Posted On August 27th, 2010 -


World Fellowship of Buddhists Founding Member

Sunao Miyabara, born in Pahoa Hawaii in 1919, World War II veteran, successful banker, diplomat, most senior Vice President and member of the Executive Council of the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB), and beloved husband, brother, father, grandfather and great-grandfather passed on August 21, 2010.

Sunao Miyabara dedicated his 91 years to living and teaching the precepts of Buddhism. He was a founding delegate at the inaugural session of the World Fellowship of Buddhists in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1950. It’s goal, to increase communication and unity among all Buddhists world-wide.

In WWII, Sunao served as a Japanese language translator in the Burma Campaign. In 1943, while serving in India, he journeyed to Lumbini, Nepal, birthplace of the Buddha. Seeing the ruins and the sad state of this most holy place of Buddhism, he dedicated his life to restoring Lumbini and expanding the cause of Buddhism and world peace.

Sunao was an active member of the Executive Council of the WFB from 1950 to 2003. He was able to realize his dream of restoring Lumbini to a holy pilgrimage site when in 1967, Lumbini was reopened to the world. He was also very proud of his work with the Punch Bowl National Cemetery to engrave the Dharmacakra, the eight-spoked wheel of Dharma, (the international symbol of Buddhism) on the gravestones of Buddhist military veterans.

Sunao received many awards for his work globally with the WFB. In 1990, he was honored with the Merit Medal for World Peace, the Grand Merit Medal for lifetime service in 2000, and Honorary Vice President of the WFB For Life in 2003.

Sunao devoted much of his life’s energy to community service. That history includes Executive Director of the Young Buddhists Association, President of the Hawaii Kiwanis Club, Civil Air Patrol officer, Chairman of the Hawaii Housing Authority, Board member for Kuakini Hospital, board member on the Governor’s Commission on Youth and Children, Farrington High School P.T.A. president.

In 1972, he was appointed the Honorary Consul to Thailand, and though retired in 1992, he continued to perform many functions for the rest of his life. In 1984, he was awarded a Dean Emeritus of the Consular Corps of Hawaii, and in 1986 was awarded the Diplomat of the International Consular Academy.

Sunao balanced his humanitarian efforts with a successful career in finance. He retired from Liberty Bank as a Senior Vice President in 1976, thereafter managing his own import/export business.

Sunao and Chiyoko traveled the world with the WFB, attending more than 20 international conferences, visiting more than 30 countries. Despite the many hours devoted to work, he loved to golf and made The Golfer’s Pilgrimage to play at the famed St. Andrews course in Scotland.

Sunao and Chiyo were always the proud Grandpa and Grandma, attending every school event and loudly cheering at countless sports events. Even in recent years, they would be seen cheering on great-grandson Gabriel.

Sunao left this world on August 21st. He died at home under the loving care of his family. After many difficult hospitalizations, Sunao wished to die at home surrounded by his family. He was at peace coming home.

Sunao is survived by many loved ones, his wife of 64 years, Chiyoko, daughter Lorayne Kimi Treschuk, son Colin Takumi Miyabara, sister Yurie Hagihara, son-in-law Edward Treschuk, daughter-in-law Susan Okamura Miyabara, grandchildren Sasha Fernandes, Yuri Treschuk, Kenji Treschuk, Erica Miyabara, Marcus Miyabara, great-grandson Gabriel Fernandes, and many more in his loving ohana

Services celebrating Sunao’s life and contributions will be on August 29th at the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin. Visitations at 4:00 pm. Services at 5:00pm.

- Denotes U.S. Military Veteran