Condolence Speech for Bishop Yubun Narashiba
Bishop Yubun Narashiba had a huge presence at Jodo Mission of Hawaii. Huge presence. On March 3, 1985, he became a reverend here at the Betsuin. On September 1, 1987, he was assigned to Koloa Jodo Mission in Kauai. He returned back here at the Betsuin on November 1, 1997. Bishop Narashiba served as our temple’s religious leader and a member of our board of directors. He was also serving as Bishop of the Hawaii Council of Jodo Missions since September 16, 2017, the religious leader of our statewide organization. This last go around was Bishop Narshiba’s second stint as our Bishop since he was also Bishop from September 1999 to September 2003.
I’ve known of Bishop Narashiba since I was a boy coming here at Jodo Mission of Hawaii with my grandpa Maurice Karamatsu, grandma Bessie Karamatsu and my immediate family. I became closer with him as a young adult after I became a member of the Jodo Mission of Hawaii’s Board of Directors in 2006 as First Vice President, taking my grandma Bessie Karamatsu’s board seat after her passing that year. I got to work even closer with Bishop Narashiba after I became president of this organization in January of 2011.
What was really impressive about Bishop Narashiba was his ability to do so many things from religious services, welcoming members and guests, office and administrative work, handiwork to fix minor repairs on our premises, labor work by helpings us set up and breaking down our otoba for obon service and our yagura for bon dance, traveling to Japan to for training or to meet with leadership at Jodo Shu headquarters, representing our organization at the Hawaii Buddhist Council with leaders of other sects of Buddhism, and attending community events.
Like many of you, it’s hard to believe Bishop Yubun Narashiba passed away. He was still young, and it happened so suddenly. I feel like he’s going to step up to the podium right now and speak to us with his warm smile. In many ways, he’s still with us because he left such a wonderful impression on us. He lived with compassion, empathy, the Eightfold Path, and all the Buddhist teachings. He lived it. Besides being with us spiritually, his legacy is also all around us. When you see all the wonderful improvements of our temple, social hall, and apartment building, think of Bishop Narashiba. He played a large role in fixing and beautifying our facilities.
Bishop Narashiba lived by example through his love and compassion. We are so lucky to have experienced the time we had with him.
Bishop Narashiba, thank you so much for being a part of our lives. Aloha.