Branch realized his mistake and asked Banyan for help. Banyan, being kind and wise, welcomed Branch and his herd. He shared the waterhole with them and reminded them, “It is important to listen to the wisdom of our ancestors. They have many lessons to teach us.”

Do you know what this story tries to tell us? It tells us that we should always respect and listen to our elders and ancestors. Why? Because their wisdom can help us when things are tough and guide us to make good choices. Isn’t that amazing?

So, next time you hear a story from your grandparents or elders, listen carefully. You never know what important things you might learn! Now, lets celebrate this wonderful wisdom with a dance of gratitude to our ancestors and the Buddha during Obon. Let’s make it a joyful time!

Namo Amida Butsu

Embracing Compassion and Connection:

Buddhist Reflections on “The Man Called Otto”

Hello everyone, how are you? Obon has stared, and I hope you’re enjoying the festivities. This article is for those who enjoy stories about people and their lives today

“The Man Called Otto,” a touching novel by Fredrik Backman, has recently been adapted into an American film titled “The man Called Otto.” The story revolves around Otto, an elderly man who appears grumpy on the surface but harbors a kind heart underneath. Otto’s life takes a profound turn after the death of his beloved wife, Sonya. Overcome with grief and feeling aimless without her, he contemplates ending his own life to be with her again.

Otto’s daily routine involves patrolling his neighborhood meticulously, ensuring everything is in order – whether it’s checking on trash sorting or monitoring parking, he strictly adheres to rules. His reluctance to engage with others often annoys his neighbors.

When a new family moved in nearby, it shattered his daily routines. At first, Otto resisted their presence, feeling deeply irritated by their intrusion into his life against his will. However, through interactions with their daughters, Otto gradually softened. Finding unexpected joy in helping the family, he came to realize that life still held meaning even after Sonya’s death.

The movie explores important themes like loneliness, the power of community, and how unexpected friendships can transform us. It balances funny moments with deep reflections on human nature and the connections that make life meaningful. Tom Hanks, a well-known actor, portrays Otto in the film, capturing both his strict adherence to rules and his gradual opening up to others.

As Otto faces his own mortality and struggles with grief, he begins to hear Sonya’s voice each time he attempts suicide, saying “That’s enough now, darling.” She is calling out to Otto, urging him to continue living. This, along with interactions with Sonya’s former students and other neighbors, profoundly impacts Otto. Through these relationships, he learns valuable lessons about resilience, hope, and the enduring power of love.

“The Man Called Otto” teaches us that our actions and connections with others give life its true meaning, even during tough times. It reminds us that friendships and community support can help us find joy and purpose. This message resonated deeply with the teaching of Shinran, a Buddhist teacher, who emphasized compassion, understanding, and the interconnectedness of all beings.

Let’s celebrate Obon with gratitude, appreciating the connections that enrich our lives and believing in the transformative power of human relationships.

Namo Amida Butsu

August Events

August 1 – 7:30 pm Koru Taiko
August 3 – Parlier Obon Festival
August 4 – 10:00 am Dharma School
August 8 – 7:30 pm Koru Taiko
August 11 – 10:00 am Dharma School
August 15 – 7:30 pm Koru Taiko
August 18 – 10:00 am Dharma School
August 22 – 7:30 pm Koru Taiko
August 25 – 10:00 am Dharma School
August 29 – 7:30 pm Koru Taiko

The honoring of our friends and loved ones that passed in both August and September will occur at the September Shotsuki Hoyo Service.

July Events

July Events

July 6th Fresno Obon, 4:00 p.m.
July 7th 10am Dharma School
July 11th 7:30 pm Koru Taiko
July 13th – Reedley Obon
July 13th – 10:30 am Visalia Cemetery Service
July 13th – 11am – Obon/ Shotsuki Hoyo Service
July 19th – 7:30 pm Koru Taiko
July 20th – Fowler Obon
July 25th – 7:30 pm Koru Taiko
July 27th Kingsburg Obon
July 28th – 10am – Dharma School

Coming in August 2024

August 3rd – Parlier Obon

July Events

June Events

June 2024
June 1st 6am – Rummage Sale Open to the public at 7am
June 9th 10am – Dharma School
June 16th – 10am – Dharma School
June 18th – 7pm – Obon Dance Practice
June 20th – 7pm -Obon Dance Practice
June 23rd – 11am – Bishop’s Memorial / Shotsuki Hoyo Service
June 25th – 7pm – Obon Dance Practice
June 27th – 7pm – Obon Dance Practice
June 29th – 5pm – Visalia Obon Festival, Dancing – Starts at 8pm
June 30th – 10am – Dharma School

April Schedule

April Schedule

April 2023

April 2nd – 10am Dharma School

April 3rd – 7pm Virtual Dharma Class

April 4th – 7pm VBC Board meeting

April 4th – 7pm BWA meeting

April 9th – 10am Dharma School

April 15th – 1pm Hanamido Setup

April 16th – 11am Hanamatsuri/Shotsuki Hoyo Servce

April 23rd – 10am Dharma School

April 30th – 10am Dharma School

Our Reverends





Reverend Kakei Nakagawa, Rinban 





the head minister of the Betsuin (the direct branch of mother temple) who is representing the lord Bishop Ohtani Koshin of Nishi-Hongwanji in Kyoto, Japan.


Nakagawa Sensei was born in July of 1953 at the Zenshō-ji Buddhist Temple in Tera-machi (temple town), the city of Hiroshima, one of the twelve founding temples in Hiroshima prefecture, Japan where the Jōdo Shinshū (Mainstream Mahāyāna Buddhism) tradition continues to thrive.

He graduated from Ryūkoku University with a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Buddhist History, and received a Master of Arts in Indian Madhyamaka Buddhism from Ryūkoku Graduate School. He participate various archaeological surveys in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and former Soviet Union. He has an expertise in Mahāyāna Buddhism of Ancient India and Medieval China.
Aside from his diverse scholastic career, he spent most of his life as a priest at his family temple among the famous Aqui Monto, the devout Jōdo Shinshū followers who live in the Aqui (original name of Hiroshima prefecture) district. Sensei always says that he is lucky to succeed in such a unique Jōdo Shinshū tradition. Sensei is now earnestly trying to transplant the true and real Jōdo Shinshū Dharma to American soil.
Nakagawa Sensei was first assigned to the Fresno Buddhist Church from 1992 to 1994, and later as resident minister of the Oxnard Buddhist Temple and supervising minister of the Buddhist Church of Santa Barbara from 1994 to 2001, as resident minister of the White River Buddhist Temple from 2001 to 2012. Since March of 2012, he has been the Rinban of the Honpa-Honganji Betsuin, Fresno Buddhist Temple.



Rev. Kaz Nakata, PhD Candidate, M.A., M.B.A., has been a Kaikyoshi minister at Central California Nishi Hongwanji and provide his ministry oat Fresno Buddhist Temple, Visalia Buddhist Temple, Hanford Buddhist Church, Buddhist Church of Fowler, Reedley Buddhist Church, Buddhist Church of Parlier, and Kingsburg Buddhist Church since August 2019. He joined Myoganji Temple in Hyogo Japan for his ministerial training in 2000. He received both Tokudo Ordination and Kyoshi Certification in 2001, and completed Kaikyoshi Overseas Minister Training Program at Kyoto Hongwanji International Department in August of 2001. Late 1990s, he studied Jodo Shinshu Buddhism mainly under Dr. Risho Ohta Kangaku, Dr. Ryusei Takeda and Prof. Naoki Nabeshima at Ryukoku University in Kyoto Japan.

In the U.S., he attended Sacramento City College for his English proficiency training under Prof. Barbara Toupadakis, and he completed a Chaplain training (Pastoral Counseling and Intervention) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He also received a Chaplaincy training by FEMA, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and Joint Force Headquarters. In June of 2014, he acquired his M.B.A. under Prof. Melinda L. Swigart, focused on Management Strategies for a Religious Institution at Strayer University, Graduate School of Business with 4.0 GPA. In May of 2016, he completed the Master of Arts in Religious Studies, Concentration in Buddhist Studies at University of the West under Prof. Miroj Shakya, and received M.A. He developed the language skill of Sanskrit, and researched Sukhavativyuha (Sanskrit Pureland Sutra). In June of 2016, he was admitted to the doctorate program in Buddhist Studies as a PhD student at the University of the West under Prof. Darui Long, and he continues his research on the Pure Land Sutras in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Uygur. His additional research topics are Tanakh, The Holy Bible, Quran, Phenomenology, Pragmatism, and Analytical Philosophy.

Previously he served Buddhist Church of Sacramento, Ekoji Buddhist Temple, and Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple as BCA Kaikyoshi Minister and also he was endorsed by BCA to work as a Campus Chaplain at George Mason University, a Community Chaplain at Fairfax County Department of Emergency Management, and an interim hospital chaplain at Inova Hospital. In 2009, at the request of Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Rev. Kaz spoke at the Interfaith Hearing About Universal Healthcare at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington D.C. providing the Buddhist viewpoint on behalf of the Buddhist community. In June of 2014, he was invited as a special panelist to the Thai Buddhist Monk conference with his royal highness, King Bhumibol of Thailand. As his honor, he was nominated for a first Buddhist Chaplain at National Institute of Health in 2012.

June Events

June Visalia Buddhist Temple Schedule.
June 5th – Dharma School 10am
June 6th – Virtual Buddhism 101 classes 7pm, message me for invite June 12th – Dharma School 10am
June 19th – Shotsuki Hoyo – 11am
June 25th-26th – bento preparations- 10am