Founded in 1963, Valley of the Temples Memorial Park has served the community by providing a place of peace and serenity for loved ones.

From Japan to Hawaii: The Symbolism of the Byodo-In Temple

The Byodo-In Temple is a historic treasure that is beloved by history and architecture lovers from all over. Established in the 11th century, the Byodo-in temple has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. Although only a few structures of the original temple still remain, the Byodo-In Temple remains an important cultural site whose rich history and symbolism draw visitors from all over the world. The Byodo-In Temple is so well-loved that a smaller-scale replica was built in Hawaii’s Valley of the Temples Memorial Park in 1968. Here is a brief summary of the symbolic significance of the Byodo-In Temple.

Temple - Close Up

The Symbolism of the Temple

The Byodo-In Temple radiates spiritual significance. The original temple is best known for its depiction on the 10-yen coin, and the phoenix, the mythical bird of China. The structure of the Hoo-do hall—one of the two original structures still standing—was designed to look like the two outstretched wings of a phoenix. Within the temple visitors find the seated figure of Amida-Nyorai Buddha.

The Cultural Significance of Hawaii’s Byodo-in Temple

The Byodo-In Temple has become an important cultural symbol in both Japan and Hawaii. Located in the Ko’olau Mountains in the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, the Byodo-In replica temple was erected in 1968 to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. As a non-practicing Buddhist temple, the Byodo-In Temple is a sanctuary for people of all faiths. Popular among visitors from both Hawaii and Japan, the temple remains an important symbol of harmony and cultural exchange.

Visiting the Byodo-In Temple is the only way to truly appreciate the temple’s beauty and rich symbolism. If you want to learn more about the significance of the Byodo-In Temple both in Japan and Hawaii, call Valley of the Temples at (808) 239-8811.

The Iconography of Amida Buddha

Buddhism is a rich religion with that encompasses a variety of beliefs and practices. For instance, Amida Buddha represents just one depiction of Buddha. Amida Buddha can often be hard to distinguish from Buddha’s other forms. It is important to understand the difference, however, as Amida Buddha has unique cultural and religious significance. When seated, Amida Buddha is generally depicted in a meditative stance or touching the earth. In some cases, Amida Buddha is depicted as holding a lotus while in meditation. When standing, Amida Buddha is most frequently shown with the left thumb and forefinger touching and the right hand facing outwards.

Amitabha statue

When visitors enter the Byodo-In Temple, they find a statue of Amida Buddha seated. As the one who presides over paradise, Amida Buddha has special significance for those coping with loss. If you want to learn more about the iconography of Amida Buddha, call Valley of the Temples at (808) 239-8811.

A Guide to Proper Funeral Etiquette

Funerals are an opportunity for friends and family to cherish the memory of their loved one and mourn. For this reason it is important to make sure that you understand proper etiquette as a funeral guest.

In this video you will learn proper funeral etiquette. The main rule when attending a funeral is to be respectful. Being respectful will help maintain the ambience of the funeral and ensure that the friends and family of the deceased can mourn in peace. Even simple measures such as wearing the appropriate attire can show how much you care.

If you want to learn more about proper funeral etiquette, watch this video. For more information about laying your loved one to rest in a cemetery, call Valley of the Temples at (808) 239-8811.

A Brief Overview of Cremation Memorialization

Grief - Funeral and cemetery

 Practiced in East Asia for millennia, cremation has only recently grown popular in America. Today, it is the preferred by one in every three Americans. In Hawaii, nearly two-thirds of the population chooses cremation over burial. While the basics of the cremation process are widely known, fewer people are aware of the cremation memorialization options available to them. In additional to the traditional urn, individuals and families who plan their funerals with Valley of the Temples on Oahu have the following cremation memorialization options:

Byodo-In Temple Niche

As a site of reflection and spiritual healing, the Byodo-In Temple is an appropriate place for the interment of cremated remains. Holding up to six urns each, the glass-front niches housed in this Buddhist temple are a popular option for families.

Haka House Family Monument

Another option for families who wish to rest in peace together is a Haka House monument. Fully customizable, these stone monuments sit on prime real estate and boast commanding views of the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park.

Truesdale Memorial Mausoleum Niche

Truesdale Memorial Chapel is a very scenic final resting place. In addition to the entirety of the park, niches in the chapel’s mausoleum gaze out on the Koolau Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. When your loved ones come to honor your memory, they will have the perfect atmosphere for prayer and reflection.

Portable and Home Memorialization Options

When a person is cremated, she has the option of interring her remains at the memorial park. Alternatively, she can choose to have her ashes scattered, stored in a decorative urn, or divided among several jewelry pendants.

Today, more people are considering cremation as a viable alternative to burial. If you would like to learn more, call Valley of the Temples at (808) 239-8811 to speak with a knowledgeable funeral pre-planning specialist about your cremation memorialization options. For pre-planners who would prefer to be buried, we also offer picturesque burial sites.

Filipino Funeral Traditions

A sprawling archipelago of more than 7,100 islands, the Philippines is a diverse country with traditions that have been shaped and influenced by both indigenous customs and experiences with colonialism. Covering each and every funeral tradition practiced in the Philippines could fill several volumes; here instead are a few of the county’s best-known funeral-related traditions:

Balinese offering

Bilaan Tree Bark Shroud

Occupying a swath of islands in the Philippines’ southern Mindanao region, the Bilaan people have a truly unique funeral ritual. They wrap the deceased in tree bark before raising him or her to the level of the forest’s canopy.

The Filipino Vigil

There are a number of region-specific funeral traditions akin to those held by the Bilaan in Mindanao. One funeral tradition that is observed by the majority of the population is the paglalamay, or vigil. This vigil can last upwards of a week, and is characterized by the extended exhibition of the casket and the playing of games and music.

All Souls Day Commemoration

Christian Filipinos observe All Souls Day, which has been designated a national holiday by the government. Every year, people clean, decorate, and congregate around the grave sites of lost loved ones. Flowers, candles, and food are all commonplace at All Souls Day gatherings.

Rituals of Mourning

The Philippines also has a host of mourning rituals, most of which are still observed by a portion of the population. These include no bathing or sweeping during the morning period, and nine consecutive nights of communal prayer for the deceased.

Honolulu and Manila are sister cities, but the bond between Hawaii and the Philippines is more than diplomatic. Their placement on the same trans-Pacific trade route facilitated cultural and demographic exchange before Hawaii became a U.S. state and the Philippines an independent nation. If you are looking to lay a loved one to rest in an Oahu memorial park where funeral and burial traditions from the Philippines are honored and respected, call Valley of the Temples at (808) 239-8811.

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Hours of Operation

  • 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM Sunday
  • 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Monday
  • 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Tuesday
  • 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Wednesday
  • 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Thursday
  • 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Friday
  • 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Saturday