Berkeley Buddhist Temple is a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist sangha located in the heart of Berkeley, only a few blocks away from the university. Led by Rev. Kiyonobu Kuwahara, this center of worship is a chapter of the Buddhist Churches of America, existing to give people access to live a fulfilled life grounded on something more than mere happiness or unhappiness. To this end, the Temple offers Sunday services, Dharma classes for teenagers and children, online yoga classes, book studies, and numerous opportunities for community service.
The Temple provides a number of offerings for individuals to live a full and joyful lives empowered by the Amidha Buddha.
Located just off a busy strip of Shattuck Avenue in downtown Berkeley and only a few blocks away from the UC Berkeley campus, Berkeley Buddhist Temple offers a spiritual haven for the eclectic, intellectual, and iconoclastic people that call Berkeley home. Alongside a number of office and community spaces, the Temple itself welcomes people with an unpretentious wood-panelled interior, ideal for worship and reflection. People travelling to the Temple can find street parking on Channing Ave, walk from the Downtown Berkeley BART station, or arrive via one of Berkeley’s many bus lines.
Jodo Shinshu also known as Shin Buddhism means “Pureland”. It was founded by Shinran Shonin (1173 – 1263) who was a monk at Tendai temple on Mount Hiei for 20 years. The Pureland is not a literal place but a state of existence that is free of ego and selfish desires. The monk was one of the most devout and dedicated followers but left in persuit of something different as he was not closer to discovering the meaning of life that he sought. Shinran taught that we truly understand when we let go of our ego that leads us to live a life of gratitude for what is.
Derek Bergmann is a secondary teacher and writer focusing on philosophy and religious studies. Though he currently call Los Angeles home, Derek grew up in the Bay Area and also spent some time living in a religious commune in Switzerland. Derek is fascinated by peoples' diverse and idiosyncratic relationships with the transcendent, and is always eager to explore the sacred practices and places that serve as bridges to fullness.