LIHU‘E — Representatives of the Kaua‘i Buddhist Council reported to Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami on Wednesday that this year’s Hanamatsuri, or birth of the Buddha services, will be again hosted virtually through the Kaua‘i Buddhist Council’s YouTube channel, Sunday starting at 9:30 a.m.
“Unfortunately, a lot of our members fall into the high-risk group of being affected by COVID-19,” said Rev. Tomo Hojo of the West Kaua‘i Hongwanji Mission. “Although we would love to meet in person, we want our members to be safe. We will again host Hanamatsuri through the YouTube channel.”
The proclamation, presented by Kawakami to the Kaua‘i Buddhist Council, announces that the week of April 3 to April 10 will be celebrated as Hanamatsuri Week and Buddha Day Commemoration on Kaua‘i.
April 3 will be celebrated as Hanamatsuri, or the birth of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism who was born on April 8 in Nepal. Hanamatsuri is one of the significant observances in Buddhism, the other being Bohdi Day, or the date Buddha attained Enlightenment following days of meditation under a Bohdi tree.
Kawakami said he remembers his mother telling him that religion, all religion, is important to a person. He further explained how he looks at the different religions and picks the best of what each has to offer.
Buddhism is one of the world’s major religions and has played an important role in the history of Hawai‘i, and on the island of Kaua‘i since the days of arriving with the Asian immigrants who were brought here to labor on the sugar plantations.
Buddhism gave rise to the popularity of bon dances as a community event as well as serving to raise funds for the church hosting the bon dance.
During bon season and bon dances, it is believed that spirits of deceased relatives and loved ones return to the material world and give reason for joy and celebration.
The Buddhist Council voting also shuttered the odori portion of bon dance for this year, allowing each member church to host its own bon services and fundraising efforts.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.
Source: The Garden Island