Mazie Hirono is the first Buddhist U.S. senator

Amid all the election excitement of last night, here’s one result that you may have missed: the U.S. has elected its first Buddhist senator. Mazie Hirono, a Democrat, beat Republican challenger Linda Lingle to become a senator for Hawaii. (Another prominent Buddhist, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, congratulated President Barack Obama on his re-election today and urged Obama to take further steps to address the political situation in Tibet. Click here to read more.)

Hirono has represented Hawaii’s 2nd district in Congress since 2007. Along with Hank Johnson of Georgia, she was one of the first two Buddhists to be elected to the House of Representatives. Hirono was born in Japan, immigrating to Hawaii with her family as a child. She served 14 years in the Hawaii state legislature and eight years as the state’s lieutenant governor.

Hirono was raised in the Jodo Shinshu tradition. “I certainly believe in the precepts of Buddhism and that of tolerance of other religions and integrity and honesty,” she said when she was sworn into Congress in 2007.

Along with being the first Buddhist in the Senate, Hirono can claim two other firsts as well: she’s the first Asian-American female senator, and the first to have been born in Japan.

13 Comments

  1. Posted November 7, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    My partner is from the United States, and I am a Canadian. We were discussing Buddhism and politics the other day, and I asked her if it was likely that a Buddhist could be elected. Here is our answer. Congratulations Mazie Hirono!

  2. Cassi
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Awesome!

  3. Posted November 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    The "Likes" for this are piling up on our Facebook page. Some sample comments:

    Christina B: "awesome"

    Liz M: "that's awesome!! You go girl!!!"

    Judy EDS: "We need all the equanimity we can get :) "

    Richard R: "And her "neighbor" in hawaii, Representative-elect Tulsi Gabbard is the first Hindu to be elected to Congress!"

    Connect 2 Self: "I didn't know she's Buddhist. Awesome.!"

    Rocki A: "This is truly wonderful!"

    Rob H: "Even better!"

    Stephanie M-J: "Congratz!!!"

    Linda EB: "We need more in Congress – a lot more!"

  4. David Makinster
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Namu Amida Butsu! :-)

  5. Posted November 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Super dupe.

  6. James Keene
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Well Done, Good on you

  7. Kim
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Good luck to you, we here at the Fresno Buddhist Temple wish you luck.

  8. Lori Pushckor
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Not just Hawaii but all of the U.S. could use more peaceful, compassionate. less judgmental, and tolerant of all religions. WTG Mazie

  9. Gyatso
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    rejoice

  10. Phyllis Conlan
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    This gives me new hope for our country's political future. Mazie, please treasure yourself.

  11. Ravindra Sonawane
    Posted November 24, 2012 at 1:54 am | Permalink

    Hearty congratulations ! ! !

  12. thupten Nyima
    Posted January 4, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Great News, Congratulations!!!

  13. Posted July 24, 2013 at 4:53 am | Permalink

    Whatever your religion is, I am still hoping that this country and others as well will have a better government! And I think religion and politics shouldn't actually mix!!

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