Continuing our journey from Atlanta to the West coast, Bill and I ended up in the Bay Area in late June. Wandering down a street in Berkeley, we came to the Higashi Honganji Buddhist temple at 1524 Oregon Street.
A long-time member of the sangha told us Rev. Ken Yamada is the current minister and more information on the temple is available at their web site http://www.bombu.org or by phoning (510) 843-6933.
Established in Berkeley in 1926, the current temple was built in the late 1930s. A social hall and classroom building was added in the 1960s and was undergoing repairs the day we were there in June.
“The present garden evolved from the beginning through a time when we had a lawn to the present garden which was installed on the occasion of the temple’s 60th anniversary,” said Rev. Yamada. “The pine tree inside the fence is close to 100 years old Many of our members were in the landscape gardening business.”
As members aged, maintenance of the trees became difficult. About 10 years ago Dennis Makishima, former president of the Golden State Bonsai Federation, got involved with the garden. His mother is a member of the sangha. Dennis got a call from the minister which resulted in the temple garden being added to the Merritt College Aesthetic Pruning Club volunteer events calendar twice a year.
Dennis Makishima started an aesthetic pruning course at Merritt College in Oakland which led to the formation of the pruning club in 1987. Members of the club also volunteer monthly at the Lake Merritt Japanese Garden and at Hakone Gardens in Saratoga.
Comments on this article and other stories on this blog are welcome.
Photographs not otherwise credited are by K.T. Cannon-Eger. To view any photo full size, just click on the image.