Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Maui on my Mind, Part 4

Next we encounter the Old Lahaina Courthouse and Jail. Built in 1860, this structure served as a center for government offices and court functions during the Hawaiian Monarchy. According to the Lahaina Restoration Foundation, it "was built with coral block and other materials that came from Kamehameha III’s unfinished western palace (Hale Piula), which was destroyed during a fierce Kauaula wind." The building was rebuilt with a Greek Revival style in 1925 to what you see today. In the 1970s the Lahaina Civic Center was built and governmental functions moved there. The Courthouse was refurbished in 1998 and management turned it over to the Lahaina Restoration Foundation. The interior now contains a museum and shops.

Sharing the parcel of land with the Old Courthouse we see the remnants of a wall which was part of the Old Fort. The fort was used more for protection from rowdy seamen than any serious threat of invasion.

The cannons from the Old Fort now stand by the Lahaina Harbor — obviously more decorative than functional.

A short drive north on Front Street takes us to the Lahaina Jodo Shu Mission. It is a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of the commercial part of Lahaina with some really beautiful landscaping.

Upon first entering the mission, we encounter the huge bell used to notify members of the beginning of services and the last day of the year.

The bell is rung 11 times each evening at 8:00 PM.

The first three rings signify the following:
• I go to the Buddha for guidance
• I go to the Dharma (the teaching of the Buddha) for guidance
• I go to the Sangha (Brotherhood) for guidance

The next eight rings represent the Eight-Fold Pathway to Righteousness:
• Right Understanding
• Right Purpose
• Right Speech
• Right Conduct
• Right Livelihood
• Right Endeavor
• Right Thought
• Right Meditation

Next we see the huge statue of Buddha, some 12 feet tall and weighing 3.5 tons. It is one of the largest such statues outside Asia. The statue was cast near Kyoto, Japan which is central to Jodo Shu Buddhism. Interestingly, Maui is home to one of the largest Jodo communities outside Japan.

On either side of Buddha are identical lanterns — beautifully executed in bronze.

Next is the pagoda which was constructed by Japanese craftsmen using traditional techniques including interlocking joints so that no nails were needed. The roof is covered with interlocking solid copper shingles forming a solid copper sheeting.

The structure sits among palm and golden shower trees giving it a serene but powerful setting. During the prime blooming season for golden shower trees, the site takes on a magical fantasy appearance with blossoms displaying colors from cream to peach.

Here we see the temple which stands on the same site as the original which was destroyed by fire. Like the pagoda, it was constructed by Japanese artisans, using the interlocking techniques for both the wooden portions and the copper roof.

The Mission stands just above the ocean shoreline — looking in the direction, one can see the Mala Wharf which is in disrepair and blocked off from access (although the kids seem to know how to bypass the barriers). Although it was build for practical reasons, Hurricane Iniki blasted it into its current state. If you are interested in more of its history, click here.

And just above the beach is a Japanese cemetery. I always treat such places with the reverence they deserve — look but don't walk there.

Last for today is a close-up of a pair of tombstones where you can clearly see the Japanese writing.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com