In December 1955, en route to Japan after establishing the head Soto Zen temple in Brazil, Takashina Rosen Zenji, accompanied by the Rev. Junko Sase and Rev. Zenkai Kokubo, stopped in Monterey, California. Takashina Zenji's visit promoted the need for initiating a Soto Zen temple in the Monterey area. The project was ardently supported by Reirin Yamada-sokan of Los Angeles.
n October 1962, in concert with the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Buddhism in North America, the Assistant Kanshu of Sojiji, Rev. Shoshun Iwamoto, the Presidentof Sotoshu, Rev. Shuitsu Kongo, and other representatives of Japanese Buddhism, officially founded the Monterey Soto Zen Temple. The temple was located on the property of Mr. and Mrs. Kuniichi Akedo at 453 Casanova Avenue in Monterey. Pending the selection and arrival of a resident minister, the Sokoji Temple of San Francisco dispatched, on a monthly basis, ministers to conduct services at the Monterey temple. The dispatched ministers included the Rev. Hodo Tobase and Rev. Shunryu Suzuki, and an ordained nun, Nazuka.
On July 9, 1963, Rev. Kisan Ueno arrived in Monterey to begin a teaching position at the Defense Language Institute, Presidio of Monterey. At that time, Yamada-sokan approached Rev. Ueno about becoming the resident minister of the Monterey Soto Zen Temple. Rev. Ueno accepted, although the temple was not able to financially support his family. Prior to arriving in Monterey, Rev. Ueno served as the resident head minister of the Taishoji Soto Mission in Hilo, Hawaii. He held that position from 1956 to 1962.
On March 1, 1964, an official order from Japan appointed Rev. Ueno as the resident head minister of the Monterey temple. Rev. Ueno immediately organized Kyodan with more than 30 members and Fujinkai with more than 15 members. He also initiated weekly religious services and Sanzen-kai for interested young Americans on Sundays. The latter had a membership of 11. On August 19, 1967, the Monterey Soto Zen Baika-ryu Shobo Kyokai was established and registered at Sotoshu Administration Headquarters. Soto Zen Buddhist conferences were held in 1964, 1970, and 1972 at Asilomar Beach on the Monterey Peninsula.
On September 26, 1971, the structure that housed the Monterey Soto Zen Temple on the Akedo property was determined to be dangerous for human occupancy. The temple was then relocated to the private residence of Rev. Ueno and his family at 1159 Mono Court in Seaside, California.
Click on the national flags on the map, or on those at the left, to zoom to each country and see a list of its temples.