2008 YMA Hawaii Trip

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Reflections of Hawaii

Expectations going it and coming out by Grant Saito

When I first learned about this retreat to Hawaii I was doubtful that it would be as intensive as a “normal” retreat because we only had one minister as a supervisor. Once I arrived in Hawaii however this retreat would become a grueling nine days that included four dharma lectures, over fifteen YAC led services, trips to seven temples, as well as meetings with both the Moiliili and Oahu congregations.

After I had departed Hawaii I came to appreciate the rare opportunity that this trip has provided for me. I thought that all temples in the United States were homogonous. During the trip I noticed that temples in Hawaii had different etiquette. In some of the temples flip flops were acceptable footwear in the Hondo but no shoes could be worn on the onaijin. Also the vast majority of the sites we visited did not include scrolls of Prince Shotoku, or the seven masters. Hompa was especially interesting because it was a blend of Roman Catholic pillars, Wood carvings that had Indian influence, set along with the traditional Japanese altars.

Pali Lookout by Grant Saito

Hawaii contains many distinctly unique tourist attractions. We went to a handful of such places. These included a view point named “Pali Lookout”, the Pagoda Inn, a bed and breakfast home with a host who teaches a balance of nature as well as cleanliness, as well as three independent shave ice stands. The view from Pali Lookout was amazing, when I looked over the grey safety rail and see an unobstructed view of half the island, I was in awe, the landscape was beautiful and the air was clear. I could see blue skies and thin white clouds that drifted across the sky. I could almost feel how nature had shaped the island culture. With this in mind when we visited a bead and breakfast that was a converted home. Cab (our host at the B&B) provided outside showering facilities during our stay at an old temple. While showering outside at first does not seem at all appealing, it is a form of letting go. It feels good to know that you can accept how you are even if it is only for a short time. At Cab’s home were able to learn how our existence must allow nature to thrive along with us. If we inhibit nature for our own ends, Cab told us that our existence as a race would not survive.

Though these detached endeavors did not apparently have any connection to the Buddhist view. They provided insights from outside sources many of which relate closely to Buddhist views of acceptance and balance.

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