Over ten years ago I spent my final spring break in Hawaii for a two week study tour. The focus of the trip was on religion and culture, the course credits would complete my Asian Studies minor. I got to attend lectures at the University of Hawaii, and visited shrines and temples in the Waikiki area. The one that made the biggest impression on me was the Byodo-In temple in the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park.
Set against the Ko’olau mountains, it is a replica of the original Byodo-In Temple in Japan. I was so entranced by the peaceful grounds, golden Buddha residing inside the temple, and elegant black swans, I still have the pamphlet from my visit.