About Us

The Buddhist Temple of Chicago (BTC) is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Chicago. Our membership has historically been Japanese American, but the temple has diversified over the decades to include members of European, African, Asian, Latin, and Native American descent. We welcome those who identify as LGBTQ. We even have devout Christian members who believe that the teachings of the Buddha are compatible with their religion. Anyone wishing to learn about the Dharma is welcome.

BTC is an administratively independent temple with a historical lineage rooted in the Japanese Pure Land tradition. All serving ministers have been ordained in the Higashi Honganji denomination of Jodo Shinshu and maintain strong ties to the head temple in Kyoto. Our temple offers meditation sessions on a regular basis, along with study classes covering a wide range of Buddhist teachings, such as the Sutta Nipata and the Lotus Sutra. We hold services nearly every Sunday morning at 11, in addition to hosting a wide variety of educational and cultural classes (see the Education link above). There are also several special Buddhist and Japanese culture events throughout the year. All services and classes are in English, except for the monthly Japanese service, which is held at 1 pm on the first Sunday of the month. At most services there are Spanish speakers available. In addition, we have amplification devices to assist the hearing-impaired.

The temple was founded on October 8, 1944 by Rev. Gyomay M. Kubose, a pioneer in presenting Buddhism in everyday English and one of the first Jodo Shinshu ministers in the United States to conduct Zen meditation sessions. The original site was in Hyde Park on Chicago’s South Side. The temple is now located in the vibrant neighborhood of Uptown on the North Side. A new six-sided temple building modeled after the six-sided Rokkakudo Temple in Kyoto, Japan, was dedicated May 21, 2006.

Please visit. We welcome all newcomers and old-timers alike.