Peace celebration


POSTED: Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hawaii's largest Buddhist denomination will take its anniversary celebration out of the temple and into the community next week.

A special menu of Buddhist vegetarian food and free classes in flower arranging, traditional tea ceremony and calligraphy will be offered at Ala Moana Center as Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii celebrates its founding in Japan and its arrival in Hawaii.

A Peace Celebration at Foster Botanical Garden at 3:30 p.m. Friday will feature a free program of music and hula in the garden setting that reflects the “;Peace and Tranquility”; theme of the anniversary.

Hawaii ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro will perform his composition “;Annon”;—which translates as peace and tranquility—at 1:30 p.m. Thursday on the Ala Moana Center Main Stage and at the Friday event.

“;We are using the opportunity to expose Buddhism outside the temple,”; said Hongwanji Bishop Thomas Okano. “;Perhaps the most interesting to people will be the Annon Cafe menu of Buddhist food.”;

The Rev. Earl Ikeda of Puna Hongwanji Mission on the Big Island created recipes using island produce, and a chef from Japan will prepare the “;shojin ryori,”; traditional healthy vegetarian fare, as well as original desserts.

The Annon Cafe will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 7 through 17 in the Tsukiji Restaurant on the fourth level of Ala Moana Center. Free classes on the tea ceremony and other subjects, as well as information on Buddhism, will be open to the public. The Annon Cafe shop will offer commemorative shirts and towels, food, books and other items for sale.

The Rev. Monshu Koshin Ohtani, spiritual leader of the Jodo Shin Buddhist denomination, and his wife, Noriko, will preside at the events marking the arrival of the first Hongwanji minister in Hawaii in March 1889. The festivities also are part of the worldwide celebration of the 750th memorial of founder Shinran Shonin, who developed and spread teachings for human liberation, the core of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, in 13th-century Japan.

Other events include the following:

» Friday: The Ohtanis will participate in the 3:30 p.m. Peace Celebration at Foster Botanical Garden by planting an asoka tree. According to tradition, the historical Shakyamuni Buddha was born beneath an asoka tree in a garden in Nepal. Entertainment will include a taiko drum performance , hula and music by Shimabukuro. It is open to the public.

» Next Saturday: Hongwanji members from Hawaii's 37 temples and visitors from Japan and the mainland will attend a Commemoration Banquet at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom. Reservations are no longer available.

» Sept. 6: A solemn Commemoration Service will begin at 9 a.m. at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom. Local temple choirs will sing music composed for the occasion, and a 17-musician group from Japan will perform traditional court music. It is open to the public, but reservations are required. Call 536-7044.

A 3:30 p.m. dedication ceremony will take place at the Pacific Buddhist Academy grounds at Hawaii Kyodan.

The first Hongwanji minister from Japan, the Rev. Soryu Kagahi, arrived in Hawaii in March 1889 to minister to the spiritual needs of Japanese immigrants.

The denomination in Hawaii now serves about 7,500 families at 37 temples throughout the state. Ohtani said there are about 10,000 temples in Japan, 60 in mainland states and others around the world.