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The Early Pioneers


Following the auspicious visit of Dudjom Rinpoche, they began searching for a suitable location for a temple and meditation center for Nechung Rinpoche. At the University of Hawai'i in Hilo, they met an anthropologist named Dr. William Bonk. It so happened that Dr. Bonk had just completed a research paper on abandoned Buddhist temples and Chinese tong societies on the Big Island.

Kapapala Mission (Wood Valley Temple) circa 1955, Donald Shintaku

Kapapala Mission (Wood Valley Temple) circa 1955, Donald Shintaku

He told them of the temple in Wood Valley which had been abandoned when Ka'u Sugar closed down an adjacent camp for cane workers.Since the Nichiren Mission had not been active for some years, a sublease was given to the Vajra Sangha, a non-profit organization set up for the purpose of sponsoring Nechung Rinpoche and channeling the funds for the temple restoration.Restoration on the temple buildings began in November of 1973 and the initial phase was completed a year later. Fund raising efforts were organized in Honolulu for the cause. These included the Diamond Head Crater Festival and the Manoa Valley Pops Festival, with local musicians and groups.


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