Daifukuji roughly translates as “temple of great happiness.” The Daifukuji Soto Mission is located in Honalo, about 8 miles north on Hwy 11 from us, and K is very happy to have found it.
The temple was founded in 1914 and formerly served as the hub of the Japanese immigrant community of South Kona. Now, like the rest of Hawai'i, it is multiethnic and multicultural. When K first attended a morning zazen session, he was surprised to find Japanese in the minority.
Though Buddhism is a growing religion in the US, the world of American Zen is still a relatively small one. Not only was the resident priest, Rev. Jiko, familiar with the Ann Arbor temple where K practiced, but members of his sangha (including the priest, Rev. Haju Sunim!) had visited Daifukuji when they were on Big Island.
The Buddhist Society for Compassionate Wisdom practices in the Korean Chogye tradition and Daifukuji is Japanese Soto Zen, but all the important parts are very similar. The slight differences in ritual and liturgy do not distract from the dedicated practice of meditation. Last week was K's first visit, but he hopes to attend regular service while he is on the island.
Prior to K's attending service, we did visit the temple as tourists a few weeks ago. It's a beautiful modern temple with ornate altars honoring Shakyamuni Buddha and Avalokiteshvara among others. It also has a lending library for temple members.