Tibetan monk shares journey building new Buddhist community

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WEST HAWAII — Reverend Sonam Wangdi Bhutia, a Tibetan monk and founder of Nepal’s first Hongwanji Buddhist temple, helped create a thriving new Buddhist community in Kathmandu. This Saturday and Sunday, he will talk about his dramatic personal journey in three Hawaii Island locations as part of the Buddhist Study Center’s 40-year-old summer education series.

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WEST HAWAII — Reverend Sonam Wangdi Bhutia, a Tibetan monk and founder of Nepal’s first Hongwanji Buddhist temple, helped create a thriving new Buddhist community in Kathmandu. This Saturday and Sunday, he will talk about his dramatic personal journey in three Hawaii Island locations as part of the Buddhist Study Center’s 40-year-old summer education series.

The presentations are free and will begin at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Kona Hongwanji. On Sunday, he will speak at 10 a.m. at Paauilo Hongwanji, followed by his final talk at 2 p.m. at Puna Hongwanji. Each event will be followed by time for questions and answers, and informal receptions to meet Rev. Bhutia.

Raised in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition from age three and advancing into its highest ranks, Bhutia took a different path at age 28, when he encountered the Pure Land tradition of Jodo Shinshu. Pure Land, a simplified school of Buddhist thought, began in India in the 2nd century, and was refined by Shinran Shonin in the 12th century as Jodo Shinshu.

The practice of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism focuses on faith, trust and a personal relationship with Amitabha Buddha, with the chanting of his name as an expression of gratitude.

Rev. Bhutia will also speak about how the story of the Buddha is resonating today with young adults in Nepal, the birthplace of Shakyamuni — Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.

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The presentations are hosted by the Four Temples Association — Honokaa, Kamuela, Kohala and Paauilo Hongwanji Buddhist Temples, in partnership with the Buddhist Churches of America — Center for Buddhist Education, in association with Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii — Buddhist Studies Center, Midwest Buddhist Temple in Chicago, New York Buddhist Church and American Buddhist Study Center.

For more information, and to RSVP, contact Mayette Drake, by phone or text at 937-2901 or email ad31088@yahoo.com.

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