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
|Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha (Nishi Hongwanji):||http://www.hongwanji.or.jp/english/|
|Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii:||http://www.hongwanjihawaii.com/|
|Kahului Hongwanji Buddhist Temple:||http://kahuluihongwanji.org/|
|Lahaina Hongwanji Mission:||http://www.lahainahongwanji.com/|
|Makawao Hongwanji Mission:||http://www.makawaohongwanji.org/|
DUE TO COVID-19, WAILUKU HONGWANJI Mission's 2020 Obon gathering was cancelled. I received several phone calls from the mainland asking about Maui Buddhist Temples’ Obon services and dances. When I told them about the cancellation due to Covid-19, they were disappointed and said, "Oh no, we are planning to be on Maui from the ending of July to August 10. So, if anything changes in your schedule, please let me know." I firmly believe that all of us, including the visitors, are truly sad when we heard of the cancellation of the Obon services and dance. Why? Because Obon is one of the most wonderful cultural events and is a very special time for all of us.
Have you ever seen this [ ] kanji letter? Maybe it is a little bit hard to read. The first letter is [ ] "Aru" or "Yuu" which means "have or receive." [ ] The next letter is read as "mutsukashi-i which means hard or difficult" and it can be also read as "Gata-i."
So when these two Kanji letters combine with last hiragana, it read as "Arigata-i" in Japanese. I am sure some of you have heard the word of "Arigata-i" from your parents and Japanese ministers. What is the meaning of "Arigata-i"? How can you translate this particular phrase into English? It can be translated as "gratitude, be thankful, be grateful, or be kind."
According to the Japanese-English dictionary, the definition of "Arigata-i" can be defined as gratitude, being grateful or thankful by expressing one's appreciation. It is the true meaning of "Okagesama" which means “Because of you, I am here as I am.”
I think these two Kanji characters have a much deeper and wider meaning which includes appreciation and gratitude to our ancestors including our Hawaii Issei and Nisei.
The old folks (the Issei and Nisei) often used the word "Mottainai." This term "Mottainai" means "too precious to waste." In our lives, especially the younger generation, we sometimes forget this very important teachings that were taught by our parents and grandparents. I know many of us, including myself, keep junks in our house, garage, and shed. Why? Because we feel that those items are still usable and we may use it someday. However, most of us will not use these items anymore. It just piles up. Finally, we don't know what we saved or where it can be found. In our society, we have become wealthier but we forget or ignore something important, that our Issei and Nisei taught us. Because of their efforts and sacrifices we are here as we are!
Since we are not able to have this year's Obon service and festivities, this may be the most appropriate time for us to think about "What have we received or inherited from our great Nembutsu pioneers?"
When you think about our parents and grandparents, despite their difficult journey through life, they received the great spiritual guidance, joy, and happiness by attending temple services and other activities. Through these experiences, they received the seeds of sincere wisdom and compassion and great guidance from our temple’s members and services.
Unfortunately, these wonderful old timers are passing away one at a time. I firmly believe that their sincere gifts exist in our hearts. Whenever we offer our kindness to others, we are truly following their wonderful footsteps and sharing their great values to the next generation. Our lives are always interdependent and someone is always assisting us like a shadow that always follows each and every one of us.
Once we are able to understand this very important guidance, without knowing, we will offer kind words and kind actions to others. This is the true mind and feeling of "Arigata-i," the mind of gratefulness or gratitude, we are able to share our sincere hearts and joy with others and they return are able to learn from our wonderful actions. We must remember that we all inherited our ancestor's great guidance, efforts, wisdom, and compassionate heart, and we all are able to pass it on to the next generation.
An old timer shared with me these great and wonderful words. I believe these words are guiding us to the path of truth.
He said to me, "Manabe, Uketsuge, and Tsutaero." "Manabe" means to learn, "Uketsuge" means to receive or inherit, and "Tsutaero" means to transmit to the next generations.
We all inherited these great minds and guidance from our parents, grandparents and our ancestors. When you close your eyes and think about your parents and grandparents, you are able to recall many wonderful memories. Yes, their great guidance, recollections, and spirits still lives in our heart and are guiding us to the path of truth and warm feelings of Nembutsu.
We are living our lives with the mind of "Okagesama." What is the meaning of "Okagesama?" Okagesama is the true feelings and a mind of Arigatai and gratitude. When we put our hands together and recite Amida's Holy name, we are all able to receive the deep meaning of Arigatai, the gratitude and true meaning of Okagesama. And, at the same time, we feel the true feeling of peace and serenity in our hearts.
Arigato. Okagesamade! Because of other’s support, I am here as I am. Arigato! Okagesamade! Because of your selfless effort, I am hearing the teachings of Buddha Dharma. Arigato! Okagesamade! Because of your guidance, the Nembutsu comes out from my mouth.
Although we are not able to have our Obon services and dance this year, this is the great time for us to have a mind of "Arigatai" and express our sincere feeling of gratitude to our loved ones who had passed away before us and may we all pass the great guidance of the Nembutsu to the next generation.
I firmly believe that the sharing of the Nembutsu teachings, our great treasures, is one of the best ways for us to enjoy our precious lives with the mind of Arigatai.
May we all have a mind of gratitude in our daily lives and rejoice in the happiness with others.
THIS CORONAVIRUS IS INDEED QUITE AN ENCOUNTER that continues to affect our daily lives. This virus causes us to be cautious, worry about our health, and be angry at things that seemed unimportant. We have come to realize that there are so many things that are beyond our control, and through this difficult pandemic situation, we are all able to learn many important things about our lives.
As a Buddhist minister, I was able to discuss with clergies from different churches the subject of Covid-19 and what we could do for our community. There were so many good ideas that were discussed at these meetings. Most clergies felt that we should have a community prayer at an easy to reach location.
Although, in the Hongwanji teachings or traditions, we do not participate in prayers, I understood the situation and the sincere feelings of the other clergies. So, I did not say, "We, the Hongwanji, do not do prayers to our Buddha to solve this type of difficult situation."
Instead, I wanted to go along with the majority without saying anything. Why? If I said negative words against the other clergies I felt I would be breaking harmony and wishes. So, I told myself that we can do something else besides a prayer, such as reading Shinran Shonin's poem or Buddha Shakyamuni's passages.
Then, we received orders from the government to "Stay Home and Work at Home" because Covid-19 needed to be taken seriously. We were told not to have any services at the temples with members because there would be a good chance of spreading the virus to others.
In one state, a large portion of its population was affected by the virus and a large number of its citizens had died. This information made many people scared and worried about the virus. In fact, since there was no medication to cure this virus, we all had to follow the maximum security which was practicing social distancing, and staying at home as much as possible except for emergency situations and/or grocery shopping.
Whenever I watched the television, most of the time I saw updated news and reports on Covid 19. It got scarier each day as we were updated on the number of people affected and the number of people who had died. The news made me feel concerned about the situation and it was truly a warning to all of us that if we get infected with the coronavirus, we would be facing a really difficult situation and a difficult recovery time. Many people went to drug stores to purchase face masks, but most of the places were sold-out.
Since the middle of March, most community activities were completely shut down. All schools, restaurants, stores, and government agencies were closed. As I mentioned before, the churches were not able to hold any services, which included funeral at the church and funeral homes; memorials, weddings, counseling services, and meetings.
Many ministers including myself were able to learn how to do online services and shared our Sunday morning services with our community Ohana. At first, I did not know how to record the services and messages and upload those files, etc. I really appreciated our temple’s members who assisted me with putting together and uploading my services online even though many people were not able to access the on-line services.
One of the members said, "You know Sensei, my daughter explained to me how to do it ten times and I felt that I would be able to access the on-line services, but when the Sunday came, I totally forgot how to access, so I called my daughter for help. My goodness, she never complained. She went over the steps one-by-one how to access the Sunday morning services. So, I truly appreciated my daughter."
Like this example, our wonderful members asked their children and grandchildren how to operate their computer or devices and to be able to connect to our temple's on-line services on Sundays. Yes, everyone cooperated and assisted their parents and grandparents so that it would be possible for them to join the temple's Sunday morning services from their home. When I heard these stories from them, I was so impressed and truly felt the kindness from the children and grandchildren's sincere heart.
Rennyo Shonin, (8th Abbot of Hongwanji in Japan) made a very wonderful statement in his letter and said, "If there were any Nembutsu followers visiting our temple during the cold winter season, please offer hot sake and allow them to relax from their long journey. And if there were any Nembutsu followers visiting our temple during the hot summer, please offer cold sake and welcome them all from our hearts." This statement applies to all of us that we must have a mind to care for others and appreciate our fellow Nembutsu Sangha so that we are all able to have a caring, and respectful mind that appreciates each other. This great mind is able to rejoice in the happiness of one another.
As you may have read, Wailuku Hongwanji Buddhist Temple has decided that we are not going to hold our annual Bon Dance this year due to the coronavirus situation. We really don't want us to have another coronavirus outbreak. We are also not sure when our Hatsu-bon services will be held for the families. Even if the coronavirus situation slowly starts fading away in our society, it is not over yet and we need to be a little more patient and cooperate with each other. As Rennyo Shonin shared his sincere and caring heart to the Hongwanji workers, as long as we care and respect others, we may be able to find another way of solving this difficult situation and be able to become one with the great guidance of the Nembutsu. The great light and life of the Nembutsu is always showing us the path of the truth in our heart.
This is the category to put all of sensei's messages
THE FOLLOWING HYGIENE RULES SHALL BE complied with when visiting the temple/nokotsudo/social hall/office for any reason:
*The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines highrisk populations as people 65 years and older, living in a nursing home or long-term care facility, with chronic lung disease, severe asthma, serious heart conditions, who are immune compromised, who have severe obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or liver disease.Read more ...