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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 8, 2006

Buddhists gathering to celebrate

Advertiser Staff

At last year's Buddha Day celebration, a woman poured amacha (sweet tea) over an image of the infant Buddha in celebration of the Buddha's birthday. This year's celebration will be at McKinley High School, sponsored by the Hawaii Buddhist Council.

THE REV. KOTOKU YOSHIDA | Soto Mission

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WHEN AND WHERE

Buddha Day Celebration Service

9 a.m. tomorrow

Free

McKinley High auditorium

537-9409

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Tomorrow's Buddha Day celebration will have a decidedly scholarly flavor.

That's because the keynote speaker will be George Tanabe, professor of religion at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, discussing a hot topic among today's Buddhist sects, "The Future of Buddhism in Hawai'i."

The Hawaii Buddhist Council, comprising temples, has been holding its joint service annually for more than 50 years, bringing together Japanese Buddhists organizations the Soto Mission, Honpa Hongwanji Mission, Higashi Hongwanji Mission, Jodo Mission, Shingon Mission, Nichiren Mission and Tendai Mission in a celebration of the Buddha's birth as Prince Gautama Siddhartha about 2,600 years ago.

After Tanabe shares his wisdom, panelists from various sects will respond. They include: Bishop Zenei Okimura, a Shingon Buddhist; the Rev. Koho Takata, from Honpa Hongwanji; a minister in training with the Jodo sect, Ryan Toyomura; and Soto dharma school teacher Bernice Koike.

A morning service starts the day with music by the Honpa Hongwanji choir, offerings of flowers and incense by representatives of the Buddhist Council; chanting and offerings, as well as an offering of sweet tea by the bishops and representatives from various Buddhist organizations.

Afterward, the panel discussion comes entertainment. The taiko drumming festival, "Taiko Vibrant Sound of Togetherness," will be presented by five groups.