The Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Buddhist Women’s Association has schedule a church service to celebrate the lives of Lady Eshinni and Kakushinni, wife and daughter, respectively, of Shinran Shonin, founder of the Jodo Shinshu sect of Buddhism. The event will be at 9 a.m. on Sunday, April 27, at the temple at 398 Kilauea Ave. in Hilo. Rimban Jeffrey Soga will officiate.
Eshinni was born in Niigata Prefecture and married Shinran Shonin in 1210. Little is known about her except for the 10 letters she wrote to her daughter during the waning years of her life. These letters were discovered in the archives at the mother temple of the Jodo Shinshu sect in Kyoto, Japan in 1921. The letters uncovered much about her life and Shinran’s as well. Eshinni died at age 89 in Niigata prefecture.
As Eshinni is revered for her dedication to Shinran during his productive years, Kakushinni is known for being her father’s caregiver in his final years. She was about 30 years old when Shinran died at the age of 90. And, after Shinran’s death, Kakushinni is revered for planting the seeds that were to grow into today’s Hongwanji.
Ten years after Shinran’s passing, Kakushinni built a memorial hall for his remains, and established the means for insuring the hall and the property it was built on would belong to the Jodo Shinshu Sangha in all future generations. A monument stands in front of the Butsuden (Hondo) at the Ohtani Mausoleum to pay tribute to Kakushinni’s contributions.
In 1978, the World BWA (comprised of BWA organizations of Japan, mainland U.S.A., Hawaii, Canada, and Brazil), while meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil, passed a resolution to conduct annual services in memory of Eshinni. In 2002, the World BWA passed a resolution to similarly honor Kakushinni.
The Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin Buddhist Women’s Association is presently led by President Lillie Tsuchiya. The public is invited to attend the service. For more information, call the temple office at 961-6677.