Nichiren Buddhist Kannon Temple of Nevada
The official start date for the temple was January 1, 2008 when the first New Year’s Day Blessing was held at Rev. Shokai Kanai’s residential house in Las Vegas, Nevada. Since then we held Sunday Services, all annual events, memorial services for individuals, study classes on Buddhism, Nichiren Shonin’s teachings and the Lotus Sutra for a couple of years.
It was very hard for him to propagate at his home when there were only few Nichiren Shu members. In order to publicize he placed a banner sign in front of his house in 2010. Then officers from the zoning department from Clark County notified him that holding worship in a residential area was illegal. However, it was possible to hold services if the neighbors allowed at a public hearing. A few months later, he was able to get a permit to hold services for one year.
With only a one year permit, he must find another place for worship. So in March 2010, Rev. Kanai started projects of Tracing the Kannon Sutra and A Million Times Odaimoku Chanting and requested donations toward the building fund. It was impossible to build a new temple with small funds in a short time. In 2011, he decided to lease a store front as the temple location, which was within the limited budget. However, big obstacles soon arose. Since the temple is a public gathering place, building codes are very strict in the county; it must be equipped with ① two restrooms, one each for men and women, ② two entrance/exit, ③ a sink for wet mopping¸ ④ a drinking fountain, ⑤ enough parking space for the capacity of the hall, ⑥ a handicapped parking space, ⑦ a fire extinguisher, and others. Costs to bring the store front to meet these strict codes were just too much, therefore, he cancelled the lease at the last minute.
He requested a one year extension of the use permit at his residential house to Clark County, but it was denied unanimously. He had find another location quickly. With his and thoughtful people’s sincere prayers, Odaimoku chanting, the shakyo project of the Kannon Sutra and contributions toward the building fund, he was able to secure a property that met all county requirements in a commercial zone in Las Vegas on July 5, 2012. On September 29th and 30th of the same year, the Fifth Anniversary of the Kannon Temple of Nevada and the Convention for the Nichiren Buddhist of North America was held at the Plaza Hotel and Casino.
The new temple property was 50 years old, and many owners seemed to have remodel it many times. We had to demolish everything inside the building, leaving only the outside stricture. The renovation took almost half a year. On March 24, 2013, we were able to hold the Grand Opening of the temple in conjunction with the "Welcome Home Ceremony" for Rev. Shoda Douglas Kanai who had just completed the 100 Day Aragyo Training. Five priests who completed the training along with Rev. Shoda Kanai, assisted in blessing the temple together with over 60 followers.
The temple is now able to publicize on media, propagate without hesitance, and beat taiko drums. This temple will be a place for all people around the world who visit Las Vegas with slogan of Peace of Body, Mind and Soul.
Archbishop Nisso Uchino of Nichiren Shu and Abbot of Minobusan Kuonji Temple visited our temple with his entourage on June 30, 2014 after the Grand Ceremony for the 100th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Nichiren Buddhist Temple. In addition, 151 people in eleven separate groups visited our temple during this time along with Rev. Kanai's disciple from Italy, Rev. Shoryo Tarabini.
Besides these visitors from Japan, Shami Yotatsu Chiamulera from Brazil, attended a Sunday Service in December and also a couple from Canada attend Sunday services regularly while they stayed in Las Vegas during the winter.
On March 24, 2015, we celebrated the "Welcome Home Ceremony" for Rev. Shoda Kanai, who completed his second 100 Day Aragyo Training along with fiver other fellow priests. By June, Rev. Shoda had returned from his studies in Japan and was installed as the second Head Priest of Kannon Temple on June 8th. To help celebrate this joyous occasion, 18 followers from Myokenzan and Shinnyoji Temples (where Rev. Shoda studied) visited Las Vegas. An American BBQ was held in their honor following the installation service.
As Rev. Shoda takes over daily duties, one of his goals is to teach Buddhism and Nichiren Shonin's words so that beginners can understand. There are many people seeking to learn and searching for the Right Path. He can be your guide in helping you find your inner Buddha nature.
With Las Vegas being a destination city, we welcome everyone from around the world! Please visit our temple when you come for fun or in town for a convention. We can offer Peace of Body, Mind and Soul!