Of the 112,000 people in Hawai‘i who identify themselves as Buddhists, approximately 20,000 are members of Japanese temples. The remaining 92,000 people belong to other Buddhist organizations, or simply think of themselves as being Buddhists without any ties to a specific group. In the United States as a whole, over 2.2 million people are Buddhists, which means that Hawai‘i’s Buddhist population makes up only 5 percent of the Buddhists nationwide.
These statistics clearly demonstrate that there is a huge Buddhist community outside of Japanese Buddhist congregations in our state and nation, and any discussion about Buddhism’s place in our society needs to be set in this wider context.
This is exactly what will happen at the Hawai‘i Book and Music Festival, set for Saturday and Sunday, April 30 and May 1, on the Honolulu Civic Center grounds. On May 1, 19 panelists will explore diverse aspects of the Buddhist community in Hawai‘i. Co-sponsored by the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities and BDK Hawai‘i, each of the following panels will begin with comments from the panelists. The audience will then be invited to participate in an informal, talk-story exploration of the many, sometimes surprising, facets of Buddhism in Hawai‘i.
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