As you know Queen Liliuokani accepted and protected the religions and cultures that came from abroad. It is because of the Queen that we Japanese and Japanese-Americans can live in peace in Hawaii. Moreover, we Hawaiian Buddhists were also protected by the Queen. It is also thanks to the Queen that many temples exist in Hawaii.
The basic teaching of Buddhism is tolerance and acceptance. No matter what the circumstances of a person, we seek to accept them with a broad-mind. Furthermore, the mission of Buddhism is to worship the life of a person and to respect human diversity. In that regard, we can say that the Queen personified Buddhism. We can also say that the Queen was a person who lived her life with the spirit of Buddhism in the true sense. Here, as a Japanese Buddhist priest, I offer the Queen my deep respect and gratitude.
As mentioned, Buddhism is a religion that worships the life of people. Human beings cannot create life. Life is given to us by the Buddha. All humankind is receiving the life of the same value from the Universe. This is the fundamental teaching of Buddhism. Buddhism is a religion that worships the life that resides within us.
All human beings have a common wish. All people seek happiness and wish to avoid pain. This is the basis of a human being and a human being’s primary condition. The secondary condition is “my country,” “my religion,” “my culture,” “my language” and so forth. These are called diversity. To respect human life and to understand our diversity is indeed the way of Buddhism.
Hawaii is a place where respect for diversity is generally being rooted. Here and there the Aloha spirit can be found. The word “Aloha” means the “dignity of life.” “Alo” means “what has come before,” “in front,” and “ha” means “life” and “breath.” “Aloha” is a spirit of worshipping the life of a person.” And Aloha is manifesting the mind of Buddhism.
I believe that it was truly because of the life of Queen Liliokalani that the spirit of Aloha could exist here in Hawaii until today. Hawaii exists because of the Queen’s life.
Namu Myoho Renge Kyo