Saturday, April 28, 2001


The Mu-Ryang-Sa Buddhist Temple in Palolo, formerly the
Dae Won Sa Temple, is still in court over its over-height roof.

Raising the roof

A Buddhist temple in Palolo
was built too high, and now
it must be trimmed

By Mary Adamski

THE LEADERSHIP of Mu-Ryang-Sa Buddhist Temple has invited other church congregations and community members to join their walking celebration of Buddha's birthday.

The 1-mile walk symbolizes "the long walk of all Earth's people toward the blessings of peace and brotherhood," according to Abbot Dohyun Gwon.

In ironic timing, representatives of the colorful Korean temple deep in Palolo Valley and some of its neighbors faced off in state court this week in the latest chapter of a 13-year dispute that has not been characterized by peace and brotherhood.

Concerned Citizens of Palolo and Life of the Land have sought to force temple owners to lower the roof of the structure, which was built higher than the zoning code allowed.

Circuit Judge Gary W.B. Chang Tuesday upheld a city Planning and Permitting Department decision that the roof must be lowered by 6.2 feet.

Temple opponents have sought to have 9 feet cut.

"It is very likely that we will appeal to the Hawaii Supreme Court," said Henry Curtis of Life of the Land.

The decision will be made by the board of the environmental watchdog organization.

Another avenue of possible appeal by the opponents, who include 13 individual neighbors, would be to appeal the results of a civil suit in which a Circuit Court jury declined to grant damages on the basis of the temple height.

The temple had sought a post-construction height variance that would have allowed the building to stand unchanged. It was turned down by the city and lost in an appeal process that went to the Hawaii Supreme Court in 1998.

Chang last year appointed a court master to oversee a schedule for reduction of the roof. Attorney James Dandar has been working with the city and both sides and must report back to the judge by June.

Temple attorney Roger Moseley said the owners will reduce the roof height. He said the temple needs to raise money for the project, which may cost more than $1 million.

In recent years the former Dae Won Sa Temple was renamed Mu-Ryang-Sa temple.


Participants will walk tomorrow evening in a candlelight procession to Mu-Ryang-Sa Buddhist Temple in Palolo Valley.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m., the 1-mile walk will start at the corner of 10th Avenue and Kiwila Street, proceed up Waiomao Road and end at the lantern-illuminated temple grounds at 2420 Halelaau Place.

The event marks the birth of Buddha more than 2,500 years ago.

View from the Pew
by Mary Adamski

On Faith

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