The Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii is a district of the Nishi (West) Hongwanji, one of the major branches of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, a school of Mahayana Pure Land Buddhism.

Jodo Shinshu Buddhism was established in Hawaii as a result of the immigration of Japanese people to work the plantations on the islands. The first Hongwanji temple in Hawaii was dedicated on March 3, 1889[1]. In 1897, the Nishi Hongwanji in Kyoto, Japan began sending official ministers to establish temples for Japanese immigrants in Hawaii and the mainland United States[2]. Since these early days, 36 temples and the Buddhist Study Center have been established across the Hawaiian Islands, including the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin and the Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin. It is administered separately from the Buddhist Churches of America, the umbrella organization of Jodo Shinshu temples in the continental United States.

In 1976, insurance executive Paul Yamanaka went to Yoshiaki Fujitani, Bishop of the Mission, with the idea to create a program called "Living Treasures of Hawai'i" modeled after the Living National Treasures program of Japan[3]. The purpose of the award is to recognize and honor persons who have demonstrated excellence and high standards of achievement in their particular fields of endeavor and have made significant contributions to humanity toward a more fraternal society[4]. Any person can nominate an individual for the award. This program has honored more than 100 community members to date.

External links


  2. Main Jodo Shinshu Buddhist organization in Japan
  3. Newspaper article from 2003 that describes the program and shows 2003 winners
  4. Stone, Scott (2000), Living Treasures of Hawaii 25th Anniversary of the Selections of Outstanding Persons as Honored by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii (Hawai'i), Honolulu: Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, ISBN 0896103161 


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