STUDENT EXCHANGE TO JAPAN IN 2025

After a 5 year hiatus, the Hawaii Federation of BWAs sponsored Student Exchange Program to Japan is back on track.  Young women, ages 17-23 as of June 30, 2025 are encouraged to apply for this approximate 10 day summer trip in July 2025. Included is a 2-3 day homestay and a visit to Honzan to meet Lady Ruzumi Ohtani.  Two will be selected and travel together.  All forms may be found in the PROGRAMS tab – pull down page STUDENT EXCHANGE.   The deadline is October 31, 2024.

Federation BWA President Receives Tokudo


We are pleased to announce that Mrs. Linda Nagai, the current Hawaii Federation of BWAs President (2022-2025), from Kona, Hawaii received Tokudo (to be ordained in the hongwanji-ha tradition) at the Honzan in Kyoto, Japan this December 2023.  This Tokudo step is just part of her long journey to become a Hongwanji minister one day.  Congratulations!!!!!  Read as she shares her Tokudo experience here or under News and Events:

     My Tokudo Experience has been a lifelong journey going back almost 35 years, from being active in Dharma School, attending Summer Sessions, and Dharna talks.  And it was after one of these Dharma sessions and conversations with fellow Sangha members that led me to dream of Tokudo.  However, due to Karmic conditions that dream was set aside until now.  Due to the benevolence of the many people in the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii’s spiritual community, I was finally able to attain a 35 year dream.

     As many of you know, I have many things on my plate, and my plate at times is at the brim of overflowing, and trying to add Tokudo to it was a very challenging task, however the end result was well worth.

     Trying to memorize sutras and various recitations, and then having memorization requirements change at the last minute was very stressful.  However, I realized that I was actually living the teachings.  The teaching of impermanence, nothing remains the same and our suffering is due to the fact that we cannot accept change.  It was then that I was able to accept the many changes that came along with my Tokudo journey.

     Traveling to Berkeley, CA in June to take part in the pre-Tokudo training and qualification, gave me an insight as to what to expect in Japan and it was nice to meet and train with all the aspirants that I would be going with from the U.S.

     December 3, 2023 was the beginning of the final leg of my Tokudo journey.  We arrived in Japan and for 2 days received orientation and training at the Hongwanji International Center, as well as receiving the remainder of the items we would need when we went to the Nishiyama Training Center for Tokudo.  On December 6, all of our electronics were put aside, and for 10 days we had no outside contact, which I do have to admit was quite refreshing, and peaceful.  Our day began with a wake up to music at 5:30am followed by chores and morning service (some of which we had to lead), classes, and meals.  Our day normally ended at 9:00pm and lights were out at 11:00pm.  Yes, it was quite rigorous.

We were able to visit Shoren-in Temple where Shinran Shonin was ordained, and Mt. Hiei where Shinran Shonin studied for 20 years.  However, the highlight of Tokudo for me was the actual ordination.  Not that I was receiving my Tokudo, but the ordination itself.  We were ordained in the evening in candlelight, depicting Shinran Shonin’s ordination.

     65 Aspirants from Japan, BCA, and yes me from Hawaii arrived at Honzan in the later afternoon.  We assembled in the Goeido (Founder’s Hall) the building that enshrines Shinran Shonin, and in front of Shinran Shonin’s image we received our Tokudo ordination.  It was a beautiful ritual very serene, and peaceful, as Gomonshu sama came by and tapped each aspirant on the head, followed by all 65 aspirants reciting the New Ryogemon.  Reciting the words of the Gomonshu sama which echoed through the Goeido, taking the Jodo Shinshu teachings from Amida’s compassion to how to live each moment of our lives, a feeling that I cannot describe and will never forget.

     My journey towards Tokudo was worth every step.  And as I took each step, I could feel Amida guiding me through the many people who helped me along this path.  And as I watched the beautiful white snow fall in Hiroshima after Tokudo, I could feel Amida’s embrace, realizing that Amida’s all encompassing Wisdom and Compassion, will continue to guide me as I continue to walk the Nembutsu path.  With deep gratitude and palms together, I recite the Buddha’s name “Namo Amida Butsu.”

click here for another picture

SAVE THE DATE: 18th World Buddhist Women’s Convention is Sept. 11-12, 2027 in Honolulu

At the 17th World Buddhist Women’s Convention in Kyoto Japan (May 2023), Hawaii Federation BWA President Linda Nagai invited the attendees gathered, to come to Hawaii in 2027 for the 18th World BWC.  The site will be at the Hawaii Convention Center on September 11-12, 2027.  Urakata Lady Ruzumi Ohtani was most gracious in accepting the invitation while Outgoing HHMH Bishop Eric Matsumoto and Incoming HHMH Bishop Toshiyuki Umitani received the WBWC flag from the previous Japan hosts.  See flyer attachment.  SAVE THE DATE

Note:  In the near future a dedicated site will be posted for news and updates about the 18th WBWC.

We the BWA, Stand Together

It was only three days after the solemn Investiture and festive Welcome Luncheon for Bishop Toshiyuki Umitani as our 17th Bishop of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, that the Maui Wildfire blew up in unimaginable force (August 8).  Today the historic Lahaina town, along with Lahaina Hongwanji and many of their members’ homes and businesses are in ruins and we mourn the loss of lives including those who are still missing.  We are grateful for the outpouring of support for the survivors who face the enormous task to rebuild their lives.  Along with many other social agencies, the HHMH has established several ways that you can help, so go to their website at https://hongwanjihawaii.com  Namu Amida Butsu.

Linda Nagai, President states “The Hawaii Federation of BWAs guided by the all Encompassing Wisdom and Compassion of Amida stands with Lahaina Hongwani and the Lahaina community with hands extended to support their relief and recovery efforts.”

Sharon Higa,  President of Maui United BWA shares:  “Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear.  If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today”.  Thich Nhat Hanh

“As I speak to our Lahaina Hongwanji’s members, I see hope.  They share heartbreaking stories of their Lahaina fire experiences.  For the most part, they seem to be coping well.  Their resilience stems from Amida Buddha’s guidance and compassion.  Our Maui temples have been helping our Lahaina temple members by giving them a place to gather, whether for spiritual or social healing.  Individually we are supporting our families as their needs arise.  We are all a link in Amida Buddha’s golden chain of love.”

I AM SAFE

“I am safe”, “I am fine.”  Those three little words made a huge difference to the friends of Sharon Nohara (HFBWA Secretary).  We worried about Sharon since she lives in Lahaina, Maui and had met full force the wildfires fueled by strong winds of Hurricane Dora so many miles away. Linda Nagai, Hawaii Federation of BWAs president first learned from Sharon on August 9th, a short reply to her text that she lost her home’s roof and evacuated to her Father-in-Laws place, some 9 miles north of Lahaina.

Her Japan trip (May 7-21) roommate, Susan Morishige of Moiliili heard next.  “My husband is at a rehab facility (in Wailuku).  The subdivision that I live at is in the highest area of Lahainaluna Road.  The fire bypassed us and went down the hill and engulfed all the houses below me.  I think only 4 members’ houses survived the fire.  Everyone’s houses were burned as well as our temple…”

Picture of Sharon (on right) with Jean Heselden of Makawao, and Susan during breakfast on Japan trip.
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I have known Sharon for many years since we are both involved with the HFBWAs.  I contacted Sharon’s daughter, Jessica who lives on Oahu.  She encouraged me to text her mother directly.  So on August 21 (13 days later), I wrote a simple message to Sharon, “How are you faring?  Can I get something for you?”  Sharon’s text reply of 700 words was overwhelming.  Again it began with “I am fine” and ended with “Please thank everyone for their concern and sympathy.  I am grateful that my house was saved, and I have my health.  I have so much more than the hundreds who have suffered tremendous loss.  In Gratitude, Sharon”

In her message, Sharon basically shares her perspective as a survivor who remained in the west Maui area while the majority evacuated to central Maui (Kahului & Wailuku).  Since then, I have shared her message with close to 40 friends.  Email me if you wish to see her entire text.  Dhigashi46@hawaii.rr.com

Metta, Donna Higashi, Moiliili Hongwanji BWA

17th World Buddhist Women’s Convention

Led by HFBWA President Linda Nagai and 1st VP Claire Tamamoto, Hawaii BWA members and guests will meet their counterparts from the Buddhist Churches of America, and Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada, South America and Japan at the Kyoto International Conference Center on May 11-12, 2023.

As an attendee, here are some items needing your attention.  CONTACT YOUR UNIT OR UNITED BWA PRESIDENT FOR DETAILS.

  1. Convention Registration fee – $200 – contact your Unit/United BWA President (deadline Feb. 3, 2023)
  2. Convention Program – TBD
  3. Uniform – BWA Purple Polo shirt (similar to previous one) – $25.00 – Oct. 31, 2022 deadline to order
  4. Lei Making (added to convention Uniform) – TBD
  5. Entertainment – New Buddhist Women’s Pledge (singing/ukulele playing/American sign language) sign up if interested in participating
  6. Montoshikisho – optional; designed by Japan BWA; available at HHMH HQ Bookstore; $45 (a reduced cost is being offered through your temple or BWA Unit – $40.50) click here for design on new montoshikisho
  7. Five Nights Stay in Kyoto (RT air (Honolulu to Osaka); transportation to/from airport to hotel, to/from hotel to Honzan and convention site; Designated hotel; some meals, etc.) – Kintetsu Hawaii (should be confirmed already)

The one-and-a-half-day convention follows our participation at the Hongwanji Founder’s Hall (Honzan) on May 10, 2023 as part of the Joint Celebration.

14th BWA Hawaii State Membership Conference Coming Soon

Please join us when Maui United BWA hosts the State Conference on April 23-24, 2022 at Wailuku Hongwanji with hotel accommodations at Maui Beach.  The theme is “Building Healthy Sanghas—Connecting with Others.”  Two keynote speakers will be featured:   Deidre Tegarden, Maui, “Connecting with Others” and Janet Umezu, California, “Diversity and Acceptance.”  The business meeting will Read More

Please join us when Maui United BWA hosts the State Conference on April 23-24, 2022 at Wailuku Hongwanji with hotel accommodations at Maui Beach.  The theme is “Building Healthy Sanghas—Connecting with Others.”  Two keynote speakers will be featured:   Deidre Tegarden, Maui, “Connecting with Others” and Janet Umezu, California, “Diversity and Acceptance.”  The business meeting will be conducted by the Hawaii Federation of BWAs president in preparation for the 17th World Buddhist Women’s Convention to be held in Kyoto, Japan on May 11-12, 2023.

BWA2022 Conf Reg Form VIRTUAL Attendance deadline 2022.01.31

NOTE:  As of January 9, 2022, the Maui committee formally adopted a change in the format of the 2022 Membership Conference.  The conference will be in virtual format only, via Zoom.  The registration cost is $100 per person.  If you have not previously registered, please use the form above with a deadline of January 31, 2022.  If you have already registered, you do not need to do more.

Deadline for requesting a refund of prepaid Maui Beach Hotel reservation is January 23, 2022.  If you need additional information, please contact Sharon Nohara at sharon.nohara@gmail.com.

THE FOLLOWING AREA IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Updated Info on Hybrid Format by Chair Janet Shimada 11-29-2021

Flyer#5 BWA 2022 HYBRID Conf rev. 2021.11.29
Announcing Hybrid Conference Format; New Registration Costs; Link to Conference Registration Forms

Conference Registration (newly added 11/28/21)  Do not use old registration form.

There are TWO separate fillable .pdf registration forms.  They can be filled out while on the computer in Adobe Acrobat.

In-person attendance is $150 per person.  Please click here for the registration form.

Virtual attendance via Zoom is $100 per person.  Please click here for the registration form.

Temple/Unit contact should submit form and payment by Jan. 7, 2022, per instructions on forms.  Please send “cc” to your United President.

Schedule, Workshops and Speakers (Flyer #3)

Friday is an optional day.

Saturday’s Welcome Opening scheduled for 9:30am  (make plane arrangements accordingly)

Workshop information will be shared at a later date.

United Presidents sign up for Pop-Up Sales Tables by Nov. 5, 2021.

Maui Beach Hotel Reservation Form (REVISED as of June 24, 2021)

This is a fillable .pdf version.  It can be filled out while on the computer in Adobe Acrobat.

The primary person should submit one form and deposit directly to Hotel by Oct. 23, 2021. (Cheryl Di Cenzo, Sales Manager)

Maui Beach Hotel Booking Info as of June 28, 2021
New (as of 6/28/21): Summary of Room Costs & Deposit (click here)

See shuttle service information between Kahului Airport, Maui Beach Hotel and Wailuku Hongwanji

Updated Schedule and reminders (Flyer #4 dated July 2021)

Tentative schedule with approximate times listed

Pop-Up Store hours:  Saturday (8-9am) (5pm); Sunday (7:45-8:30am)

Continental Breakfast offered on Saturday and Sunday with Mini Bento to Go on Sunday

Workshop selection will be emailed to conference registrants later.

Buddhists Remember Martin Luther King, Jr. (video)

The Hawaii Federation of BWAs along with other Buddhist groups like the Pacific Buddhist Academy has participated in the MLK, Jr. March in Waikiki for the past few years.  This year, we have chosen to create a video showing some similarities between Dr. King’s teachings and Buddhist beliefs including clippings of our participation in Waikiki and on Maui.  We are grateful to the committee members including Rev. Blayne Higa, Dave Atcheson, Sharon Nohara, Carol Valentine, Jennifer Taira of Ohana Arts and Lois Toyama.  Please join us on Sunday, January 17, 2021 at 11:00am at this link: honpahi.link/youtube

Aloha Reunion Tea (BWA Student Exchange Alumnae)

At the 3rd World Buddhist Women’s Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii in June 1967, a resolution to adopt the Student Exchange program was passed.  In 1971 the first two young women, Jan Aratani and Gail Mamura were sponsored by the Hawaii Federation of BWAs and selected to go to Japan .  Since then until 2019, 42 others have traveled to Japan.  The most recent young women were Chloe Oshiro of Mililani Hongwanji and Katelyn Otani of Pearl City Hongwanji.  Their reflections can be found in the most recent HI Federation Newsletter Fall 2019.

On Saturday, March 7, 2020 at Jikoen Hongwanji an Aloha Reunion Tea” is being planned from 1:00 – 3:00.  It will be a time to reconnect with these young women.  We’ll have tea and signature goodies from each island. (event follows the Spring Rep Mtg.).  It’ll be a wonderful talk story time, since some of them might be traveling from places beyond Honolulu, Hawaii where they are now working or residing.

Assisting President Lois Toyama are Irene Nakamoto, Barbara Brennan, Caroline Otani (Class of ’87), Wendie Yumori and Carol Valentine.

Susan Kakuda (Class of ’93) first row (left)            Katelyn Ohtani and Chloe Oshiro (Class of 2019)

Eshin-ni and Kakushin-ni Chair for Jodo Shinshu Studies

A primary purpose of the BWA is to support the propagation of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism throughout the world.  To implement this purpose, our  World Federation of BWAs is proposing to establish a Jodo Shinshu teaching position at the BCA’s Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkely, California.  IBS has been vital in spreading Jodo Shinshu not only in the Americas (North and South), but also in Hawaii, Canada, Europe, and Japan, etc.

The GOAL is to raise three (3) million dollars with the interest earned yearly to be used to fund the teaching position of an instructor.  This position will be named for two individuals close to our hearts – The Eshin-ni and Kakushin-ni Endowed Chair for Jodo Shinshu Studies.

Each Jodo Shinshu Buddhist temple worldwide is being asked to support this project and the Hawaii Federation of BWAs is in favor of it.  Each temple’s goal is approximately $300.   The BWAs in Hawaii will spearhead this fundraising effort with all donations earmarked as coming from the entire temple membership.  Deadline is December 31, 2018.

Thanks to the hard work of many individuals, we have met Hawaii’s goal of $11,000.  As of January 15, 2019, we have raised $14,631 from 21 Temple and BWA groups.  Additional thanks goes to the Dharma School Teachers of Oahu and the Hawaii District Ministers Association.  If your temple/BWA missed the deadline and would still like to participate in this worthwhile project, contact your United BWA President for more information.

framed images of Kakushinni, left, and Eshinni, right, before the altar at Hawaii Betsuin
Images of Kakushinni, left, and Eshinni, right, at Hawaii Betsuin.