Buddhists prepare for 750th anniversary

KAPA‘IA — The event does not start until April 2011, but representatives and members from the different Jodo Shinshu Buddhist churches congregated at the Lihu‘e Hongwanji Mission yesterday.

Bishop Thomas Okano, a former resident minister for the Lihu‘e Hongwanji Mission, was at the special proclamation service to read and discuss the plans of the 750th Memorial of Shinran Shonin.

Okano, now the Bishop of the Honpa Hongwanji of Hawai‘i, said the 750th memorial service in Kyoto, Japan, is the 120th anniversary for the Hawai‘i churches.

On April 27, 2006, Gov. General Kosho Fujikawa, at a press conference, revealed the slogan “May peace and tranquility prevail throughout the world.”

“This phrase was written by Shinran Shonin, who lived through social turmoil of medieval Japan, to indicate the path which Nembutsu practicers should follow,” Fujikawa said on a Honpa Hongwanji Web site.

“Each and every one of us who lives in this contemporary society is exposed to the crisis of war, various events which show little or no concern to life and lack moral sense. Therefore, we must reflect on our own self-centered minds and become aware of the importance of the lives of others. In the way of self-righteous thinking that I am right and others are wrong, true peace will never be realized.”

Fujikawa said it was Shinran Shonin’s wish to let the Buddha’s teaching spread and peace and tranquility prevail in the world. This was the basis for selecting the theme for the celebration.

The logo for the memorial is made up of a combination of the number 750 and the letter “S,” the initial for Shinran Shonin.

Combined, the logo symbolizes the interconnectedness between people and also expresses the current slogan of the Hongwanji Core Program: “Let us build the world in which all life shines.”

The six colors used in the rainbow-like arc represent the colors of the Buddhist flag. They are blue, yellow, red, white, scarlet and a mixture of the five colors.

Jan. 12, 2012 will mark the 750th anniversary of the passing of the founder, Shinran Shonin, said Monshu Koshin Ohtani in his letter read by Okano.

A full copy of the Monshu’s letter as well as events surrounding the Shinran Shonin 750th Memorial Anniversary can be found on the Honpa Hongwanji Mission’s Web site at www.hongwanjihawaii.com.

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