Peace Tower

The fact is that the Honolulu Myohoji was built as a peace tower. The Myohoji was originally not built as a church. Please remember this fact. Bishop Kobayashi and his followers worked to build in Honolulu, Hawaii, a unique peace tower that was based on the teachings of the Lotus Sutra. The Myohoji was originally built not as a temple like the other many temples in Honolulu, which were built as fellowship facilities for the Japanese and their descendants. While the external appearance of the Myohoji seems to be a temple, the truth is that it must be a tower.

What is the purpose of that tower? It must be a symbol of peace for Hawaii. Are there symbols of peace in Hawaii and in Honolulu? I believe that you will not them elsewhere. That is why, the Myohoji, which is close to downtown, the center of Honolulu, must be a symbol of peace. It is a tower for the sake of world peace. I believe that this is the wish of Bishop Kobayashi.

Ancestor worship and Japanese cultural activities are important. Nevertheless, we must ask ourselves if these were the true reasons for Myohoji’s existence in Hawaii. Before anything else, the Myohoji must be a temple that conveys the mind of peace.

Moreover, the meaning of peace must be taught through Buddhism. The fundamental teaching of Buddhism is ahimsa. To never kill. This is Buddhism. The religion that gives life to human beings is Buddhism.

I hope that all of you, who are related to Honolulu Myohoji, will live as symbols of peace for society. The Myohoji is not an ordinary temple. Until a few years ago, the original figure of Myohoji, of being a symbol of peace, had been forgotten.

What is important is that the wish to build the peace tower was held by Bishop Kobayashi and the first generation of Japanese in Hawaii before the start of the Second World War. Nevertheless, in the course of building the tower they were confined in internment camps.

It is because of their hardships that we can live in the peaceful Hawaii of today. The hope for peace has not changed eighty years ago and even today. We are always seeking peace. Nevertheless, there are still countries that rely on military force.

Yet peace must not end as an ideal. We must hold an absolute idea of building a peaceful America and peaceful world. Our Myohoji must be a place that transmits the mind of peace. We must seriously think about why Myohoji exists in Hawaii, the center of the Pacific, and in the capital of Hawaii, Honolulu, and near downtown, which is the center of Honolulu.

Prepared by Rev. Takamasa Yamamura. Translated by Mr. Dean Makinodan.