Introduction of Official Foreign Temples, TENDAI Buddhist denomination, Japan

Tendai Mission of Hawaii

Temple: Tendai Mission of Hawaii
Head Priest: Ryokan Ara
Address: 23 Jack Lane, Honolulu, Hawaii 96817, U.S.A.
Phone: 808-595-2556
Foundation: 1973

History of the Tendai Mission of Hawaii:

Since there are not many sources left regarding the pre-war propagating activities of the Tendai sect in Hawaii, the details are unknown. In the 1940 Japan-Hawaii Almanac, the following was recorded: “The Tendai Fudo-son temple located at 834 South Hotel Street in Honolulu was established on April 15, 1918. It was officially designated as a center for the propagation of Tendai Buddhism on September 29, 1930 and was raised to the position of head temple, the Tendai Mission of Hawaii Betsuin, by the Abbot of the Tendai sect, Koei Umetani, on August 10, 1933. Until January 1, 1936, it was managed by its founder, the Reverend Sengaku Tanaka, and on June 19, 1935, the missionary Reverend Tetsushun Sakamoto, who is currently the head priest of the Hawaii Betsuin, was sent by Abbot Koei Umetani.”

The first head minister, the Reverend Sengaku Tanaka, was born in Shiga Prefecture. The letter which he later in his life sent to the Religious Affairs Section requesting that more ministers be sent to Hawaii since he could not hold up under the burden of propagating activities remains in the Religious Affairs Section. In response to this letter, Rev. Tetsushun Sakamoto, the head of Yokokura-ji in Gifu Prefecture, was sent together with his wife. Although he was well educated and had a favorable reputation as a progressive missionary, he returned to Japan in 1939 due to poor health.

After that, lay members, particularly Suekichi Murashima and Shigenori Omokawa, maintained the Fudo Hall, but World War II broke out and the temple was forced to close when it became difficult to maintain in 1950.

In 1972 the Overseas Missionary Society was established with the Rev. Jion Haba, the former chairman of the Religious Affairs Section, as its central figure. The Reverend Toko Kon became its first president. In May 1973, the Castle Family’s land and house were purchased with the help of L.T. Kagawa and Takeo Suemura and the Tendai Mission of Hawaii Betsuin founded. In November of the same year, the head Tendai priest, the Reverend Eikai Sugawara, led 350 delegates consisting of ministers and lay members to Hawaii to officially celebrate the opening of the Hawaii Betsuin and dedicated the principle object of worship, Yakushi Nyorai. Reverend Ryokan Ara was assigned as the first Bishop.

Although propagating activities had been going on before the war, those who had been involved were no longer around so it was necessary to literally start from zero. In addition, because the Tendai sect of Buddhism was the oldest in Japan, its propagation in a different cultural context in a foreign land was extremely difficult. However, the temple gradually increased its membership by means of cultural activities and continued such religious activities as the Yakushi Nyorai (Healing Buddha) services, Fudo (Immovable Buddha) services, and Amida Buddha (Buddha of Infinite Life and Light) services.

Meanwhile, it had been decided that “Ichigu Undo” (Illuminate your Corner Movement) in Japan also be carried out in Hawaii. In 1975 the Hawaii chapter of the “One Corner Association” was established by inviting Archbishop of the Shoren-in Monzeki, Jiko Higashifushimi as its honorary president. Since then, many of the leaders of Hawaii’s Japanese-American Community have joined this organization and have been carrying on such wide-ranged social activities as the “A little Kindness Movement” and the “Research Society of the History of Hawaii’s Immigrants.”

In 1978 what had until that time been the Tendai Cultural Classrooms was expanded into the Hawaii Institute of Arts, where instruction in such arts as Japanese painting, dyeing and calligraphy has been offered to the American artists of Japanese ancestry. Presently this is the sole Institute of Arts of its kind in Hawaii.

In 1982 the management of the Waikiki-Kapahulu Japanese Language School was entrusted to the Tendai Mission and the school was established as the Hawaii Institute which, as a cultural center for youth, has provided education in such subjects as an ancient Japanese martial arts and the Japanese language.

This transcription is extracted from “Tendai Mission Review”, published in March, 2000 by Tendai Buddhist Sect Overseas Charitable Foundation, with a subsidy for the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Tendai Mission of Hawaii.

Palolo Kwannon Temple

Temple: Palolo Kwannon Temple
Head Priest: Eshin Matsumoto
Address: 3326 Paalea St. Honolulu, Hawaii 96816, U.S.A.
Phone: 808-737-5177
Foundation: 1935

History of Palolo Kwannon Temple:

Palolo Kwannon Temple is located in Palolo Valley, Honolulu, Hawaii.

In June, 1935, the dedication of the founding of the Palolo Kwannon Temple was held at the present location.

The founder of the temple, Reverend Kokan Matsumoto and Reverend Myosei Matsumoto, both immigrants from Kumamoto, Japan, started the Palolo Kwannon Temple in a humble residence in Palolo Valley prior to 1935 but saw the need of a temple as membership grew in size. Thus, in 1935, the Palolo Kwannon Temple was dedicated.

In 1935, Rev. Kokan Matsumoto, through the kind guidance of Archbishop Kyojun Shimizudani of Asakusa Kwannon Temple, was introduced to Archbishop Kocho Chida of the Aira Kwannon Temple, Tendai Sect, in Kumamoto, Japan. Reverend Kokan Matsumoto received his religious training and ordination at Aira Kwannon Temple and returned to Hawaii. The following year Rev. Myosei Matsumoto received her training and ordination at Aira Kwannnon Temple.

After the death of Reverend Kokan Matsumoto in 1944, Rev. Myosei Matsumoto served the temple until the return of her son, Bishop Chiko Matsumoto in 1958. In 1959 Reverend Myosei Matsumoto passed away.

From 1958, Bishop Matsumoto had ministered to the elderly as well as to the young through his faith in Kwannon Bosatsu until his death in August 1986.

Reverend Eshin Matsumoto, Bishop Chiko Matsumoto’s wife, has succeeded as the fourth head priest of Palolo Kwannon Temple.

This transcription is extracted from “Tendai Mission Review”, published in March, 2000 by Tendai Buddhist Sect Overseas Charitable Foundation, with a subsidy for the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Tendai Mission of Hawaii.

Back to top

Tendai-shu New York Betsuin

Karuna Tendai Dharma Center (Jiun-san Tendai-ji)

Temple: Tendai-shu New York Betsuin
Head Priest: Monshin Paul Naamon
Address: 1525 Route 295, East Chatham, New York 12060, U.S.A.
Phone: 518-392-7963
Foundation: 1995

Profile of Reverend Monshin Paul Naamon:

Karuna Tendai Dharma Center is Located on the border of the New York and Massachusetts on 32 acres in the Berkshire Mountains, 50 km from Albany, NY.

From 1989 Reverend Naamon lived in Tokyo as a research scholar with the University of Tokyo, Faculty of Medicine. Monshin had studied Zen Buddhism and Japanese culture in the U.S. for almost 20 years, being in Japan provided him with the opportunity to practice and study Buddhism more intensely.

He started his Japanese Buddhist studies under the guidance of Reverend Shoshin Ichishima in 1989, and eventually received ordination from him in 1992 at Tamon-in, Chiba Prefecture. Therefore, Reverend Monshin Naamon practiced as a priest for two and a half years at Tamon-in. During the years living in the worked with Ichishima-sensei in translating a number of Tendai text into English and directing Buddhist retreats (gyo) for both Japanese and international visitors.

In the fall of 1994, he returned the United States with his Japanese wife to establish Karuna Tendai Dharma Center to propagate the Tendai School. In 1995, Reverend Naamon began regular meditations meetings and lectures on Buddhism and directed Buddhist meditaion retreats. The Buddhist Sangha at KTDC has been developing step by step in accordance with the needs of the community.

To cope with the growing membership, the Center members renovated a 175 year old farmhouse and burn into the main hall and the meditation hall. The zendo includes a specially made altar, Butsudan, from Japan where the main image of Shakyamuni Buddha is enshrined. A Segaki platform was made by sangha members.

The program of the weekly meetings consists of a lecture of Buddha’s teachings, history and philosophy, Shikan meditations, followed by a Dharma talk, and lastly the sangha dines together. The weekly participants are 20-25.

Since 1998, Reverend Naamon established Higashi Sangha in Great Barrington, Massachusetts and Nishi Sangha in Albany, New York, where they conduct weekly lectures and mediations. Many other activities are offered by the Dharma Center, such as studies of Lotus Sutra and other sutras, esoteric Buddhist art class, Segaki service, Higan ceremonies, Buddhist retreats that last from one day to a week, and many more. Reverend Naamon has a busy speaking schedule on Buddhism and ethics with many community groups as well as to Christian, Jewish and interfaith groups. Reverend Naamon performs funerals, wedding ceremonies, purification, blessings of newly born babies, etc. He is also a dedicated chaplain of the hospice program in the local area and with the University at Albany.

This transcription is extracted from “Tendai Mission Review”, published in March, 2000 by Tendai Buddhist Sect Overseas Charitable Foundation, with a subsidy for the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Tendai Mission of Hawaii.

Back to top

Zenjorin India

Temple: Zenjorin India
Head Priest: Sangharatna Hoten Manake
Address: Ruyad, (P.O.) Bhendara(Chow) Pauni Bhandara(M.S.), India
Phone: 7185-5262
Foundation: 1987

Profile of the Head Priest:

Sangharatna Hoten Manake founded Zenjorin India in 1987.

Sangharatna was born in 1962 in Nagpur, India. With his father and his Buddhist community’s strong desire to revitalize Buddhism in India, they sent Sangharatna to Japan to receive his education in Buddhism. He was their hope to realize the people’s dream to revitalize Buddhism.

From 1971, Reverend Somon Horisawa of Mt. Hiei was Sangharatna’s guardian at Enryakuji. He graduated from elementary, middle and high school in Japan under the guardianship of Reverend Horisawa. In July 1985 he completed the ascetic practice of the one hundred day mountain walking meditation practice. After studying for fifteen years in Japan, he returned to India in 1985.

Prior to his return the Buddhist members of the community had bought the vast area to build a Buddhist practice center. The center was completed in 1989 and named “Zenjorin.” For the dedication of the center’s grand opening ceremony with one hundred thousand local community people participating, many priests from Japan were invited.

Since that time on, Sangharatna successfully expanded his plan and has built various facilities, such as children’s house, “pannyametta”, orphanage, kindergarten, library, English language school, etc, at the site of Zenjorin, Hence, he has developed widely his activities to benefit Nagpur’s local people. Through these services he has been committed to propagating the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism, that he had learned in Japan.

This transcription is extracted from “Tendai Mission Review”, published in March, 2000 by Tendai Buddhist Sect Overseas Charitable Foundation, with a subsidy for the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Tendai Mission of Hawaii.

Back to top

Back to top