After 19 years of dreams, visions, toil and sweat the ground at the Lawa‘i International Center was blessed earlier this week during a ceremony by Archbishop Dean Okimura of the Koyasan Shingon Mission for the construction of the Pavilion of Compassion.
“The pieces have been carved and are ready for shipping and it will take four to five weeks to arrive on Kaua‘i,” said Lynn Muramoto, coordinator of the restoration of the shrines and on-going Lawai International Center projects.
The building will be assembled before the end of the year and will arrive in pre-cut segments from Japan. Using the age-old method of Japanese joinery, no nails will be used in the pavilion’s construction.
“When the first Japanese people worshipped here, they came to the site for spiritual healing, as there weren’t many doctors on the island,” Okimura said. “The pavilion and the site will continue to be a source of healing and compassion in the future.”
Archbishop Okimura has special ties to the Lawai Valley site. His grandfather, Kakos Okimura, also a priest of the Koyasan Shingon Mission and one of the first to spread the Buddhist faith in the Hawaiian Islands, was friends with the Reverend Kodo Yamamoto who ran the original temple, Lawai Daishi Do, which was on the site prior to the 1920s. Reverend Yamamoto and his wife are buried at the base of the 88 shrines.