Triple Celebration Registration: Choosing the Right Workshops for You

This article originally appeared in the March issue of the Ka Leo Kāhea newsletter. A few edits reflect new information. Ready to register? Go right to the Registration tab in our Triple Celebration pages!

Early Registration is underway and will close on April 30, 2024 for Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii’s Triple Celebration on Sept. 7-8. As part of the registration process, all attendees are asked to indicate their workshop preferences. Session I from 2 to 3 p.m. and Session II from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 7 will focus on five subjects from the “Historical Highlights of the Hongwanji in Hawaii” to social concerns to “Greening the Hongwanji.”

In order to help registrants make informed decisions, here are brief summaries of each session as explained by the workshop leaders:

“The Significance of the Establishment of Jodo Shinshu Tradition and Doctrine” with Rev. Kiyonobu Kuwahara, Berkeley Buddhist Temple; 2 and 3:30 p.m.

Rev. Kiyonobu Kuwahara
Rev. Kiyonobu Kuwahara, Berkeley Buddhist Temple

Jodo Shinshu Buddhism has become the largest Buddhist organization in Japan, a country of Buddhism.

We celebrate the 800th anniversary of the establishment of this school of Buddhism based on the idea that Jodo Shinshu Buddhism was established with the completion of Shinran Shonin’s “Kyogyoshinsho” in 1224.

Shinran Shonin clarified the essence of Amida Buddha’s Wisdom and Compassion, receiving guidance from Shakyamuni Buddha and Pure Land Buddhist masters. His teaching has spiritually enriched and empowered people’s lives all over the world for more than 800 years and many have followed this teaching and dedicatedly supported the Hongwanji and temples. It could be said that the 800-year history is proof that they have found the truth or something important within this teaching regardless of nationalities, race, cultural backgrounds, gender identifies and so on. In this workshop, I would like to develop our understanding of the history and deepen our appreciation of the teaching with those attending. And to more actively engage participants, I plan to use some form of quiz during the session.

“Historical Highlights of Hongwanji in Hawaii + Intro to Archiving,” David Atcheson and the HHMH Archives Committee, 2 and 3:30 p.m.

David Atcheson
Honpa Hongwanji’s Archives Committee Chair David Atcheson and committee members will include archival items and key finds from the collection.

The hour-long sessions will open with a brief audio-visual presentation highlighting Hongwanji’s history in Hawaii as well as some key finds from the archives, supplemented by a live show-and-tell of items.

One such example on display will be a journal from 1907- 1913, written in Japanese, from Hilo Betsuin courtesy of Rev. Joshin Kamuro in addition to an extensive collection from Rev. Yoshiaki Fujitani, deeds from Olelo and founding documents, either originals or reproductions.

To make sessions as practical as possible for those who wish to begin archiving projects at their respective temples, a takeaway “tool kit” of information will be provided along with tips and best practices on how to preserve and archive valuables. Temples with items of archival interest who wish to bring and display them are encouraged to contact David Atcheson at archiveschair@

“Compassion in Action: Shin Buddhist Social Engagement,” Rev. Blayne Higa from Kona Hongwanji Temple, and the Committee on Social Concerns, 2 and 3:30 p.m.

Rev. Blayne Higa
Rev. Blayne Higa from Kona Hongwanji and chair of the Social Concerns Committee will explore how the modern world and Shin Buddhism co-exist. (Photo courtesy of Ramah DeMello)

Our workshop will explore how Jodo Shinshu Buddhism offers practical guidance while facing the problems of our contemporary world. Our thoughts, words and actions should be inspired by and grounded in the life-giving and life transforming Dharma that teaches us to see the mutuality of all life and how the welfare and happiness of others is intimately connected with our own.

We will offer a definition of “Compassion in Action” based on the concepts for an engaged Shin Buddhism as discussed in Dr. Jeff Wilson’s book, “Living Nembutsu: Applying Shinran’s Radically Engaged Buddhism in Life and Society” and give local examples of Shin Buddhist social engagement. The goal of this workshop is to help participants realize that the Dharma does not necessarily offer easy clear-cut answers, but rather pushes us to go deeper into our human experience, guided by wisdom and compassion, answering the question of, “How do we engage in the modern world as Shin Buddhists?”

We welcome everyone to attend a thoughtful and thought-provoking session.

“Greening the Hongwanji: Awareness and Connection,” Steve Lohse, Chair of the Green Hongwanji Initiative Committee, 2 p.m.

Steve Lohse
Steve Lohse, chair of the Green Hongwanji Initiative Committee, plans to have participants share inspiring stories on environmental awareness for effective Dharma-guided advocacy.

If it’s true that we protect what we connect with, then why don’t we protect Earth’s environment more effectively? After all, we depend on the environment for everything including a livable climate, public health, clean air and water, energy, fertile soil, healthy food, mineral resources, and the biodiversity that sustains living systems. We are inescapably interdependent with environments we abuse as well as environments we protect.

As Thich Nhat Hanh said, “We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.” We are never disconnected from Earth’s environment, but our awareness tends to slip from time to time, causing us to behave as though we were. In this workshop, we will celebrate awareness of our environmental connections through sharing personal stories. No speakers or panels, just sharing inspiring stories among ourselves to lift our environmental awareness for more effective Dharma-guided advocacy and action.

“The Giving Gratitude Tree,” Debbie Kubota and the Honpa Hongwanji State Dharma School, 3:30 p.m.

Debbie Kubota
Debbie Kubota’s “The Giving Gratitude Tree” session will include haiku and origami besides the creation and display of original Bodhi tree leaves.

The State Dharma School Committee collaborated and planned the following for Triple Celebration’s workshop: Three stations will be setup around the meeting room’s walls, each with murals depicting different scenes with activity tables fronting each mural.

At Station 1: Mount Hiei — Participants will learn to fold an origami, possibly a mountain, to take with them.

At Station 2: Echigo — Participants will write a haiku poem on a subject to be determined.

At Station 3: Gratitude Tree — Participants will cut out two leaves, each shaped like Bodhi tree leaf and write something about gratitude on each one. Then they will take one leaf home with them and the other will be fastened onto the branch of the Gratitude Tree.

The target audience for the session is Dharma School students, teachers, and families.

Questions on the workshops may be directed to or by calling (808) 522-9200.