HONOLULU, May 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today marks the 15th annual Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony, one of the largest and most moving Memorial Day observances in the United States. At sunset, more than 5,000 candle-lit lanterns bearing remembrances and prayers illuminated the ocean off of Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu with tens of thousands of people in attendance. The Lantern Floating Hawaii theme is "Many Rivers, One Ocean," and is officiated by Her Holiness Shinso Ito, Head Priest of Shinnyo-en, an international Buddhist community. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, the Honorary Chair of Lantern Floating Hawaii, attended the ceremony along with Governor Neil Abercrombie and Colonel Daniel Whitney, Commander of U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii.
Shinnyo-en first brought this contemporary adaptation of an ancient Buddhist fire and water ceremony to Hawaii in 1999. The ceremony was designed to help participants remember and honor those who have passed on, and to awaken compassion for all life – past, present and future. Shinnyo-en and Na Lei Aloha Foundation, their local partner, have nurtured the lantern floating into a community event that promotes cross-cultural cooperation, understanding, harmony and peace, engaging hundreds of volunteers and thousands of participants annually. The Shinnyo lantern floating ceremony has brought together more than 40,000 residents of Hawaii and visitors from around the world. At the conclusion of each event, all the lanterns are collected from the ocean and refurbished for use in the future.
This fall Shinnyo-en will bring a Lantern Floating for Peace to Central Park in New York City on September 22, 2013.
Shinnyo-en is an international Buddhist community dedicated to helping people realize greater self-awareness, happiness, and harmony for the good of humanity. Shinnyo-en began in 1936 as a community rooted in Shingon Buddhism, a lineage started in Japan more than 1,100 years ago. Shinnyo-en's founder, Master Shinjo Ito, was trained in the Shingon Buddhist Daigo School and worked to adapt the practice made available to monks. Shinnyo-en became an independent denomination in the 1940s. For more information, visit www.shinnyoen.org.
About Her Holiness Shinso Ito
Her Holiness Shinso Ito (born April 25, 1942), the Head Priest of Shinnyo-en, embodies the principles of Shinnyo Buddhism and leads the community of close to one million practitioners. Shinso Ito trained under Master Shinjo, Founder of Shinnyo-en, and is one of his few disciples who completed the Shinnyo Samaya Rite. When Shinjo Ito passed away in 1989, Shinso Ito became his successor. She is one of the few women to be granted the title of daisojo, the highest priestly rank in Japanese Buddhism.