At 10:00 pm on December 31, 2023, an intruder broke into the temple and sought refuge in the basement. Shortly after, the individual committed arson, resulting in considerable fire and water damage to the basement area. The smoke and water damage extended throughout the entire temple, prompting its closure to all. Efforts are underway to assess the costs of repairing the damage caused.
Fortunately, no one was injured. The Hondo (main hall) and Nokotsudo (columbarium) managed to be unscathed from the fire; however, both have not yet been assessed and we fear they are heavily damaged by smoke and moisture.
In light of this unfortunate situation, we see an opportunity for renewal, rebuilding, and reaffirming our mission to share the message of the Buddha. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the community for the outpouring of support. As we navigate our restoration journey, you may stay connected with us by visiting this page for updates: https://www.seattlebetsuin.org/fire/
Update of January 2, 2024:
The Seattle Betsuin is grateful for the sentiments and well wishes that have been posted, emailed, and verbalized through calls/texts. It is comforting to know that so many people care about the Betsuin community. Please know that we deeply appreciate each of you, and that your compassion means a great deal to the temple.
The Seattle Betsuin experienced a second fire today, as smoldering material reignited and caused further damage to the temple. The arsonist chose an archival storage area to start the fire. Thousands of records dating from 1901 were stored in that area.
If you have attended the annual Seattle Bon Odori event held at the temple, you will understand the rich history that is brought to life during this occasion. Unfortunately, many of the items that are utilized to bring the Bon Odori experience together shared the same space in the archival area.
We appreciate any and all donations towards rebuilding our temple. If you are unable to donate at this time, we understand and would appreciate if you shared this with others.
Thank you for your kindness as we navigate the next chapter of our history.
For those who would like to make a donation to our Arson Restoration Fund, please visit this link: https://www.seattlebetsuin.org/fire/
Contributions can also be made via check – please make checks payable to “SEATTLE BUDDHIST CHURCH” and include “Arson Restoration Fund” in the memo line.
Your kindness and concern are deeply appreciated, and we invite you to share in the successes fueled by your generosity. Thank you for contributing to a collective effort that transcends bricks and mortar.