"Some may recall that Wailuku Hongwanji’s original temple was located at the corner of Market and Wells Street. But did you know that during World War II the U.S. military constructed on the grounds next to the temple, a bomb shelter for the neighborhood residents?"

Namu Amida Butsu

AT THE DAWN OF 2018, may we all find ourselves greeting the New Year by reciting the Nembutsu — Namo Amida Butsu — with joy and happiness and with Amida Buddha in our heart.

According to the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii centennial book, "A Grateful Past, A Promising Future" our Wailuku Hongwanji Mission was established in 1898 with the Reverend Hojun Kunisaki as our first resident minister. I don’t know the reason, but our Wailuku Hongwanji Mission records have 1899 as the year that our temple was founded. We will therefore be celebrating our mission’s 120th anniversary next year. Let us use this year wisely to help us to prepare for our temple’s special anniversary so that we mayappreciate and meaningfully celebrate the "joy of our bright future" at next year’s special event.

When our temple was first established, the Reverend Kunisaki and the dedicated Nembutsu followers planted the seed of Namo Amida Butsu in our community. Nurtured by successive generations, this seed has matured into a firmly rooted tree. This Namo Amida Butsu tree has provided spiritual guidance to those who seek it; its fragrance has helped individuals and families lead lives with a minimal amount of conflict; and through organized activities and service projects, it has helped to spread Amida Buddha’s wisdom and compassion not only among the sangha, but also within the community. At approximately 120 years old, the Namo Amida Butsu tree continues to grow and welcomes all.

As you are well aware, life is not always a calm sea. We all experience bitter, sad, or very difficult situations in our life. With the guidance of the Nembutsu, we are better able to navigate the most difficult conditions that may lie ahead. Amida Buddha is always calling us, guiding us, and showing us how to attain spiritual joy and happiness in our heart. And, Amida Buddha teaches each of us to offer wisdom and compassion to others so they too may experience tranquility in their life.

In 2018, let us resolve to share the wisdom and compassion of the Nembutsu and the Wailuku Hongwanji Mission with our diverse community. In the teachings of the Buddha, it is said, "As the light of a small candle will spread from one to another in succession, so the light of the Buddha’s compassion will pass from one mind to another endlessly." Let us take the lead in spreading Amida Buddha’s light.

May you and your family be blessed with Amida Buddha’s infinite wisdom and compassion. Happy New Year!

Namu Amida Butsu

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