Historic Hāna Gakuen Hongwanji Temple reopens Sept. 9 with Bon Dance celebration

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Reprinted from Maui Now  where you can also listen to this article

By Wendy Osher
September 6, 2023 · 9:30 PM HST

The East Maui community of Hāna celebrates the reopening of the historic Hāna Gakuen Hongwanji Buddhist Temple on Sept. 9, 2023, with a Bon Dance as part of the celebration.

The event will pay homage to the rebirth of the temple while raising funds for the Japanese temples destroyed in the Lahaina blaze.

“It is our sincere hope that our island community may see this event as a bright light in a dark time. If this rebirth could somehow be a guiding beacon of positivity and renaissance then our mission will be realized,” organizers said.

The temple was built in 1940 by Japanese Buddhist immigrants. In 2014 a group of concerned citizens stepped in to save the building, which had fallen into disrepair. A small group began doing what it could—eventually completing a renovation including all new structural elements as well as the restoration of elegantly carved ornamental elements.

The day’s events include the temple’s fifth Hāna Bon dance with the blessing at 4:30 p.m., food at 5 p.m., and Maui Taiko starting at 6 p.m. This is the final Bon dance of the season on Maui.

Organizers are seeking sponsors to match funds raised at the event by silent auction and donation boxes (osai sen bako). Contact the temple via email at hanabuddhisttemple@gmail.com to become a matching funds sponsor.