Reflections of Hawaii
Sessions by Kendall Kosai
While in Hawaii we had the chance to meet with director of the Pacific Buddhist Academy, Pieper Toyama. Mr. Toyama gave a presentation of the only Buddhist based high school in the nation in which he oversees. He discussed how the fundamentals of Buddhism can be applied to curriculum and the function of the school. Mr. Toyama explained that the school uses non traditional schooling practices and is geared toward college preparation. His presentation gave a new fresh look at relevancy of Buddhism in American life and culture through integrating it into traditional American curriculum.
Another interesting figure in Buddhism in Hawaii that we had the opportunity to meet with was Dr. Alfred Bloom, a wide known pioneer in North American Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. Prior to his lecture we were asked to prepare and submit questions that we had that he could explain through Buddhism. These topics ranged from global responsibility to the history if Jodo Shinshu Buddhism to his own vision of North American Buddhism in the coming century. With a deep understanding of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, Dr. Bloom explained how our religion can resolve such issues through learning from the historical perspective of Shinran Shonin. He also explained that religion is meant to “bring people together, not sort people out”. After 2 hours of an insightful lecture, Dr. Bloom closed by expressing that “religion is not what you get, but what you get out of it”.
Gratitude and Appreciation by Kendall Kosai
On behalf of the entire YAC group, we would like to express our deepest gratitude towards the Hawaii Kyodan for their generosity, kindness, and patience to host 24 “mainlanders”. Wherever the group visited, we were met with open arms and the “Aloha spirit” from the Hawaii Kyodan. We all were greatly appreciative for such warm receptions. From the Fujinkai ladies who prepared meals to the reverends and lecturers for taking time out of their hectic schedules to meet with us, we extend our deepest appreciation and gratitude.
The group would also like to thank everyone who has supported the YAC trip to Hawaii. From buying raffle tickets, to buying YAC Obon t-shirts, to general donations, your support is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for aiding the YAC program in their advancement of their studies and develop the leadership that will be essential to the future of the BCA.Share