Ash and charred wood still lined the 10-step concrete staircase ascending toward the entrance of Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo on Friday afternoon, the remnants of vandalism and a fire from the evening before.
A 12-foot-high glass window was destroyed by a lime-sized rock; two 6-foot wooden lantern stands were burned, causing the electrical lamps above them to melt and fray; and two 30-pound metallic lanterns were ripped off their concrete bases.
The damage led to feelings of shock and despair among the few priests and staff at the temple, which has been closed to in-person services since March because of COVID-19 precautions.
“Your first feelings are those of disappointment and sadness to see what happened,” said the Rev. Noriaki Ito, 72, a bishop and the temple’s head priest. “I don’t know the motives, but it looks like we were targeted. The only relief I find is that no one was hurt.”
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