About Shin Buddhism

The Midwest Buddhist Temple is a Mahayana Buddhist temple in the Jodo Shinshu tradition, which was established 800 years ago in Japan by Shinran Shonin, a statue of whom you’ll find in our new MBT Legacy Garden. The words Jodo Shinshu mean “True Essence of the Pure Land Path.” This tradition is often called Shin Buddhism.

Shinran became a Buddhist monk at the age of 9, but after 20 years of dedicated practice, he was unable to attain enlightenment. Abandoning that approach, he met his true teacher Honen and embarked on the Shin Buddhist path. It is a non-monastic life of deep reflection on human frailty, a life in which the Buddha’s Wisdom and Compassion can bring about awakening in the midst of everyday difficulties. This life of awakening is expressed by the word shinjin.

Shinran’s tradition is the most widespread form of Buddhism in Japan. It was brought to Hawaii and North America in the late 19th century and was sustained initially by Japanese immigrant families. From these roots, it has evolved into a Sangha (a community of Buddhists) having a diverse membership with more than 100 temples in the United States and Canada. The temple is a center of Shin Buddhist life, committed to the inclusion of all people regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or national origin. We welcome all who wish to become a part of our Sangha in following the path of Shakyamuni and Shinran.

— From “Shin Buddhist Service Book”

About Midwest Buddhist Temple

Founded on July 10, 1944, the first service at the Midwest Buddhist Temple began with a simple but inspirational service at the South Parkway Community Hall on Chicago’s South Side. The late Reverend Gyodo Kono presided over this event along with devoted participation of the Issei (1st generation) and Nisei (2nd generation) Japanese Americans, who recently moved to Chicago after their release from the U.S. internment camps of World War II. Learn more: History of Midwest Buddhist Temple

Weekly Services

Each week we hold services which are open to the public (please check the calendar on our website, MBTChicago.org, for the latest information).


  • 10:30 am Family Service in English

We record the Dharma Talks for each Sunday Service and they are available in video or audio podcast formats. Visit our Dharma Talks page to access any of our recordings.