The Wailuku Hongwanji Mission’s (WHM) Board of Directors initiated the Vision 2030 project as a means of defining strategic directions which will enable WHM to successfully increase its capacity to serve as a vibrant home of Jodo Shinshu teachings. More information...
The year 2019 marks Wailuku Hongwanji’s 120th year of spiritual and community service to our island’s residents. As part of this significant milestone, we will be undertaking two (2) projects intended to sustain the temple’s capacity to serve our community for another generation. More Information... Download the WHM Donation Form
MAY IS A BUSY MONTH FOR MOST OF US. Families celebrate Mother’s Day. There are graduations and graduation parties to attend. The temple observes Shinran Shonin’s birthday service, which is called "Gotan-e." So, many of us are quite busy participating in many activities. I hope that all of you will enjoy these special activities.
In this month’s message, I would like to share with you some thoughts about Mothers’ Day and the appreciation of Buddha’s wisdom and compassion.
A mother is a very special and precious person to all of us. (Yes, father, too!) A mother does many things behind the scenes for the family. Many times, her devotions and caring are not recognized by the family. So, I would like say to all mothers with a large shout out: "Thank you for your wonderful dedication and Happy Mothers’ Day!"
Your kindness and support gives us energy, joy, and happiness in our daily lives. One proverb stated, "A mother’s love is much higher than any mountain and much deeper than any ocean." She is always caring and loving to her children. So, we are all fortunate to receive a mother’s love and kindness in our precious lives.
Mother’s Day is a day when we honor our mother—the real head of the family. We recognize her influence in our society. Today, most countries set aside a special day to honor mothers with true gratitude toward them. Most have this special day in the month of May.
In the United States, the celebration of Mother’s Day began in the early 20th century. The first Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day and that it be held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor all mothers.
All of us, while we were growing up, received our mother’s great wisdom and compassion. I believe that this compassionate, kind, and sincere heart is precious. It is a priceless gift that comes from our mother and grandmother with no condition. It always remains in our heart.
I would like to share with you a story about one of my wonderful experiences when I was assigned to Kapaa Hongwanji on the island of Kauai. In January 1988, our family was greeted with warm feelings from the temple and BWA members.
I still remember this one BWA lady. She welcomed us with the beautiful lei and said, "Sensei, Yokoso. Yoroshiku Onegai shimasu." Translated, she said, "Welcome Sensei, please take good care of us!"
She was able to speak both Japanese and English and always shared oranges from her garden with me. So, whenever the oranges were ready, she called me and said, "Sensei, I have oranges for you, so come and pick up the oranges."
She had already passed the age of 95, was very healthy, and took care of 10 rental homes together with her son. I did not see her son because he lived on the other side of the house which was located at the end of the rental units. Also, I did not see him at temple activities.
She was active with BWA. I was concerned when she stopped coming to BWA functions and did not call me. So, I wondered about her. I, along with the BWA president, decided to visit her. When we arrived at her home, the house was locked, and it seemed that no one lived in the house.
Then one gentleman came and said, "Are you the church Sensei?" I replied, "Yes, I’m Reverend Murakami of Kapaa Hongwanji." Then, he said, "Oh, yea, my mom always talked about you and she really enjoyed your visit because she loved to talk with you about Japan and many other things. You know Reverend, my mom is in the hospital and is not doing very well. I was just about to call you. Do you think you can visit her at the hospital?"
I told him that we could go now since the BWA president is with me. He didn’t expect our offer. He said, "Wow, if you can, it will be great. I will be there soon with my wife." So, the BWA president and I went to the hospital. On the way to the hospital, the BWA president said, "Sensei, this family usually keeps things very private so this might be serious!" When we arrived at the hospital, I checked her name on the patient list (in those days, anyone can see the patient list because the rules were not as strict like today) I discovered that she was in the ICU so we went to her room. When we saw her, she was attached to lots of equipment that assisted her in her breathing. We could tell that she was not doing so well. About 10 minutes later, her son and daughter-in-law entered the room. He told me, "Reverend, she may not be able to make it through the night." He did not know what to do if something should happen. So, I told him that "If anything happens to your mom, just call me at any time, even if it is in the middle of the night, I will come right away."
Later that evening I received a call from her son who informed me that his mother had just passed away. So, I told him that I will be there in about 20 minutes. When I arrived at her room in the hospital, her son looked exhausted and helpless. I expressed my sympathy and did a bedside service.
The following day, he came to my office and we made arrangements for the funeral services. About a week later, the funeral service was held. Many of his friends attended the service. Unfortunately I did not see many of her friends except for the BWA ladies because many of her friends had already passed on. After the service, the BWA ladies and community friends assisted the family in the kitchen.
The next day, we had her 7th day memorial service. After the service, he came to my office and started to share with me his life story. He was adopted by this family when he was about one year old. His father was 50 years of age and his mother was 48. When he was 12 years old, his parents told him that he was adopted.
When he heard this truth, he was really shocked because his parents always took care of him so well and offered him everything. Even though he was sad to learn about his adoption, his parents’ tender care and love made him very much at ease and appreciative of their love. He shared with me many great memories of his parents.
He told me that his father passed away when he was in high school, and his mother did everything she could to meet his needs. When he was young, his mother took him to the Buddhist church often.
After he graduated from high school, he attended a Christian college on the mainland and became a strong Christian. When he graduated from college, his mother, already 70 years of age, attended his graduation and brought several beautiful carnation leis with her. He shared his graduation photos with me. His entire body was covered with leis. When he returned to Kauai, he continued to be a Christian and did not attend Buddhist church services.
On Kauai, he became a DOE school teacher then a counselor. When I arrived at Kapaa Hongwanji, he was already working for the DOE.
He continued his story by saying, "Sensei, I am so fortunate because I was adopted by my parents. They did everything for me and I have received their full love and happiness. I really miss my Mom and I really regret that I could not offer to her my filial piety (respect for one’s parents). Reverend, even if I am a Christian, can I pay dues for my mom? I just want to do something for my mom."
Since then, this gentleman has always attended church fundraisers and Obon and assisted the Kapaa Hongwanji Mission. Since I left Kapaa Hongwanj almost 25 years ago, I heard that, although he is older, he continues to assist the Kapaa Hongwanji's fundraising and Obon.
I believe that in his mind, his mother's great love and guidance still exists in his heart and he is truly following his mother's wonderful footsteps by supporting and sharing his happiness with others.
Please remember, we all learn and are guided by our Mother and grandmother. I firmly believe that all of these teachings came from the Buddha and it is our Amida Buddha's great wisdom and compassion that always reaches into every single person's heart and guides us to the path of truth and happiness.
Whenever we do something for others, we are just following the guidance that we have learned and received from our wonderful mother and grandmother--their sincere hearts and kindness.
Amida Buddha's infinite wisdom and guidance always surround our precious lives just like a Mother's love is always embracing us with warm feelings of peace and tranquility.
I would like to close my message for the month of May with:
"Hymns of the Pure Land Master"
Shakamuni and Amida are our father and mother, Full of love and compassion for us;
Guiding us through various skillful means; they bring us to awaken the supreme Shinjin."
Happy Mother's Day to all our wonderful Mothers and grandmother
Namo Amida Butsu
THE MAUI HONGWANJI Council will be sponsoring the annual Fujimatsuri (Gotan-e) or Wisteria Festival on Sunday, May 19, at Kahului Hongwanji Mission from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
BOY SCOUTS OF TROOP 40 will be hosting the Mother’s Day Brunch on Sunday, May 12, immediately after Sunday Service. The service begins at 9:00 a.m. Scoutmaster Celeste Rabang cordially invites temple members to attend this special brunch.
REVEREND TOSHIYUKI Umitani, Resident Minister at Mō’ili’ili Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, will be the guest speaker at the Gotan-e (Shinran Shonin, our founder’s birthday) Service, which will be held on Sunday, May 12, beginning at 9 a.m.
GRADUATING SENIORS AND COLLEGE STUDENTS are reminded that the application for the Reverend Kunisaki Memorial Scholarship is due on Wednesday, May 1. The applicant’s parent must be a member of the Wailuku Hongwanji Mission. The amounts of these scholarships range from $500 to $1,000. Application forms are available at the temple office for students who are interested in applying for these scholarships