Group photo from Ministers’ and Ministers’ Wives’ Workshop
with Archbishop Shogen Miyabayashi (center), lecturers, and special guests from Japan
at Jodo Missions of Hawaii in Honolulu on December 21, 2013
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
HAWAII COUNCIL OF JODO MISSIONS
1429 Makiki Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
NEW YEAR’S GREETING FROM OUR BISHOP
Wishing you and your family a very happy and peaceful New Year!
The New Year represents new beginnings, starting life afresh with renewed enthusiasm and energy. The
fresh air in the morning of the first day of the year always feels extra special to me as it is filled with
anticipation of the new things the year will bring. It is also a time to set new goals. In Japan, the word,
hatsu—“first, beginning”—signifies the first actions we take during the first few days of the New Year,
such as hatsumoude (first shrine or temple visit), hatsuyume (first dream), or hatsugama (first tea ceremony).
Speaking of new beginnings, I am looking forward to working with our new Hawaii Council of Jodo Missions
(Kyoku) President Leonard Chow of Hilo Jodo Mission and wholeheartedly thank our former
President Mark Nakamura for his many years of dedication and service. I hope that as many of you will
join in for the observances and functions at your respective temples as well as on a statewide level. Please
look at the Calendar of Events in this issue and mark your calendars for our annual services and
gatherings such as the Youth Retreat (March), Aloha State Meisho YBA Convention in Hilo (June 6–8),
and Laypersons’ Association/Rengo Fujinkai Joint Convention in Hilo (September 19–21).
In addition to the annual events, this year I look forward to the special commemorative celebrations:
* February 8 (Sat.) The 110th Anniversary of Hakalau Jodo Mission
* April 26 (Sat.) The 50th Anniversary of the Relocation of Hilo Meishoin Mission
* October 25 (Sat.) The Centennial of Wailuku Jodo Mission
I am also pleased to announce that the long-awaited, revised Otsutome Book is expected to be published
and distributed this spring. It is my hope that this new edition will inspire you to learn more about our
tradition and teachings.
Please remember that each and every one of you makes a difference at your temple. Let us join together
to work towards a brighter future for Jodo Shu in Hawaii.
Embraced by the Wisdom and Compassion of Amida Buddha, let us call Amida Buddha’s sacred Name,
Namu Amida Butsu, daily and live our lives happily and peacefully to the fullest throughout 2014.
The Buddha’s vows are many as many as forty-eight.
But the Nembutsu alone was revealed as the practice with the greatest karmic relationship.
If you earnestly think of the Buddha, the Buddha in turn will think of you.
If you seek the Buddha with your whole heart, the Buddha in turn will receive you.
-- From the Chinese Pure Land Master Shantao’s hymns
NEW YEAR’S MESSAGE FROM OUR KYOKU PRESIDENT
Mina-sama, Shinnen Akemashite Omedetougozaimasu!
Happy New Year Greetings to all of our Jodo Shu members and friends! Wishing everyone a safe, prosperous, and
As your newly elected Kyoku President, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for your support
and confidence in me to lead our statewide Sangha. I look forward to working closely with Bishop Hara, your resident ministers, our members, and friends of Jodo Shu in Hawaii.
Our present challenges are many—specific issues of declining membership, aging temples, and self-sufficiency of
our smaller temples are priorities. These problems should not be considered as insurmountable or hopeless. However, we cannot be passive or indifferent and say “shoga nai” (“it can’t be helped”) because these challenges, if not
addressed soon, will have a devastating effect on the future of Jodo Shu in Hawaii. I truly believe we can overcome
these challenges if we work together as a Sangha and “think outside of the box.”
We live in a very hectic and fast-paced society that is no longer idyllic or pastoral. We need to be proactive in our
daily lives as well as in our dealings with temple matters or we will be left behind. We should also respect each other and other’s opinions. Let us put aside our personal differences and selfish mindset, think positively, and live and
work harmoniously with others so that we can truly create a better community and a better Sangha. Our actions and
deeds should always be “Otera no tame ni” (“for the sake of the temple”). If our actions and words are truly sincere
then perhaps we can achieve and realize true Buddha nature.
Let us be good role models so that others would want to join us as new members in fellowship. We also need to be
proactive in our approach in attracting new members. Our temples and congregations need to interact and engage
the community at large and make our presence known in our respective local areas. For example, if you become active members in your community by joining service organizations or social and recreational clubs and on occasion
open your temple halls for community events, others may one day reciprocate the favor when help is needed at your
temple. Building relationships with others takes time and must be nurtured so that in the future you can be comfortable in asking for help for temple activities and in turn others would be willing to offer assistance when asked.
Membership in our traditional thinking means someone is paying dues (gojikai) to belong to the temple. If you can
not convince others to make that kind of commitment, it would be acceptable to have them as “friends of the temple” or be associate members and utilize their occasional donation of time and resources. This type of relationship
could be beneficial to a temple’s sustainability and existence in lieu of dues.
Thank you for your continued support of our resident ministers and temples and your faith in Jodo Shu Buddhism.
If I can be of service to you or if you have any new ideas of how we can address our challenges, please feel free to
contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
President, Hawaii Council of Jodo Missions
INTRODUCING OUR NEW
KYOKU PRESIDENT, LEONARD CHOW
After ten years of dedicated service, Mark Nakamura has stepped
down as President of the Hawaii Council of Jodo Missions (Kyoku).
We are grateful to Mark for his enthusiastic and fearless leadership
as we warmly welcome our new President, Leonard Chow.
Many of you may already know Leonard as a dedicated member of
Hilo Meishoin but if you have a chance to sit down and “talk story”
with him, you will find that he has all the makings of a great
Kyoku President—he has a long background in and deep knowledge
of Buddhism, brings with him administrative experience and a
positive vision for the future of Jodo Shu in Hawaii, and is a lot
of fun. To get to know him better, we asked him for a short bio
for this issue.
Aloha! My name is Leonard Chow and I am an affirmed Buddhist. I joined Hilo Meishoin in 1976 after I graduated
from the University of Hawaii with a degree in Sociology and Social work. As a teenager, many of my high school
friends were members of Hilo Hongwanji’s Jr. YBA so I naturally joined them and happily participated in temple-sanctioned social activities such as camp outs, picnics, Friday night dance socials, and Obon dances.
During this time, around 1972, I started attending Hilo Meishoin’s Japanese Services with my friend Calvin. His
grandparents were members of Meishoin and it was his responsibility to drive them to temple on Sundays but he
didn’t want to sit through the service by himself so I would accompany him. As weeks turned into months, Rev.
Dwight Nakamura, the resident minister at the time, asked me about my interest and knowledge of Jodo Shu
Buddhism. I told him that my paternal grandmother’s family was Chinese Chingtu Buddhists, the counterpart of
Japanese Jodo or Pure Land Buddhists. I further told him that our founder was St. Shantao, who is known as St.
Zendo in Japanese. So it was a natural transition for me to join Hilo Meishoin.
I am grateful to have been initially accepted into the temple by Mr. Yoriyoshi Hara (whose father Rev. Testuyu Hara
was the former resident minister of Hilo Meishoin), the Fujinkai ladies, and later on by the rest of the congregation
who made me feel welcome and a part of the active Sangha. I served 2 terms as Senior YBA President and a term as
Kyodan President. As your newly elected Kyoku President, I humbly ask for your continued support.
I have enjoyed over 37 years of membership and active participation at Hilo Meishoin. It is my hope that I can
continue to be an active, productive, and contributing member in the years to come. I consciously try to live by
the rules of the Eight Fold Path laid down for us by the historical Buddha and fervently seek refuge in the Three
Treasures in my daily life. I enjoy the fellowship of our universal Jodo Shu Sangha and it is my sincere wish
that we can share the boundless love, compassion and wisdom of our Amida Buddha with everyone we meet.
Namu Amida Butsu.
Kyoku Officers (2013–2015)
President: Leonard Chow (Hilo)
1st VP: Robert Miyake (Hilo)
2nd VP: Ian Kitajima (Honolulu)
Secretary: Eleanor Miyake (Hilo)
Assistant Secretary: Jane Nakamura (Hilo)
Treasurer: Herbert Fujikawa (Honolulu)
Assistant Treasurer: Clifford Miyamoto (Honolulu)
Auditors: Alvin Akimoto (Kauai),
Donald Fujii (Maui)
HAKALAU CELEBRATING 110TH ANNIVERSARY
Hakalau Jodo Mission is celebrating its 110th year anniversary this February 8th (Sat.). Fifteen miles from Hilo,
along the Hamakua Coast, Hakalau Jodo Mission was founded in 1904, and the temple was built in 1909 with the
Japanese school. The current temple and parsonage was built during Rev. Ryokai Yamanaka’s time (1929–37).
Due to the declining membership and aging population, today, Hakalau is facing financial challenges. The temple
and parsonage are in need of renovations. We are being innovative in the area of finances. We are renting the parsonage, feeding seniors in our community, and developing a group called Friends of Hakalau Jodo Mission. This
helps in broadening our support base and raising much-needed funds.
The twenty members and its Board have been working very hard to sustain this temple. We have in this past year
fixed and remodeled the parsonage so that it could be rented. With the help of our project coordinator, Clyde Chinen, who worked with a contractor, the electrical system was rewired and the lighting of temple replaced.
Our community outreach person, Akiko Masuda, met with Ed Toguchi and Garry Wyckoff (our newest member) to
work on the Friends of Hakalau Jodo Mission. Akiko also has another big task. She coordinates the senior groups
weekly from Honokaa to Puna to come to Hakalau for a wonderful lunch cooked by Miyo Harumi of Miyo’s
Restaurant. Miyo brings along her friends to volunteer their time. Setsuko Taira, our kitchen manager, makes sure
that we have the necessary things ready for the seniors, like coffee, tea, and water. She has four Fujinkai ladies to
help her. Our repair and maintenance coordinator, Bobby Arakaki, comes to open the Temple for our guests. This is
also a part of the Project Dana Program, where Jan Nakamura is the site coordinator. The seniors enjoy themselves
by singing, dancing, and socializing, and occasionally professional performers come to entertain.
For the 2014, we will be addressing the electrical system of the dining room to make the seniors safe and comfortable. We also plan to install a solar photovoltaic system to reduce the cost of electricity and fumigate the Temple
We are fortunate to have members who are dedicated and have much love for the Temple.
If we are to make progress we must not repeat history but make new history.
We must add to the inheritance left by our ancestors.
(Submitted by Jan Nakamura)
Our hardworking crew preparing for community luncheon
New staircase leading up to the temple
If you are interested in becoming a Friend of Hakalau Jodo Mission,
please contact us at P.O. Box 296 Hakalau, HI 96710.
ANNUAL HCJM MINISTERS’ AND MINISTERS’ WIVES’ WORKSHOP
On December 21 and 22, 2013, the Hawaii Council of Jodo Missions’ ministers and their wives held their annual
workshop at the Jodo Mission of Hawaii in Honolulu with led by Archbishop Shogen Miyabayashi of Jodo Shu
Head Temple Komyo-ji in Kamakura, Japan. We are very grateful for Archbishop Miyabayashi, who offered us to
have a memorial service for the late Professor Sadanobu Washimi of Taisho University, here in Hawaii. Together
with the Archbishop and Rev. Tomatsu, the late Prof. Washimi had been our lecturer for the ministers’ workshop for
many years and also a major supporter of Hawaii Jodo Shu.
As an opening ceremony for the workshop, a memorial service—officiated by Archbishop Miyabayashi—was
solemnly observed. Following the service, two books (in Japanese), published in memory of Prof. Washimi, were
presented to the Jodo Mission of Hawaii by Rev. Munenobu Washimi and Ms. Tomoko Washimi. The family also
donated two books (a total of 34 books) to all the HCJM temples. In recognition of their kindness, our Bishop
Gensho Hara presented a certificate of appreciation to the Washimi family.
The workshop began with a memorial lecture about the essence of the precepts according to Jodo Shu by
Archbishop Miyabayashi, followed by a lecture by Rev. Masamichi Kobayashi, a chair of board of directors of the
Japan Federation of Buddhism. Rev. Kobayashi introduced various actives of JFB and talked about the importance
of socially engaged Buddhism.
The next day, we all attended the Sunday Service (sponsored by the Jodo Mission of Hawaii) with a sermon
delivered by Rev. Yoshiharu Tomatsu of Jodo Shu Research Institute. Rev. Tomatsu shared his experience of
meeting the young economic journalist Tetsuo Kaneko, who came to believe strongly in a life after this life and
prepared his death and funeral by himself. Rev. Tomatsu stressed “Nenbutsu” as the heart of Buddhism,
explaining that the character nen are made up of the characters for “now or the present moment” and “heart.”
After the service, a town hall-style meeting, coordinated by Rev. Yubun Narashiba, was held in order to brainstorm
and exchange ideas for the betterment of Hawaii Jodo Shu. This meeting was originally requested by members,
who felt “various gaps” between members and ministers, but Bishop Hara emphasized the need to improve our
ministers’ services and recommended holding another such meeting in the future.
To conclude the workshop, Rev. Dosho Takeda of the Jodo Shu Research Institute, who recently came to
interview the ministers and some members in Hawaii, also gave us lecture. He said “connection” is a keyword for
the future. Interdependence, temple and society, members and ministers, living and dead, Amida Buddha and us,
and even the internet, they are all related to the keyword “connection.” He emphasized that we ministers need
to work on concretely explaining more about these “connections.”
As the word, “religion,” originally means “to re-connect,” this workshop gave us a wonderful opportunity to
strengthen our relationship between members and ministers and supporters in Japan and Hawaii Jodo Shu in
the past and present, and hopefully in the future. Our HCJM president, Mr. Leonard Chow, who attended all
lectures of the workshop, stated in his speech, getting more connections between temple and society is a key
not only for our temples to survive but also to attract more people. We all realize that we need to engage more
in the community.
(Submitted by Rev. Kosen Ishikawa, Koloa Jodo Mission)
YBA CONVENTION Announcement!
Hilo Meisho YBA will be hosting the Aloha State Meisho YBA Convention in Hilo on June 6-8, 2014. Book
your airlines reservations early to get a good rate. Rooms have been reserved at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.
Information about the convention will be sent out in January to the Statewide YBA units.
For more information, contact Mark Nakamura (email@example.com)
or Bob Miyake (firstname.lastname@example.org
Mar. 16 Mar. 16 Mar. 23
2014 HAWAII COUNCIL OF JODO MISSIONS MAJOR EVENTS
Nov. 16 Nov. 16 Nov. 23 Nov. 16
Dec. 21 Dec. 28 Dec. 21 Dec. 14
Dec. 31 Dec. 31
Hakalau’s 110th Anniversary
Youth Retreat (each island)
50th Relocation Anniversary
March 17 to 19
Dec. 31 Dec. 31 Dec. 31 Dec. 31 Dec. 31 Dec. 31
YBA Convention in Hilo
Laypersons’ Convention in Hilo
Wailuku’s Centennial Celebration
FIRST STEP PRESCHOOL OPENS AT KURTISTOWN JODO MISSION
First Step Preschool
The First Step Preschool, a licensed and certified early childhood education pre-school, has opened at Kurtistown
Jodo Mission and will commence on April 8, 2013 (the Buddha’s birthday!). Kudos to Rev. Junyu Miyazaki, the
Preschool Project coordinator and advisor; Neil and Lolita Gyotoku, the First Step owners; and the Preschool
Committee member advocates George Abe, Melvin Yasutake, Harold and June Shibuya. Special thanks goes out to
the Kurtistown Jodo Mission members and community supporters who generously donated to the church hall
renovations to meet building safety requirements. This project was also supported by the Hawaii Council of Jodo
Missions’ JARPA (Jodo Advance Religious Projects Advocacy) fund. The vision to build a licensed preschool to
serve children and families for the Kurtistown with early childhood education services has been accomplished!
Rev. Miyazaki will hold a weekly storytelling session at the preschool. Currently, six children are enrolled.
For enrollment questions or application forms, please contact Neil or Lolita Gyotoku at 959-0129 or Rev. Miyazaki
at 936-7828. Any child whose parent or grandparent is a Hawaii Jodo Shu member shall receive a 10% discount on
pre-school monthly fees. to work on concretely explaining more about these “connections.”
(Submitted by Rev. Junshin Miyazaki)
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Rev. Yoshiharu Tomatsu delivering his sermon at the
Betsuin Sunday Service on December 22, 2013
Ministers and their wives join
Sunday Service at the Betsuin