The Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple (Seattle Buddhist Church) celebrated its centennial in 2001. For the temple and its multigenerational community, it was a year full of celebration and contemplation–and for Susan Gleason and I, an opportunity to capture an incredible story about a quietly resilient community.
Before ever visiting the temple, Susan and I were struck by a sense of wonder at what it meant for a Japanese-American community institution to have planted immigrant roots in a West Coast city at the beginning of the twentieth century; to have endured the indignities and horrors of racism, displacement and internment; and to have continued to flourish in the decades and generations since.
We took our audio recorders to the temple and spoke with temple members of different generations–mostly Nisei (children of Japanese immigrants) and Sansei (grandchildren of immigrants), along with the temple’s head priest, Rev. Don Castro. The result was a 10-minute radio feature, first broadcast on KBCS’s program Voices of Diversity.
Listen here: A Seattle Buddhist Centennial (mp3).