(A version of this item originally appeared on the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii website.)
Update 11/24/2017: A video of the service is now available.
The Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii celebrated a Queen Liliʻuokalani Tribute Service on Sunday, October 29 at Hawaii Betsuin, the Hongwanji temple on Pali Highway. The service was an opportunity to express gratitude for the queen and her encouragement to the Hongwanji Buddhist community in Hawaii over 100 years ago.
We were gratified to see the main temple hall filled to capacity by temple members and friends, special guests and participants, and members of the wider community. Attendees were privileged to be addressed by Queen Liliʻuokalani through the performing artistry of Jackie Pualani Johnson and to hear performances by the Hawaii Betsuin Choir and the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus.
Bishop Eric Matsumoto delivered the dharma message (you may read the text on the Mission website at Queen Lili’uokalani Tribute Message).
We provide here an excerpt from the printed program and, above, links to a selection of photos from the event.
In a difficult and challenging time, Her Majesty extended her compassion and kindness to the Japanese community and in particular the Hongwanji Buddhist Community by attending a special birthday service in honor of Shinran Shonin, the founder of Shin Buddhism, on May 19, 1901 at the Fort Lane Temple, the forerunner of this current temple. Her presence along with that of Mary Elizabeth Mikahala Foster who had extended the invitation to the Queen encouraged the Hongwanji to proudly move forward. Her Aloha for the people of Hawaii made a tremendous impact on society at the time.
Last year, in 2016, a 100th Memorial Service was held in honor of the Queen at the Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin Temple in Hilo on the Big Island. This year, we hold a 100th Anniversary Tribute in her honor in Honolulu.
Today’s Tribute Service also contains elements of the 1901 Service at which the gatha or Buddhist songs “Sambo no On/The Wondrous Gift of Peace” and “Nori no Miyama/Deep in the Woods of Dharma” were sung. We humbly express our debt of gratitude to Her Majesty, Queen Liliʻuokalani.
(Header photos by Alan Kubota. Additional photos in the Honoring People gallery by both Alan Kubota and Ruth Tokumi.)