Prior to World War II, Los Angeles Betsuin served San Fernando Valley Buddhists through services conducted regularly in such areas as San Fernando, Pacoima, and Canoga Park. San Fernando and Canoga Park had a Sunday School as well as a Young Buddhist Association (YBA).
During the early post-war years until the first Temple was constructed, the sangha consisted of San Fernando Howakai (Jpn., dharma talk gathering, typically in a private home), North Hollywood Howakai, San Fernando Valley YBA, and San Fernando Sunday School. For services, they used the facilities of the Japanese American Community Center in Pacoima, located adjacent to the present Temple property. Obon festivals are held annually in the Community Center’s parking lot.
The first Temple was established during Los Angeles Betsuin’s special missionary project drive in the late 1950s. In 1959, San Fernando YBA donated $6,000 to the Betsuin toward the purchase of the property located at 9450 Remick Avenue in Pacoima.
Construction of the Temple began on April 2, 1961, with dedication ceremonies held on November 11, 1962. Additional property was purchased north of the Temple in 1972. In 1975, a home was purchased across the street from the Temple for the minister’s use, but has since been sold. A Dharma School building was added and dedicated in 1976.
In 1983, San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple became independent of Los Angeles Betsuin. With continued growth, the sangha felt that the first temple building was not adequate for their needs, and on the new property a new Hondo was constructed during 1991-1992. It was dedicated on October 12, 1992. The first temple building is still in use as a social hall.
Today, the Temple, with its membership of approximately 150 families, has a complement of all the usual affiliated organizations. It stands on a firm foundation and serves the membership and others in the San Fernando Valley as a center for Jodo Shin Buddhism.
Source: San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple 40th Anniversary booklet (2001).