The Hilo Hongwanji Buddhist Women’s Association’s annual Shinnen Enkai (New Year’s party) and general membership meeting on Feb. 10 at the Sangha Hall focused on the theme “Path of Entrusting: Live the Teachings.”
Guest speaker was Akiko Masuda, owner and hostess of Akiko’s Buddhist Bed & Breakfast in Wailea. She is also an author, a story teller and is president of the Wailea Village Historic Preservation Committee. Her stories of her adventures on Shikoku Island many years ago had the audience mesmerized. Formerly of Oahu, she is a third-generation Japanese American and has lived in Wailea since 1991.
Annette Green served as mistress of ceremonies. Installation of officers for 2013-2014 was conducted by Rimban Jeffrey Soga: President Lillie Tsuchiya; first Vice President Ruby Maekawa; second Vice President Carole Tsutsumi; Recording Secretary Lani Yamami; assistant Recording Secretary Barbara Fujimoto; Corresponding Secretary Sue Okunami; Treasurer Lillian Watanabe; assistant Treasurer Jane Miyasaki and auditors Amy Ban, Nancy Nakaishi and Nanette Hiraoka.
New members of the BWA Board are Fumiko Dakujaku, Debra Fried, Pat Hakoda, Bessie Kubo, Leslie Nakamura and Grace Tomosada.
Ellen Okano, immediate past president, and Carol Tsutsumi, immediate past secretary, co-chaired the event.
The organization was was founded 106 years ago as the Shinshu Fujinkai. In 1908, the name was changed to Bukkyo Fujinkai, and in 2004, the group became known as the Hilo Hongwanji Buddhist Women’s Association.
Contributions made by the BWA to the temple have been substantial financially, as well as in service. Among these, was a $250,000 donation toward the building of the Sangha Hall. Currently, garage sales are held annually, helping the wome’s group to make substantial monetary contributions toward minor and major projects. These include the recent refurbishing of the temple altar for $58,000, as well as $55,000 earmarked for the pending structure for the temple bell.
In addition, members contribute their time in temple cleaning, visitation and sewing of aprons and blankets at long-term care facilities. Members also cook for the Peanut Butter Ministry monthly, and participate in many islandwide activities, regional and world conventions.
“BWA’s lifelong dedication to living the Dharma has extended far beyond the kitchen and temple compound into the larger community,” said a Hongwanji spokesman.
Call President Lillie Tsuchiya at 935-2266; temple office, 961-6677; or check the website, www.hilobetsuin.org, for more information or to join the Hilo Hongwanji BWA.