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Special Fall Ohigan Service Held at Manzanar

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

By Rev. Kaz Nakata Fresno Betsuin Buddhist Temple

The year of 2020 marks the 75th year when all of the Japanese American internees were released from U.S. detention camps.

The Central California Ministers’ Association was discussing how we can make this 75th year more memorable and meaningful while many special services and events are canceled at various internment camp sites because of the pandemic.

We negotiated with the National Park Service and the service generously gave us permission to conduct a service in front of the Irei-to (a stone statue for consoling our loved ones who lost their lives during the internment) at the Manzanar National Historic Site in Independence, California.

With the great support of our Sangha, we live-streamed our Central California District’s six churches — Fowler, Fresno, Hanford, Parlier, Reedley and Visalia — combined Fall Ohigan Service on Sept. 27. My children offered paper flowers on behalf of all Central California churches at the service.

It was so windy. The wind reached 15 mph during the service. But it taught us how our ancestors in the internment camps had to endure severe weather, among other hardships, for years.

Under such circumstances, they kept their spirit strong with the wisdom and compassion of Amida Tathagata, and they restarted their church activities when they came back from the camps.

We sincerely appreciate their efforts and contributions to move forward our Dharma wheel to the present moment.



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