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7/27/2019: Sangha Support at Agenda-Setting Meeting and August City Council Meeting 

On July 23, the City Council ultimately decided to delay a decision on the new Temple. The Temple will be on the July 30th agenda-setting meeting at 2pm, and up for a vote again on August 6 at 4pm. We have been advised that the sangha's presence on July 30th and likely on August 6 will be helpful to show our passion and the importance of the new Temple to our community. There will be no public commentary at either meeting, but the lawyer representing the Temple could be invited by City Council to answer questions.

Olivia Kodo Simkins Bullock will be coordinating folks who want to attend either of these meetings. Contact them at for more information.

7/25/2019: City Council Approval Delay - Plus WTOL Coverage 

Temple supporters after the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting on July 17, 2019.

This July, the new Temple's site plan has come before City Council twice. The first meeting was the Planning and Zoning Committee of City Council, last week on July 17. The second was the full City Council meeting this past Tuesday, July 23. The results of the July 23 City Council Meeting were covered by WTOL. Check out their video on Facebook.

Planning and Zoning Committee Meeting. 
Because our site plan was appealed by our future neighbors, it was discussed at the Planning and Zoning Committee of City Council on July 17. That meeting was an opportunity for the Council Committee to hear from neighbors concerned about increased road use. The neighbor's appeal discussed the possibility of limiting some functions of the Temple's current use in order to reduce traffic. The Council Committee also heard from Sangha members who affirmed the positive difference the Temple had made in their lives, and in Toledo has a whole. 

The lawyer representing the Temple, Dick Wolff, argued that religious organizations like ours have a legal right to "religious use " as well as "accessory use," which could include things like recovery meetings and social events. The memo is available here on Google Drive, as well as a public document on record with the City of Toledo. Ultimately, at the July 17 meeting, the Committee referred the decision to the full City Council without a recommendation.

City Council Meeting. 
On July 23, the City Council was set to vote on the neighborhood association’s appeal. However, one Councilman requested a first read on this piece of legislation. This mean that he requested to delay a final vote until a future Council meeting in two weeks' time. Council members then voted on whether they'd move forward with approval or chose to delay. Eight Council members voted "yes" to move forward, and four voted "no" who wanted to wait two weeks. Nine members were required to vote yes in order to move forward. Because of this vote to delay, the new Temple site plan will be on the July 30th agenda-setting meeting and up for a vote again on August 6.

Thank you to all those who've expressed their support through the meeting livestreams, and to those who've been attending Sunday and Wednesday services in solidarity. Your sincerity and commitment to this process is deeply felt. Our teachers encourage all of us to take up the practices of patience and joyful effort during this two-week waiting period. Let's dedicate our efforts to all those yearning for a new home.

7/11/2019: Site Plan Appeal Update 

When the new Temple's site plan was approved, we knew there was a possibility that it would be appealed. An appeal has indeed been made. Fortunately, that appeal doesn't pertain to our right to build or the layout of our site. Rather, the appeal concerns legal use types, including "religious use" and "accessory use." 

Toledo municipal law provides that both “religious assembly” and “accessory uses” to religious assembly are permitted by right on the property. The appeal argues that many of our current uses do not qualify either as “religious assembly” or “accessory uses.” However, churches and other houses of worship throughout the City of Toledo have not been constrained in this way and regularly engage in both types of use to serve and bring together their respective communities (i.e., knitting groups, workshops, recovery meetings, social dances, baking groups, exercise classes). Both types of use should also be permitted at the new Temple building. The discussion at the July 17th meeting will focus on legal definitions of use types and the rights of religious organizations. 

To show our support for the new building, Temple members and friends are encouraged to attend the July 17 Planning and Zoning Committee Meeting of City Council, beginning at 4pm in City Council Chambers of One Government Center.

At that meeting, we'll have opportunities to practice patience, compassionate listening, and generosity of our time and energy. For more information on the logistics of that meeting, check out the main support page.


6/14/2019: APPROVED! What's next? Plus 13abc Coverage 

Yesterday on June 13, 2019, the Toledo City Plan Commission unanimously voted to approve our current plan to build a new Temple at 3900 Emmajean Road. 

Buddhist Temple of Toledo supporters gathered for a photo after the City Plan Commission meeting.
These folks had been sitting in the Council Chambers for the past five hours! Fortunately we've had some practice sitting...

Going into the meeting, our site plan had already been recommended for approval by the Plan Commission staff. The Commission Chairman commented that our plan was the most thorough, detailed proposal that they'd ever seen for a building of our size! 

During the meeting, the Temple was represented by our lawyer Dick Wolff and Board President Winifred Shokai Martin. A half-dozen sangha members also spoke briefly in support of the Temple. After that, the Plan Commission heard neighbors speak in opposition to the new building. Neighbors cited concerns about increased traffic and changing neighborhood character. After a response from our lawyer and a few questions by the Plan Commission, the Commission moved to approve our construction plan, and all members voted in favor. 

Thank you to all the Buddhist Temple of Toledo members and friends for holding this project in your intentions. Deep bows of gratitude to all those who attended the Plan Commission meeting, and to those who tuned into our livestream. Many other noteworthy items were on the June 13 agenda. Discussion of the new Temple began only after four hours of meeting, and discussion of the Temple lasted nearly an hour.

Some neighbors on Emmajean and Estateway have continued to express their opposition to the new Temple. Because of this, we expect that they will chose to appeal our approval, and bring the issue up for discussion by the Toledo City Council. If this is the case, there will be a hearing before the Toledo City Council on the afternoon of July 17. It is imperative that we show the commitment and compassion of our community by appearing in-person at this meeting. Please pencil this date into your calendars as the next event on the horizon in the new building process. We will update this page as soon as possible if this appeal is confirmed. 

This is an exciting time for our community, but there is still a lot of work ahead of us. This moment calls for compassionate advocacy in the midst of some strong, heart-felt opposition. This is a perfect opportunity to double-down on our practice of open-heartedness, of recognizing suffering, and of manifesting kindness in the form of civility to people with whom we disagree.

The story of our site plan approval received some nice coverage by 13abc. Check it out!

6/10/2019: New Temple Covered in the Toledo Blade 

Over the weekend, The Blade published an article on the new Temple building. The article discusses the Buddhist Temple of Toledo's need for a new building, our minor site plan review slated for the June 13 Plan Commission Meeting, and our goals to maintain a quiet community in the new location.

Check out the full article here!

6/2/2019: How to Attend the City Plan Commission Meeting 

On Thursday June 13, 2PM at One Government Center, the Toledo City Plan Commission will vote on our new Temple site. Buddhist Temple of Toledo members and friends are encouraged to attend this planning meeting to show our dedication to creating compassionate community at our new Temple location.

Click here to sign up to attend the City Plan Commission meeting to support the Buddhist Temple of Toledo's new building.

1. Plan Commission meeting day: before the meeting 

  • How and when should we arrive? On Thursday June 13, plan to arrive at One Government Center, Toledo, OH 43604 by 1:45 pm. Late arrivals are okay - you'll still be allowed to enter the meeting. Sangha members and friends who wish to carpool should arrive at the Temple location on Angola by 1:15. Carpooling cars should depart towards downtown at 1:20 to arrive in time.
  • Where should we park? There is a parking garage behind the Government Center. Go past the Government Center and turn right onto Beech Street. If the parking garage is full, continue past the entrance to the stop sign. Turn right onto Huron Street. There is a pay parking lot one block on the left. Additionally, paid street parking is available nearby the Government Center. Check the Toledo ParkSmart app or website to see open spaces.

2. Plan Commission meeting day: at the meeting 

  • When is the Temple on the meeting agenda? 
    The Temple is the twelfth item on the June 13th meeting agenda. 
  • So how long will we be there before the Temple comes up? 
    Earlier agenda items are expected to be simple, procedural, and to progress quickly, but we cannot be certain how long the meeting will run before the Temple comes up. It could take thirty minutes, or it could be an hour. The Temple will get voted on, but there is no set ending time for the meeting, meaning that it could be awhile. 
  • Do we have to stay for the entire meeting? 
    Nope! Once the Temple's site review is concluded, Sangha supporters are free to leave. There's no expectation that all attendees will stay until the meeting's end. 
  • What should we do at the meeting?
    Practice open-hearted listening. We encourage all supporters to be silent, calm, and gently compassionate at this meeting. Show your support through visual representation: free stickers we'll print and have available at the meeting, or a pre-purchased Buddhist Temple of Toledo t-shirt. During the Temple's portion of the agenda, a few people will speak briefly: the lawyer representing the Temple, Dick Wolf, Rev. Rinsen Sensei, Board President, Winifred Shokai Martin, and a few other Sangha members who have been asked in advance to prepare brief speeches. Only supporters who have been asked to speak in advance should sign up.

Thank you you to Zen Buddhist Temple of Toledo members and friends for your heartfelt practice and positive intentions for peaceful communication. We're looking forward to seeing you at the City Plan Commission meeting!

Sign up to attend here!

5/29/2019: Order Your _/\_ T-Shirt by May 31 

Show the World You Support a Permanent Home for Authentic Zen Practice in Toledo!

Order now!

As a Temple supporter, you are invited to wear it proudly around town this summer, and especially to bring it with you to the June 13 Plan Commission meeting where the new Temple building minor site review will go up for a vote.

The t-shirt is available for sale right now in kids sizes and adults XS - 3XL for $13 - $15.

You are welcome to order as many as you would like. If you cannot attend the meeting, you are still welcome to buy t-shirts. 

This website will be open for online ordering until Friday May 31st, 2019 (11:59pm EDT). Payment is submitted online via credit card at the time of ordering. Shirts will be available at the temple for pickup at the Temple after June 5. 

Send us a note at if you have any questions.

5/23/2019: Keep the Letters Coming 

So far, more than 50 people have emailed Toledo City Council to share their support for the new Temple and copied us or let us know. 

In keeping track of your efforts, I have had the privilege to read many beautiful personal stories of how our Teachers, the Dharma, and our Sangha have eased suffering and brought joy to so many of our lives. I want to share some of the feel of these stories while respecting everyone's privacy, and so I made this word cloud out of our words:

The most important thing we can do right now to move the building forward is to keep the letters flowing to Toledo City Council. 

Have you written yours yet? 

Would anyone in your life who has benefitted from your practice appreciate the opportunity to help make a permanent home in Toledo for others seeking the practices and community that helped you?

Send them to our SUPPORT page to learn more about the building and for resources to send their letters.

-- Jenna Zuisei Hirschman, Buddhist Temple of Toledo Director of Operations

5/21/2019: Rev. Rinsen interview with Fred LeFebvre & The Morning News 

Most of us naturally prefer to avoid those "difficult conversations" in our lives, even when having them is necessary for our own well-being, or for our loved ones. Sometimes we let the problems go much longer than we should, and sometimes we get very angry at the other side. 

Buddhist Temple of Toledo Rev. Jay Rinsen Weik teaches that we can make a choice to take a different approach to conflict. In this interview with Fred LeFebvre & The Morning News to discuss the Buddhist Temple of Toledo's new temple building project and some of its critics, Rev. Rinsen approaches adversity as an opportunity to engage in compassionate listening and compassionate advocacy. 

Rev. Rinsen says we don't need to be a doormat to be loving and kind -- in fact, the world needs us to be assertive and compassionate when we face conflict. This is how we can bring to life the Buddhist precepts to reduce harm and actualize good for everyone in the world. 

If you are a member or friend of BTT and would like to share your support for building the new temple, please visit our SUPPORT page to contact all twelve members of Toledo City Council:

Buddhist Temple of Toledo
6537 Angola Road,
Holland, Ohio 43528

(567) 297-0108

Our Director of Operations would be happy to assist.

The Zen Buddhist Temple of Toledo is a not-for-profit organization fostering the teachings of Zen Buddhism as adapted to Western cultural forms and traditions by providing training in the disciplines, practices, and devotions of Zen Buddhism and by providing suitable surroundings, instruction, and support for the teaching and practice of Zen Buddhism.