Saturday, April 16, 2011

Oahu's Byodo-In Temple: Location, location, location

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The serrated ridge of the Ko'olou Mountains hovers over the Valley of the Temples on Oahu's Windward Coast, an inspiringly spiritual setting for the Byodo-In Buddhist Temple. Built in 1968 as a 100-year memorial to the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii, the ornate structure is a replica of a 1,000-year-old temple in Kyoto Japan. It's fronted by a large pond that is home to all sorts of water fowl, and the architecture is meant to portray a Phoenix rising from the ashes.

Inside a main room is the 18-foot tall Amida, the Buddha of the Western Paradise, gold-lacquered and seated in a lotus position. A tea house and gift shop are nearby. You are free to roam the 10-acre gardens that surround the temple. A gazebo houses a seven-foot bronze bell, the gonging of which, accompanied by a small donation, is said to rid the mind of evil temptations. Ah, were it that simple. See page 123 of Oahu Trailblazer for more on the Valley of the Temples and other sights along this non-touristy portion of the coast.