Byodo-In Temple - Oahu
Backstory and Context
Buddhism is a religion that was founded by Siddhartha Gautama (“the Buddha”) more than 2,500 years ago in India. Buddhism is considered by scholars to be one of the world’s major religions with about 47million followers worldwide. Throughout history, this religion has been the most prominent in East and Southeast Asia, but the influence that Buddhism holds has moved its way over to the western world. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies.
Those who follow the teachings of Buddhism, unlike those in other religions, do not acknowledge a supreme God or Deity. The focus of Buddhism is instead on achieving enlightenment. The meaning of enlightenment is a state of inner peace. Even the founder of this religion is not considered a God, although the name Buddha means enlightened. But on the other side, some scholars do not recognize Buddhism as an organized religion. These scholars look at Buddhism as more of a “way of life” of “spiritual tradition.”
The Byodo-In temple in O’ahu Hawaii is only one of a handful of Buddhist temples that are in Hawaii. But contrary to belief, the Byodo-In temple is not an active Buddhist temple. This means that this temple does not host a resident monastic community, nor does it host an active congregation. Inside of the Byodo-In temple is an 18ft tall statue of the Lotus Buddha (a wooden statue of Amitābha). Amitābha is one of many celestial Buddha.
In 1968, the Valley of Temples Memorial Park constructed a replica of the 11th century Phoenix Hall of the Byodo-In temple in Uji, Japan. With the Byodo-In temple in Hawaii being a replica (half-scale model) of the temple in Japan, the Hawaii Byodo-In temple was built in the traditional Japanese style with no nails. Instead the wooden beams of the temple were put together like a puzzle. The Byodo-In temple in Hawaii was constructed to commemorate the 100th university of the first Japanese immigrants that came from Japan to work in Hawaii. The construction of this temple in Hawaii took nearly 3 years to finish, as well as around $2.6 million.
Like the temple that it is replicated from, the floor plan for the Byodo-In temple in Hawaii resembles the shape of a bird. The hall that the Byodo-In temple in Hawaii is called the Phoenix Hall. The Byodo-In temple consists of one main temple building and two smaller side wings, along with a wing corridor that is attached to the main building. This hall in Hawaii is called the Hoodo Hall, or Hall of the Chinese Phoenix.
To enter and enjoy the abundant sites that the Byodo-In temple has to offer there is a fee that you pay. There is a fee for adults and a fee for children for admission to go through the main gate of the temple. With your money, you get to explore the koi ponds, ring the Peace bell that is located inside the temple gate, relax in the meditation pavilion, and go inside and get a close up view of the Lotus Buddha statue.
An interesting fact about the Byodo-In temple in Hawaii is that it has been featured in many T.V series. Some of the series that the Byodo-In temple has been featured in include, Hawaii Five-O and Magnum P.I. The temple also appeared in an episode of the series Lost as a stand in for South Korea. One movie that the temple made an appearance in was the 2001 Pearl Harbor movie as a replica of the Byodo-In temple located in Japan.
Byodo-In. The Byodo-In Temple, Byodo-In Temple Hawaii. April 11th 2017. Accessed October 14th 2019. https://www.byodo-in.com.
History.com Editors. Buddhism, HISTORY. October 12th 2017. Accessed October 17th 2019. https://www.history.com/topics/religion/buddhism.