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Buddhism in Los Angeles County

Hsi Lai Temple, Hacienda Heights. Los Angeles Almanac Photo.

There are about 184 Buddhist centers in Los Angeles County with an estimated 91,700 practicing adherents. Buddhism was introduced into Los Angeles County in the early 20th Century by Japanese immigrants. The oldest Buddhist temple in Los Angeles, the Nishi Hongwanji Temple, was built in 1925. The structure is now part of the Japanese American National Museum.

Congregations & Adherants by Buddhist Tradition, 2010

Religious Tradition Mahayana Theravada Vejrayana
Congregations 126 29 27
Adherents 70,397 19,132 2,168

Source: Assn. of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies

Wat Thai Temple, North Hollywood, Los Angeles. Los Angeles Almanac Photo.

According to Dr. Diana Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University, Los Angeles, with its Thai, Korean, Sri Lankan, Vietnamese, Zen, Chinese, and Japanese Buddhist communities, has become the most complex Buddhist city in the world.

Representative Buddhist Organizations in Los Angeles County

Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in Downtown Los Angeles. Los Angeles Almanac Photo.

The Hsi Lai Temple (photo at top of page), located in the hills of Hacienda Heights, California, at 3456 Glenmark Drive, was inaugurated in November 1988 and is reported to be the largest Buddhist monastery in the Western Hemisphere. It is affiliated with the Taiwanese Buddhist organization, Fo Guang Shan.