Buddhism in Mo`ili`ili With a focus on: Tensho Kotai Jingu Kyo The

Report
Alicia Fung
HON291S
Fall 2010

Noting the abundance of Japanese in Mo’ili’ili,
the most prevalent religion in Mo’ili’ili is
Buddhism. The symbol that appears on
numerous gravestones in Mo’ili’ili cemetery is
related to either Shingon Buddhism or the
Tensho Kotai Jingu Kyo.

Founded by Sayo Kitamura
◦ Known as Ogamisama (Great God) by followers



Believed to be “God’s only
daughter” destined to save
mankind
Starting preaching in 1945 in
Yamaguchi, Japan
May1952, came to Honolulu

Attracted many Issei Japanese after WWII
◦ Sought a new religion with promise of fulfillment
◦ Wanted world peace, brotherhood
 Tensho Kotai Jingu Kyo offered just that

75-80% were between
40-60 years old
◦ Although Japanese were
dominant, also attracted
Chinese, Koreans, Puerto
Ricans, Filipinos and
Caucasians

Main branch was formed in Mo’ili’ili
◦ Mr. Takeyoshi Hirai (A tailor)
2716 S. King St
Honolulu, HI

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Gather weekly in living room of his
cottage
One Sunday each month, meet for
“Consolation Day” at park
◦ Members pray until dancing
 Hence “dancing religion”
“Nam myoho renge kyo”
• Prayer recited vigorously and rhythmically
so it’s almost sing-song

Followers are in an emotional state of prayer


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Supposed to give
participant
supernatural insight
into universe
Prayers have power
to “redeem all evil
spirits..”
Efficacy carries on
into daily life
“Namu
daishi
henjo
kongo”
南
無
大
師
遍
照
金
剛

Sanskrit Symbol
◦ Seed syllable for Amitābha
(Buddha of the Western Quarter)
 In Japanese: Amida Nyorai
◦ Represents chiefly meditation
and compassion
◦ Pronounced (キリーク)[kiri-ku]
in Japanese

Shingon Mantra
◦ On amirita teizei kara un

Pure Land Buddhist Mantra
◦ Namu amida butsu

Shingon Buddhism
◦ Orthodox Esoteric Buddhism
◦ Characterized by dancing, eccentric rituals, prayer and
chant etc

Pure Land Buddhism
◦ Focused on Amitabha Buddha
◦ Of all Buddhism sects, Pure Land is the most practiced
Buddhism in Hawaii
 Jodo Shinshu Sect is largest
◦ Recitation & reading of Pure Land Sutras

They are both two different schools of Buddhism
◦ But they share similar concepts

Tensho Kotai Jingu Kyo & Shingon Buddhism
were both popular religions in Mo’ili’ili. The
symbol on many gravestones that was
thought be a Buddhist sect symbol is actually
a Sanskrit symbol – related to Shingon
Buddhism.
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Brady, Spence. Hawaii’s ‘Dancing Goddess’ Prays for World
Peace. The Honolulu Advertiser. January 26, 1961.
Jabbour, Miller E. The Sect of Tensho-Kotai-Jingyu-Kyo: The
Emergence and Career of a Religious Movement. University of
Hawaii. August 1958.
Tensho Kotai Jingu Kyo. The Prophet of Tabuse. Tabuse,
Yamaguchi Pref., Japan. 1954.
"Amitābha and Amitāyus." Visible Mantra. Jayarava, 2009.
Web. <http://www.visiblemantra.org/amitabha.html>.

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