Buddhist event preaches peace
By Mary Kaye Ritz
Advertiser Religion & Ethics Writer
By Mary Kaye Ritz
When thousands of women from the Jodo Shinshu sect converge in Honolulu next weekend for the 13th annual World Buddhist Women's Convention, the aim will be to spread the message of Buddhism through the culture of Hawai'i.
There will be hula and Hawaiian song workshops; delegates can make a kukui nut wristlet; and Hawaiian songs and greenery will abound when an estimated 4,000 delegates from Japan, Canada, South America and the Mainland meet up at the Hawai'i Convention Center.
The convention is held every four years, explained Donna Higashi, one of the event co-chairs. The last time the convention was held in Hawai'i was 24 years ago, she said.
Six years in the making, this year's event offers a keynote address by the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Tanaka, a professor of Buddhism at Musashino University and an author of seven books on Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. Tanaka also has taught classes at the Buddhist Study Center here.
Tanaka will discuss the convention theme, "Buddha's Vow, My Aspiration: May There Be Peace in the World, May the Buddha Dharma Spread." Five panelists — the Rev. Patricia Usuki of the Buddhist Churches of America; the Rev. Masumi Kikuchi from the Buddhist Churches of Canada; the Rev. Midori Kondo of Honpa Hongwanji here; the Rev. Chijo Okayama of South America; and Yasuko Maeda of Japan — also will take up that theme.
The special guest will be the Lady Noriko Ohtani, president of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha World Federation of Buddhist Women's Associations. She is the wife of Monshu Koshin Ohtani, the head of the Jodo Shinshu Nishi Hongwanji sect, who is a direct descendant of Shinran Shonin (1173-1272), founder of the sect. Jodo Shinshu is the largest sect of Buddhism in Japan.