Hongwanji leaders convene in Honolulu for 104th Giseikai (Legislative Assembly)

The 104th Giseikai, the Legislative Assembly of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, was held at Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin on February 12-13, 2016. A total of 148 delegates and observers (temple representatives) from throughout the Hawaiian Islands had gathered to discuss the resolutions including the Mission budget for the year 2016. Here are a few highlights.

Messages from Jodo Shinshu Leaders

Bishop Chiko Iwagami, the Governor General of Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, conveyed a message encouraging interfaith dialogue. He also encouraged us to come to Kyoto for Dento Hokoku Hoyo, or Commemoration on the Accession of the Jodo Shinshu Tradition. See event details. (The Governor General’s message was read by Rev. Kevin Kuniyuki.)

Bishop Eric Matsumoto highlighted the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha General Promotion Plan, the organizational policy to guide us in the 10-year period from 2015-2025. In summary, he said the plan “is about sharing: sharing the Dharma, sharing ourselves as Buddhists, mutually sharing our life together as human beings….”

President Pieper Toyama also emphasized sharing, saying volunteer leaders should focus on three primary tasks: 1) Join with ministers in shaping the message of Jodo Shinshu so it is responsive and relevant and in shaping experiences that bring the message to life, 2) Share this message with our members and with the interested public so their lives may be filled with the joy of the Dharma, and 3) Continuously improve our organizational capacity to share the message effectively.

For the complete text of these leaders’ messages, see the February 2016 Headquarters Update Newsletter.

Resolutions Approved

Delegates approved several resolutions, including:

  • The Green Hongwanji Initiative will “educate, set goals and develop an action plan to help temples and members live in ecological harmony within our communities, state, and planet.”
  • A committee will research and make recommendations on technology to support remote communication for sharing dharma talks and services.
  • A continuing financial operations subsidy was approved for Pacific Buddhist Academy, with a gradual phase-out over five years.
  • Delegates approved adopting a document entitled “The Shin Buddhist Ministry in Hawaii,” which details the roles, responsibilities, education, and training for ministers and minister’s lay assistants.

Other resolutions that passed included approving the budget, amending the bylaws, and a several resolutions of condolence and appreciation.

Special Films Presentation

The agenda included a special presentation of short films. One was a trailer an upcoming film about Katsu Goto, a plantation worker and labor leader who was lynched in Honoka‘a, Hawai‘i in 1889. We also watched videos featuring two American soldiers of Japanese descent who played unique roles in the Battle of Okinawa: Takejiro Higa and Herbert Yanamura. Both were in attendance. For more information, see Takejiro Higa’s story and The Surrender Call / The Herbert Yanamura Story.

In the Photo: Front-row, from left – Mr. Roy Miyamoto (Past Kyodan President), Mr. Frederick S. Nonaka (Past Kyodan President), Ms. Shizue Yahata (BCA Fed. BWA President), Dr. Kent Matsuda (BCA Kyodan President), Mr. Pieper Toyama (HI Kyodan President), Bishop Eric Matsumoto (Bishop of HHMH), Mr. Alton Miyamoto (Immediate Past Kyodan President), Rev. Thomas Okano (Former Bishop), Rev. Hiromi Kawaji (Retired Minister), Rev. Shigeaki Fujitani (Retired Minister), Rev. Tatsuo Muneto (Retired Minister), and Rev. Toyokazu Hagio (Hawaii Betsuin Rimban)