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

Alicia Fung
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
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
Main branch was formed in Mo’ili’ili
◦ Mr. Takeyoshi Hirai (A tailor)
2716 S. King St
Honolulu, HI
Gather weekly in living room of his
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
Supposed to give
supernatural insight
into universe
Prayers have power
to “redeem all evil
Efficacy carries on
into daily life
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
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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