At the age of 91, Bishop Jikyu Rose is still giving weekly sermons, counseling members, planning events and more at the Koganji Temple she founded about 45 years ago in Manoa Valley.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are,” said Rose. “I’m always learning, always looking forward to life.”
Born in Tokyo, she and her late husband, Lester Rose, a retired Navy captain, bought 2 acres of property in the mid-1970s, and by 1982 constructed the two-story temple on a serene, terraced slope off Oahu Avenue. Her Buddhist temple is dedicated to Jizo Bodhisattva.
She celebrated the temple’s 45th anniversary last year with the publication of a book, “Jigen,” in which she reflects on her life journey and her gift of spiritual insight; it includes testimonies from over 60 temple members of how they’ve benefited from her guidance. The book is not available for sale, but can be borrowed from the office.
In the book, she writes, “I have experienced many spiritual phenomena throughout my lifetime. These phenomena have helped me to help others with a variety of difficult personal problems. … Miracles happen in our lifetime.”
Rose considers the 200-some members of her flock, most of them young adults, as her children: “I can be a mother to them,” she said. “I had to go through hardships to understand and guide people, but I’m a better person. … I want to try to heal what your problem is; we cry together, or enjoy together.”
She’s loved for her compassion and dispensing down-to-earth advice that sometimes cause discomfort, she admitted. “I will tell you what’s wrong with you, lot of people don’t like. I tell people the truth, help them recognize the truth.”
Rose was a seamstress and tailor in a Moanalua shop more than 30 years ago when her intuitive skills heightened, and she began counseling people in her home. She realized she had to deepen her understanding of the spiritual phenomena that had repeatedly helped her, she wrote, and in 1973 started intense training at the Tendai center at Mount Hiei in Japan. Rose was ordained in 1975 — “I was born to be a minister, not to brag,” she said, reflecting back.
Rose said she is mentally, physically and spiritually in good health. “My strength comes from what I believe. I’m still able to walk and everything, I’m still cooking for my members.”
In her book she writes, “At 91 years old, it’s probably my time soon, but I can only wholeheartedly wish that my creation — Koganji Temple — continues to be a place for people to receive help and find salvation.”
Koganji Temple is at 2869 Oahu Ave.; call 988-7214.