The Wailuku Hongwanji Bukkyo Fujinkai was founded in March 1905 during the term of the second resident minister, Reverend Tessan Funakura. The fourth resident minister, Reverend Kagetsu Shibata, expanded and strengthened the organization. With an increase in English-speaking members, Reverend Ryugen Matsuda organized a “sister” organization, the Bodhi Club in 1939. In 2003, the Fujinkai changed its name to Wailuku Hongwanji Buddhist Women’s Association (BWA) to correspond to the name of the State organization, the Hawaii Federation of Buddhist Women’s Associations.
The BWA supports the temple and community in many ways. Its programs include social outreach, service projects, and fundraising activities. To plan for these activities, the group meets after the Sunday service on the first Sunday of each month.
Members participate in social programs such as visits to adult care facilities at Hale Makua Kahului, Hale Makua Wailuku, Roselani Place, and Kula Hospital. The sewing bee group has sewn and donated lap blankets and wheelchair bags to residents of these facilities. The group has also sewn aprons, happis, and bags. In addition, members have donated canned goods to the Maui Food Bank.
The BWA provides assistance and support during gatherings at the temple. Members help with set up, food preparation, and cleanup during major services and other temple activities. Members also help to clean the temple, Nokotsudo, and kitchen during Hosha days. Hosha days take place twice a month on Thursdays.
In 1991, the BWA organized the first Autumn Craft and Food Fair at the temple grounds. The fair has been held annually since then, and features craft vendors from around the state and delicious food prepared by the BWA. The BWA prepares garlic chicken, barazushi, nishime, pickled vegetables, sekihan, okara, and baked goods for the event.
Over the years, the BWA has raised funds and presented many substantial gifts to Wailuku Hongwanji Mission. Gifts have included the Amida Buddha statue and altar for the Nokotsudo, the Amida Buddha statue for the temple, uchishiki, funds for renovation of the social hall, and hanging lanterns for Rennyo Shonin’s shrine. The BWA presented hanging lanterns and a large monetary give to Wailuku Hongwanji Mission for its 100th anniversary in 1999. Five years later the BWA presented a new organ to the temple. To commemorate the temple’s 110th anniversary, the BWA presented the temple with an uchishiki, a triangular brocade altar tablecloth, and a shitakake, a rectangular brocade tablecloth covering the front and sides of the altar table. The selected brocade design incorporated blue lotus flowers, representing the Pure Land. The BWA also presented a shikie and gojogesa, the minister’s ceremonial robe worn during major services and special occasions.