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Buddhism in Los Angeles County

Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in Downtown Los Angeles

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

There are reported to be 184 Buddhist centers in Los Angeles County with a combined estimated total of 91,700 adherents. Buddhism was introduced into Los Angeles County in the early 20th Century by Japanese immigrants. The first Buddhist temple in Los Angeles was established in 1905 as Southern California Buddhist Church located on Jackson Street. Its first resident minister was the Rev. Koyu Uchida. In 1917, the church changed its name to Hongwanji Buddhist Church of Los Angeles and moved to Yamato Hall. In 1925, a new temple was built at Central Avenue and First Street and, 15 years later, the temple name changed to Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. In 1969 a newly-constructed replacement temple opened at 815 East First Street. It is directly associated with the temple Nishi Hongwanji-ha, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Kyoto, Japan.

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

Hsi Lai Temple, Hacienda Heights, California

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

The Hsi Lai Temple (photo above), located in the hills of Hacienda Heights 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.