The Rinzai Zen Mission is located by the beautiful beach outside Paia on the north shore of Maui. It was established in 1932 by a Rinzai priest from Okinawa, Rev. Nanshin Okamoto. It is the only Rinzai Zen temple from the immigration era in the United States, and it was also a temple for the Okinawan community on Maui. After a few years Rev. Okamoto went on his mission to Honolulu and Los Angeles and established temples there, too.
After Rev. Okamoto’s departure, his disciple Rev. Kiyoshi Oshiro not only maintained the temple but developed it further. Rev. Oshiro went through hardships including two great tsunamis and the departure of many Okinawans to Honolulu and other places. Despite these hardships this temple was recognized as an official branch overseas in the Myoshin – ji sect of Rinzai Zen. Many chief abbots of Myoshin – ji in Kyoto, Japan have visited this temple.
After almost fifty years of service Rev. Oshiro passed away, and it was his wish that Rev. Seido Chisaka, his longtime friend and supporter, take care of the temple after his demise.
During the transition period when abbotship changed from Rev. Chisaka to Rev. Ryozo Yamaguchi, a suspicious fire destroyed the historical temple building and residence. It was February, 1987.
Immediately after this fire the mission’s president, Wallace Miyahira, and all the members decided to rebuild again. Initially the rebuilding fund started with a donation from Rev. Chisaka, and this building fund grew with the committed efforts of the members and outside supporters.
During February of 1989, the rebuilding of the temple began. The main building and the minister’s residence were built by a contractor, but the Zen Center, which stands besides the main building was built completely by volunteers – members of the temple. All the finances for this building came directly from abbot Seido Chisaka, Toenji in Japan.
This rebuilt temple represents a precious gift from the Okinawan Issei and Nisei to the next generation. Also, it is a declaration of support from the Myoshin – ji sect of Rinzai Zen in Kyoto and the Toen – ji temple in Miyagi.