Approaching the Sacred: Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawai‘i Exhibition

Via News from University of Hawai‘i Press.

An exhibition of Japanese Buddhist temple objects and furnishings will be on display at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i community gallery from December 1, 2012 through February 22, 2013. The show is curated by professors emeriti George and Willa Tanabe, based on their new book, Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawai‘i: An Illustrated Guide. The book serves a dual role as the exhibition catalog as well as a colorful visitors’ guidebook to the 90 extant temples in the islands.

The Tanabes will also be leading a series of Saturday tours to selected temples on December 8, January 19, January 26, and February 9.

Details below the cut:

Location: Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai`i Community Gallery

From: December 1, 2012 at 10:00am to: Friday, February 22, 2013 at 4:00pm

Details:

Approaching the Sacred: Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawai‘i
Community Gallery Exhibition
December 1 – February 22
(Open Monday-Saturday; 10:00 am – 4:00 pm)

Opening Reception
Saturday, December 1
11:30 am

Upon entering a Japanese Buddhist temple in Hawai‘i, most people—whether they are first-time visitors or lifelong members—can easily feel overwhelmed by the elaborate and complex display of golden ornaments, intricately carved altars, images of venerable masters, serene buddhas, angry deities, and mythic animals. These objects, as well as the architectural elements of the temple itself, have meanings that are often hidden in ancient symbolisms.

Look closely, for example, at an altar table, and you might see a bird with two heads. You might also notice that the handles of an incense burner are formed by dragons, one with its mouth open, the other with it closed. Unless we know how to decipher this special graphic language, we will miss what they are trying to tell us. Temples are ornate because each detail is trying to tell us something, convey a message, a lesson, a story.

In order to help people decipher the meanings embedded in temples, George and Willa Tanabe have written Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawai‘i: An Illustrated Guide, published by the University of Hawai‘i Press (October 2012). The book covers all of the remaining Japanese Buddhist temples in the state, 90 sites in all, and describes each temple in detail with an eye for special, made-in-Hawai‘i features.

With the support of a generous grant from The Hiroaki, Elaine & Lawrence Kono Foundation, and with the cooperation of the Hawai‘i Buddhist Council, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i is sponsoring an exhibition of temple furnishings at the JCCH gallery. The exhibition consists of a wide range of objects that temples have generously agreed to make available for public display, most of them for the first time. As curators of the show, we have selected items for their intrinsic beauty, symbolic meanings, and historical significance. All of the major Japanese Buddhist denominations will be represented.

The exhibition runs from December 1 – February 22, 2013. The opening reception will held on Saturday, December 1 at 11:30 am. This event will also be the official launch of the guidebook.

Japanese Buddhist Temple Tours
Sponsored by Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, The Hiroaki, Elaine & Lawrence Kono Foundation, and the Hawai‘i Buddhist Council.

Join George and Willa Tanabe on a tour of some of the most prominent temples in Honolulu, and gain a better understanding of the rich symbols and meanings embedded in their architectures and sanctuaries.

Cost per person per tour (includes admission to JCCH Historical Gallery)
Non-member:  $25
JCCH Member: $20
Limited Seating

Check-in: 8:45 am
Temple Tour: 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Exhibition viewing/discussion: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Saturday, December 8, 2012
Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai‘i
Nichiren Mission of Hawai‘i
Jodo Mission of Hawai‘i

Saturday, January 19, 2013
Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai‘i
Nichiren Mission of Hawai‘i
Jodo Mission of Hawai‘i

Saturday, January 26, 2013
Jodo Mission of Hawai‘i
Nichiren Mission of Hawai‘i
Soto Mission of Hawai‘i

Saturday, February 9, 2013
Jodo Mission of Hawai‘i
Nichiren Mission of Hawai‘i
Soto Mission of Hawai‘i

For reservations or more information, please call (808) 945-7633 Ext. 28 or email info@jcch.comClick here for registration form.

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