RBC History


Rev. Dr. Alicia Orloff Matsunaga (1932~1998)
A native of Livermore California, who received B.A. degree from the University of California, and M.A. from the University of Redlands, theological training in Kyoto, Japan and a Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University. She taught nine years of Buddhism and Oriental culture at UCLA and then was summoned back to Japan to become the Bomori or Vice Pastor of the Eikyoji and worked over a decade to further develop the temple. In 1989 she founded the Reno Buddhist Church with her husband and planted a seed of Buddhism in Nevada.
Her first book THE BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY OF ASSIMILATION was awarded the NHK (Japanese National Broadcasting) award. Together with her husband she has written and translated over a dozen books, the most well known being THE FOUNDATION OF JAPANESE BUDDHISM Vol. I and II, which are nationally well known college text books. Alicia returned to the Pure Land Jul. 27, 1998 in Reno NV.

Rev. Dr Daigan Lee Matsunaga, founder and temple master of the Reno Buddhist Church passed away on February 25, 2010 in Sapporo Japan. Dr Matsunaga was born June 22, 1941 and raised in the Eikyoji Buddhist Temple in Fukagawa-shi, Hokkaido Japan. After ordination and Buddhist theological training, he came to the University of Southern California Theology School on a scholarship for further study. He received an M.A. and a Ph.D at the Claremont Graduate University. Appointed as a professor at California State University Northridge, he taught Japanese cultural history and Buddhism for over 13 years. He was called back to Tokyo to establish the International Buddhist Study Center at the Tokyo Honganji by the Supreme Primate of the Jodo Shinshu church and was its current director. At the same time he was the temple master of Eikyoji on Hokkaido, which he succeeded to upon the death of his father. He also held a position of a visiting professorship at the University of Wales in the United Kingdom where he lectured on Buddhism for a dozen years. He and his wife, Alicia Orloff- Matsunaga founded the Reno Buddhist Church in 1989. Alicia preceeded Dr Matsunaga in death in 1998. Dr Matsunaga's second wife, Akemi, lives on Hokkaido, in Sapporo Japan.

The Eikyoji Institute of America (originally located at 548 California Avenue) was established as a non-profit organization in 1989 by Alicia O. Matsunaga and Daigan L. Matsunaga with the wishes and dreams of Americans who wanted to see Buddhism 
take root in Nevada and offer the wisdom and practices of Buddhism to further benefit the country. They established Reno Buddhist Church as a Sangha of non-denominational Buddhists (although affiliated with Jodo Shinshu Pure Land denomination of Japanese Buddhism). RBC congregation is made up of folks from all walks of American life - We are American Buddhists.

In 1993, the EIA purchased the RBC Plumas St. property from the Lighthouse of God Church on November 29, 1993. The adjacent Shasta House was also purchased at this time along with the parking lot on the south side of Taylor St. 


Following Dr. Matsunaga’s vision of a non-denominational American Buddhist presence in Reno, RBC makes its facilities available to other Buddhists groups in the area. This is the Reno Buddhist Center. Hiroma Hall, the Kannon Room, the Seishi Room, the RBC library, and the Fireside Room, are all made available to like minded and sangha organizations dana/fee basis.

Eikyoji Temple in Hokkaido Japan 
The Eikyoji (Temple of Eternal Teaching) of Japan was established in 1900 by Rev. Taikyo Matsunaga in the middle of wilderness then and still is the northern frontier of Japan. Rev. Taikyo Matsunaga (1866-1940) was an ordained priest in Toyama on the main island of Honshu who migrated north to establish a new church for the farmers there who opened up the virgin land. He and his wife Fude Matsunaga (1879-1942) came to the frontier island of Hokkaido with their 3 years old son Taie and devoted their entire lives to lay the foundation of the Eikyoji Temple.

The second temple master, Rev. Taie Matsunaga (1897-1976) and his wife Kei Matsunaga (1901-1965) succeeded the works of the founder dedicating their lives to the temple ministry. They won wide respect of the congregation and were the spiritual leaders of the community.

The third temple master, Rev. Daigan L. Matsunaga, is his son and the pastor of the Reno Buddhist church. Rev. Dr. D. L. Matsunaga, together with his American wife, worked over two decades in Japan to further the development of the Eikyoji.  The new roof and new gatehouse were executed under their watch. 

The Congregation of the Eikyoji in Japan celebrated their centennial in 2000, and had great interest in sharing their faith with people in Reno and offered support for the Reno Buddhist Church (Eikyoji Institute of America). Many of them have visited Reno and have been sending their sons and daughters to Reno to study at UNR. Many Reno members have been also visiting Eikyoji.

The Eikyoji Institute of America (originally at 548 California Avenue) was established as a non-profit organization in 1989 by Alicia O. Matsunaga and Daigan L. Matsunaga with the wishes and dreams of Americans who wanted to see Buddhism take root in Nevada and offer the wisdom and practices of Buddhism to further benefit the country.