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Steve Murray

Haleiwa To Celebrate Its Buddhist History, Culture In Hawaii

Buddhist culture takes center stage at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Waialua Hongwanji Mission, sponsored and presented by the North Shore Chamber of Commerce’s Historic Preservation Committee.

It will feature a film screening, an illustrated talk, book signings and light refreshments.

The program begins at 6 p.m. with the showing of the documentary Aloha Buddha, The Story of Japanese Buddhism in Hawaii along with a special appearance by the film’s producer Lorraine Mina-toishi Palumbo. Palumbo did her doctoral dissertation on Japanese temple architecture in Hawaii and for more than a decade has worked to raise awareness about the temples. Aloha Buddha details the origins of Buddhism in the Islands, its growth to become the dominant religion in the state, its later decline and its possible resurgence.

The program is part of a series of historical events the chamber puts on three times each year. Recent programs have featured the history of surfing, North Shore aviation and the works of famed architect Theodore Vierra, whose creative handprint is on everything from simple family homes to Honolulu International Airport and Haleiwa’s Liliuokalani Protestant Church.

“The North Shore Chamber of Commerce is a hybrid that promotes area business and protecting our history,” said executive director Antya Miller. “One of the main reasons Haleiwa is so popular is that it’s one of the last plantation towns that is still mostly intact. It was deemed a special historic and scenic district by the county.

“The fact that the town in unique is why visitors like to come here and why it is marketed so much by the visitor industry.”

Also in attendance will be Waialua residents George and Willa Tanabe, who will give an illustrated presentation of their recently published book, Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawaii: An Illustrated Guide (2012).

It details the 90 existing Japanese Buddhist temples in Hawaii. Their talk will pay specific attention to the temples in the Waialua district, including their history, description of architecture, sanctuaries, ritual implements and grounds.

The Tanabes are professors emeritus at the University of Hawaii in the religion (George) and art history (Willa) departments.

A suggested donation of $5 will be collected. For details or to RSVP – to insure you get a seat – call 637-4558 or go to gonorthshore.org.

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