Some 500 families of Japanese Ancestry (more than 2,500 people) lived and worked at Seabrook Farms during the relocation program (between 1944 and 1947) carried out by the US Government. Charles F. Seabrook, founder of Seabrook Farms (a large food processing corporation), had promised a smooth and profitable resettlement to Japanese Americans who would move to Seabrook, NJ and many were attracted by his offer. The transition from nearly 3 years of confinement in concentration camps to yet another new environment was not always easy for these American Citizens of Japanese Descent. Sensing a need for spiritual uplifting, Reverends Shosetsu Tsfura and Zaishin Mukushina (both of whom had relocated to Seabrook to work in the plant) began holding services which were open to all Buddhist Sects. In the winter of 1945, the Buddhist Church was formed with Kaoru Kamikawa as church president.
Meanwhile, in October of 1945, plans for the formation of a young Buddhist Association were in evolving with Toru Ikeda heading the organization committee. By January 1946 the Seabrook young Buddhist Association was formally established with Kiyomi Nakamura as its first chairperson.
By 1965 the Seabrook Buddhist Sangha (congregation) received independent temple status and the 20th anniversary of its founding was observed. Since the building the church used was owned by the Seabrook Housing Corporation, the members decided to build their own Buddhist Temple. October 6, 1966 was the day when, at a special meeting, the decision was made to purchase more than 7 acres of land where the Temple now stands.
1968 saw the groundbreaking for the current temple. Ray Bano and Kiyomi Nakamura served as chairpersons of the Seabrook Buddhist Temple Building Committee at that time. The construction was completed in 1969 and the Seabrook Buddhist Temple was dedicated on November 27, 1969 with The Monshu Kosho Ohtani, Lady Yoshiko Ohtani, Zuiko Gisho Kudo, Bishop Kenryu Tsuji, and all the Buddhist Ministers of the Eastern District attending.
In 1983 the temple was incorporated as a not-for-profit facility. In 1986 a home for the resident Sensei was constructed and in 1988 a meditation garden was added.
For 70 years the hard working and dedicated Sangha have developed a welcoming atmosphere for people to gather to hear the Buddha-Dharma (the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha).
BUDDHIST CHURCHES OF AMERICA
Seabrook Buddhist Temple is affiliated with the Buddhist Churches of America, which is the continental United States representative of the Hompa (NISHI) Hongwanji, Kyoto, Japan. Through the BCA, the temple is a gathering place for Jodo Shinshu Buddhists of which there are millions worldwide. The BCA has a fully accredited graduate school and can be found at: http://buddhistchurchesofamerica.org