About Us

Mission Statement

Having been awakened to the Compassion of Amida Buddha's Universal Vow (Namo Amida Butsu) and rejoicing in the assurance of Buddhahood, we gratefully endeavor to live a life of service to others.


Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin is recognized as a non-profit, tax-exempt, charitable subordinate organization to the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, an ecclesiastical and educational corporation established in Hawaii. Hilo Betsuin’s operations are primarily supported by membership fees, earned service income, rental fees, a charitable contributions from individuals.

The first Buddhist temple ever built in the Hawaiian Islands was erected in Hilo, Hawaii about 130 years ago. That temple, the Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin, originally built on land now known as Mooheau Park, is currently located on about four acres at 398 Kilauea Avenue in Hilo. The temple today is considered a major Hilo landmark and social hub.

Today the temple serves about 500 family members, and has fed thousands of hungry and needy over the years. In addition, Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin contributes thousands of dollars throughout the year to help people recover from natural disasters locally and internationally.

When it was first erected, the temple was a place to practice the Jodo Shinshu religion while filling the Japanese cultural void experienced by the original Japanese immigrants. Throughout history, the temple’s mission and vision has remained: to adore the compassion of Amida Buddha, share the Jodo Shinshu teaching and realize the Sangha (community of the faithful) by gratefully rendering loving service to others.

That service includes the support of critical social outreaches, provision of highly utilized community gathering spaces, sponsorship of community organizations and efforts, provision of cultural education classes, community cultural events, and early education.

Services are held weekly on Sunday with the Family Dharma service beginning at 9:00 a.m. Dharma School classes immediately following the Family Dharma Service.

Ministerial Staff

Rimban Shindo Nishiyama

Happy New Year and Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu for everyone!

I hope that everyone had a peaceful and memorable 2018 with your family and friends. I would like to express my deepest appreciation to all volunteers and members for your kindness, support, monetary donations and dedication to our Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin Ohana in 2018. Seen or unseen, many people were working hard to show their Aloha to our Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin. I am grateful that our Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin is blessed with many wonderful members and volunteers who help us always.

Now, Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin is facing a new challenge due to aging temple buildings and also the new developed plan for the Hilo Betsuin Preschool building. I strongly believe that with your support and understanding our Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin will be a stronger and more sustainable place for our communities or the teachings of Buddha. I humbly ask for your continuing support for our capital fundraising project.

Finally, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to our immediate past president, Dr. Keith Yamakawa for his leadership and wise guidance to organize our Ohana in peace and harmony. I have learned so many things from him which encouraged my ministry as your Rimban. To Dr. Keith Yamakawa and all Boards, Hontouni Arigato. I humbly bow my head in deep gratitude for your hard work for our Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin Ohana!

I am a very grateful that I have been able to meet everyone at our temple in my unrepeatable life and work together for our ‘Ohana and communities in the presence of Buddha’s Wisdom.

May the Amida Buddha’s Compassion always be with you in his name, Namo Amida Butsu. Have a peaceful and happy New Year 2019! Namoamidabutsu in Gassho,

Rimban Shindo Nishiyama

Rev. Daido Baba

Happy New Year to each one of you! Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu.

First of all, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to all of you who supported our Hilo Betsuin and attended the Hilo Betsuin Sunday services and activities last year. Even if you couldn’t come to temple, Mahalo for reading the Buddhist Wheel every month. I hope you received the essence of the Nembutsu teaching this past year to live gratefully.

As you know, since last May, I am living in the Rimban’s residence which is the big house next to the main temple. It goes without saying that my kids are really happy to have more space to play with their toys. For my wife and me, fortunately, we have more space to clean-up. I also have much more responsibility to take care of the temple when Rimban is absent. Thank you for your understanding about this unusual situation. We, ministers, are trying to create a comfortable atmosphere for you.

This year, 2019, we are celebrating the 130th anniversary of Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii and Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin. As one of the special activities, our Dharma School plans to visit Nishi-Hongwanji in Kyoto, Japan, and enjoy touring other parts of Japan. I am excited to take our Dharma school children to Japan. I believe they will have an awesome experience in June. Because of our ancestors, old members and present members, we are able to enjoy this precious life with Namo Amida Butsu.

Now it is our turn to share our Nembutsu Path by spreading the joy of life. It doesn’t matter how old you are. You can share the joy in your own way and walk in peace together with others. I also look forward to talking with each one of you about your Nembutsu Path one day. Please don’t wait until you get old.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful year in 2019 embraced by Amida Buddha’s boundless Wisdom and Compassion.

In Gassho,

Rev. Daido Baba