Kaua`i Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji hosted their annual Bon Festival June 28 and 29 in Hanapepe. During summer, each of the island’s Buddhist Missions hosts one.

The Bon-odori, Bon dances are one aspect of a series of events that collectively define Bon Festival season. The Buddhist tradition of obon has its roots in an Indian legend. During meditation, one of Buddha’s disciples saw his deceased mother reborn among the Hungry Ghosts of Hell for having denied eating meat one time. She was eternally damned to hanging upside down over food and water. Having paid his mother’s penance through a diligent practice of compassion and charity, Buddha’s disciple gained enough merit to free his mother from the netherworld. Upon return to the world of the living, she danced for joy holding a bon ‘round tray’ heaped with food. Thus was born the revelry of dance, music, food and games that reunite family, friends and the spirits of the dead during obon season.

IF1: Reverend Shuji Komagata delivers the Bon service

IF2: Temple members light incense for the departed

IF3: Makena Lawton of O`ahu

IF4: Mother and daughter join the dancers

IF5: Kylie Taniguchi of Kalaheo gives Sean Reith of Hanapepe a prize

IF6: Haley Okomoto of Ele`ele and Julia Hirano of Hanapepe (behind) with Kate Nakamura of Lihu`e

IF7: Leilani and Rachele Higashi with Josie Higashi-Sasaki of Kekaha
IF8: Taiko Kaua`i plays opening ceremony for dancers

IF9: Kaua`i Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji