The Midwest Buddhist Temple is a temple of
Buddha Dharma and the way of Nembutsu,
which is a realization of Oneness of Life in the
Infinite Compassion and Wisdom of the Amida
Buddha. The temple is affiliated with the
Buddhist Churches of America, which is
headquartered in San Francisco. The BCA is
rooted in the Nishi Hongwanji in Kyoto, Japan,
and follows the teachings of the Jodo Shinshu,
or The Pure Land School.
Jodo Shinshu, was founded in Japan by Shinran
Shonin (1173-1262). It was Shinran Shonin who
brought the Buddhist teachings down from the
monastery level to the ordinary man who could
practice it with his family. The first meeting of
young Jodo Shinshu immigrants was held in
San Francisco on July 14, 1898.
The Midwest Buddhist Temple was formally
founded on July 10, 1944, with a simple but
inspirational service at the South Parkway
Community Hall on Chicago's South Side, under
the leadership and dedication of the late Rev.
Gyodo Kono, together with the ambitious
devotion of Issei and Nisei (first- and
second-generation) Japanese-Americans who
had just been released from the U.S. internment
camps of World War II.
In September 1950, the three-story building on
North Park Avenue was dedicated in response
to increasing membership and demands of
seekers of the meaning of life from the Buddha
Dharma. In November 1971, the present
temple, the Temple of Enlightenment, was
dedicated. The temple is now in integral part of
the community, and the solemn tolling of the
temple bell is a familiar sound in the air.