You would refer to a Buddhist house of worship as a temple, right?
On a recent trip to San Jose, I found out that isn’t always the case. The San Jose Buddhist Church was founded in 1902 by Japanese and other Asian immigrants in the city’s Nihonmachi (Japantown) neighborhood. I found that designation as a church a bit confusing and asked my tour guide about it. I was told that it was part of assimilation.
The immigrants would hear the other members of the community, mainly Christians, talk about going to church on Sunday. Immigrants would also be asked if they went to church. The simplest thing they could do in order to assimilate was just to call their Buddhist Temple a Buddhist Church. The change in nomenclature was an extremely simple way for the community to assimilate without having to give up something so important to their identity. The term church is now often used interchangeably with temple for many in the Buddhist community in the United States.