2008 YMA Hawaii Trip

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Reflections of Hawaii

Tobans A, B, C by Brandon Yanari
Developing toban groups in Hawaii helped all of us learn about one another and enable us to better work as a team. In each of the Tobans A, B, and C, we took on days for cooking and leading services throughout the week. Some of the meals we made include chili & rice, tacos, somen & soba, and grilling hamburgers and hot dogs under video camera light on Sand Beach. For services, the onaijin duties were divided up, and the tobans worked together to put on service. Most of us got to practice kansho, doshi, eigakari, and all of us gave enlightening Dharma talks. The respective tobans also had cleaning duties, for example, after our stays at Waialua Buddhist Temple and the Buddhist Study Center. Although some groups (cough cough Toban B) had to work it seemed a lot more than the others, we all learned the valuable skill of teamwork, and realized how interdependence was especially important during our trip.

Brandon the Lotus by Brandon (the person) Yanari

Dr. George Tanabe presented us with a beautiful lotus flower when he came and gave our group a talk. He grew it himself and discussed how something as lovely as the lotus flower can be grown in comparatively disgusting muddy or swampy areas. The group later named the lotus “Brandon” more by coincidence than symbolism. After that day, Brandon traveled with us to our other destinations, and many of our pictures after that included Brandon in them. We took very good care of him and grew to cherish the bright pink petals of this pretty flower. On the third day since Brandon bloomed, a gust of wind unfortunately blew the petals right off of Brandon, and although we were warned that the lotus does not live long, many of us were devastated and saddened by Brandon’s passing. Lauren led a memorial service for Brandon that morning, and we all chanted Sambujo in dedication to Brandon the Lotus. We experienced the lesson of impermanence that day, as we had to let go of our attachments to Brandon and accept his passing as reality. We all miss him dearly.

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