Renowned Budhist Scholar to Speak in Waimea

Author and esteemed religious scholar Dr. Mark Unno returns to Hawai’i for a two-part presentation series Monday, June 25 at Puna Hongwanji Mission and Tuesday, June 25 at the Kamuela Hongwanji Mission.  Admission is free and the general public is enthusiastically welcome.

Dr. Mark Unno

“Everybody will be able to understand, regardless of age, regardless of religious background,” said Unno.  “It is applicable more broadly to life itself – without a lot of technical jargon.”  According to Unno, the core of Shin Buddhism deals less with the monastic life, and more with the “lay path” of everyday people, much of which is unexpected and unplanned.   “It is not just intellectual; it applies to the whole being: body, heart and mind,” said Unno.

On Monday, June 25 at 6 p.m., Dr. Unno will speak on the “Buddhist Path of Peace: Inner and Outer Transformation” at the Puna Hongwanji in Keaau.  “How you approach peace is just as important as what you do,” said Unno. “It’s like surfing in a way.  It’s not the concept of surfing – it’s the feeling:  feeling for the waves, the thoughts, the emotions, shapes sounds and sights… We are of the ocean; we come from the ocean.  We want to connect, blend with the ocean – dive down deep, and feel the deeper flow.”

“The Crooked Path of Life – Unfolding of Boundless Compassion” will be discussed by Dr. Unno on Tuesday, June 26 at 7 p.m. at the Kamuela Hongwanji on Church Row.  “We would like to be able to take a straight path to success, but life often takes unexpected pathways that lead us in different directions,” he said. “Yet, we often find that the most unexpected turns in life bear the most remarkable treasures, treasures of the heart, of boundless compassion.”

Mark Unno is Associate Professor of Japanese Buddhism in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Oregon and received his Ph.D. from Stanford University, and his B.A. from Oberlin College. His research is in Classical Japanese Buddhism, in particular Zen Buddhism and Pure Land Buddhism. He is the author of Shingon Refractions: Myoe and the Mantra of Light (2004) and the editor of Buddhism and Psychotherapy Across Cultures (2006). He teaches courses on Asian Religions, Classical Japanese Buddhism, and Comparative Religion. He lives in Eugene with his wife Megumi and their two cats, Onyx and Taata.

“Cats in many ways are just like people,” said Unno, “They have many of the same foibles and hang-ups, but also wisdom and humor.”

Unno has visited Hawai’i many times and spoken in at least 20 temples since 1989, always very well-received.  “There is a great response in Hawai’i,” said Unno.  “People in Hawai’i have the aloha spirit – their hearts are open.”

Admission is free and open to everyone regardless of religious or spiritual background.  Programs begin at 7 p.m., followed by time for questions and answer, and light refreshments.

For information about Dr. Unno’s presentations, please call the Kamuela Hongwanji Mission at 885-4481 or the Puna Hongwanji Mission, 966-9981.  The presentations are made possible by the Buddhist Study Center of Honolulu, Hawai’i with support of the Peace Committee of the Honokaa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, producers of the annual Parade & Festival for the United Nations International Day of Peace. (

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