Thursday, April 1, 2010

Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai'i


On Friday, February 12, 2010, the 98th Annual Legislative Assembly of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii approved a resolution in support of equal rights for same-gender couples.
"Members of our Sangha (congregation) believe we should share our perspective on this important issue," said President Alton Miyamoto. "We want to share our Buddhist values of Universal Compassion, Equality and Interdependence with the larger community. We believe this issue is a matter of civil rights. We affirm the human dignity and worth of all people and that everyone deserves equal treatment within our society."
Over 100 delegates and observers from 36 temples across the State of Hawaii convened at the state headquarters located at 1727 Pali Highway. The Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii is a Shin Buddhist community which celebrated its 120th Anniversary in Hawaii in 2009. The Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii is the largest Buddhist denomination in Hawaii.
"Our primary goal as Buddhists is to awaken to the spiritual truth of interdependence and equality," said Bishop Thomas R. Okano. "To truly realize interdependence we need to become aware of the inherent interconnectedness with others and develop a profound sense of compassion and responsibility for the welfare of all beings. In Buddhism, the ideal is Universal Compassion. If it's good for one person, it must be good for another. Equality is of prime importance."


 WHEREAS, the Dharma (universal teachings) provides guidance on how to live
mindfully with an awareness of universal compassion which embraces and uplifts each and every
person; and
 WHEREAS, in order to truly realize universal compassion, we need to cultivate a
profound sense of responsibility for the welfare of all beings; and
 WHEREAS, the Buddhist ideal of universal compassion does not discriminate between
good and evil, young and old, rich and poor, gay and straight; and 
 WHEREAS, Buddhism affirms the inherent worth and dignity of all persons independent
of gender; and
 WHEREAS, families today are composed of many combinations and what connects
individuals as a family is a conscious commitment to share in the responsibilities of life; and
 WHEREAS, the Dharma (universal teachings) affirms and celebrates human expressions
of love and partnership, guiding us to strive for responsible, faithful, and committed relationships
that recognize and respect the Buddha-nature (potential for Enlightenment) in all people; and
 WHEREAS, Shakyamumi Buddha, the founding teacher of Buddhism, encouraged
people to carefully reflect on all situations and to find truth for themselves by teaching that all
beliefs, even the Buddha's own words, should not be accepted unless they have been tested
through objective observation, careful logical analysis and positive life experiences; and
 WHEREAS, Shinran Shonin, the founder of Shin Buddhism, affirmed the inherent
equality among all people whose lives are karmically (causally) bound and interconnected by
teaching that the great Wisdom and Compassion of Amida (ultimate reality) embraces all beings
equally and unconditionally without exception; and
 WHEREAS, some Shin Buddhist ministers and Sangha (congregations) have held
commitment services to honor the relationships of gay and lesbian couples for some time; and
 WHEREAS, the rights of same-gender couples is an issue deserving of serious and
mindful discussion by faith communities; NOW, THEREFORE,
  BE IT RESOLVED, that the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, a Shin Buddhist
organization, affirms that same-gender couples should have access to equal rights and quality of
life as conferred by legally recognized marriage; and
 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that same-gender unions shall be considered equal to
opposite-gender unions in ceremonies officiated by its ministers; and 
 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii shall
pursue opportunities through which its members, friends and the general public can better
understand Shin Buddhist teachings in relation to same-gender unions; and 
 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution be transmitted to all
temples and organizations affiliated with the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, other
Buddhist organizations in Hawaii, the Governor of the State of Hawaii, members of the Hawaii
State Legislature, and members of the Hawaii news media.  

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