Category Archives: Buddhism

She hopes your suffering will be taken away.


People bickering.

Cussing and yelling, for what?

People hating.

Wanting and desiring what others got.

When you face death, all of it is a waste.

You should’ve been nicer.

It’s way too late.

Now you face your own fate.

The seconds tick away on your last day.

Yet, somewhere in the world a soul prays.

She hopes your suffering will be taken away.

– Jon Riki Karamatsu, Poem, 3/26/19 –

#poem #poems #poetry #creativewriting #poet #quote #quotes #writing #writer #author #reader #fiction #nonfiction #novel #book #mindset #positivemindset #mentalhealth #anger #hate #suffering #motivationalquotes #motivational #behappy #begrateful #compassion #empathy #love

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Growth Mindset


I’m a strong believer in having a positive mindset in order to be happier and more fulfilled in life.  In this post, I would like to point out the importance of us having a growth mindset, which is believing that our abilities and intelligence can be developed.  We can develop our knowledge and skills by reading and practicing everyday.  The more we work on our knowledge and skills, the better we get.  If we keep up this daily practice, over time, we may attain the knowledge and become very good at the skills we envisioned ourselves achieving.

I like to schedule in my Google calendar blocks of time to learning and building skills and I color code them according to the subject matter.  I count each 30-minute period of learning or practicing as a “win” in my Count My Wins program I created for myself.  This program gives me a natural high from the happy chemicals released when I finish each 30-minute self-development session. I’m a very curious person so I push myself even in areas I’m unfamiliar with.  I really want to become a better person mentally, spiritually, and physically.

Have fun in your self-development!  Crush it!

3 of my daily practices: growth mindset, mindfulness, and gratitude.

(I took a picture of these plants and trees in Waikele, Hawaii on March 12, 2019. They represent growth in our growth mindset practice. I’m always mindful of the beauty around me. I’m grateful to experience such simple pleasures.)

#growthmindset #learn #read #skills #skillset #skillsets #practice #practices #dailypractice #habits #selfdevelop #mind #body #soul #positivemindset #mindset #mindfulness #mindful #gratitude #grateful #thankful #trees #plants #sky #simplepleasures

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From the Middle, Suffering Expands Our Gratitude Practice!


From the middle, suffering expands our gratitude practice by making us more present and aware of the light in a mass of darkness, which is all the good things we have in our lives. Here are my 10 examples of how suffering can expand our gratitude practice:

1. When a loved one dies, we’re grateful for the time we had with that person.
2. When our romantic relationship falls apart, we’re grateful to have had the opportunity to experience romance.
3. When we fail at a goal, we’re grateful for the lessons we learned from the failure.
4. When we face financial hardship, we’re grateful for every little thing we have that helps us get by.
5. When we provide value for others and get attacked by opposition or critics, we’re grateful for our ability to create value for others and evolve.
6. When facts in litigation aren’t believed where we face fines, jail, or unfavorable rulings for business, divorce or our personal life, we’re grateful that we had the opportunity to tell what happened.
7. When we can no longer drive a vehicle, we’re grateful for public transportation.
8. When our health declines, we’re grateful for still being alive and having what abilities we still have.
9. When we are wronged by people, we’re grateful for all the positive people in our lives.
10. When our life appears to be in turmoil, we’re grateful that we were born to even have a shot at life.

3 of my daily practices are shown here: the middle way, gratitude, and listening to music (Im wearing Bose Soundsport)!

#middleway #gratitude #buddhism #music #practices #dailypractices #bose #bosesoundsport #grateful #thankful #mentalhealth #health #mindset #positivemindset #mindfulness #mindful #peace #innerpeace

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Live the middle way. From the middle, we can see the light in every dark situation.


Live the middle way. From the middle, dark and light is one. From the middle, we can see everything, dark, light, and everything in between. If you can see the light in darkness, then you can be grateful in your darkest moments.

Humans are prone to judging others and experiences. From the middle, you don’t jump to conclusion that someone is either dark or light, good or bad. From the middle, you don’t jump to conclusion that an experience is dark or light, good or bad.

When a person lashes his or her anger at you, you’re tempted to label that person as a dark person. When you’re in the middle, you’ll see the light, in even the most hateful person. You go deeper and have empathy for that person who may have suffered deeply at the hands of others.

When you experience suffering, you may feel tempted to label it as darkness, which will drag you further down into sadness, frustration, and/or anger, all negative emotions that pushes away your happiness and negatively impacts everyone you interact with. From the middle, you’ll be able to see the light in even the most darkest of situations.

From the middle, suffering expands our gratitude practice by making us more present and aware of all the good things we have in our lives. Here are my 10 examples of how suffering can expand our gratitude practice:
1. When a loved one dies, we’re grateful for the time we had with that person.
2. When our romantic relationship falls apart, we’re grateful to have had the opportunity to experience romance.
3. When we fail at a goal, we’re grateful for the lessons we learned from the failure.
4. When we face financial hardship, we’re grateful for every little thing we have that helps us get by.
5. When we provide value for others and get attacked by opposition or critics, we’re grateful for our ability to create value for others and evolve.
6. When facts in litigation aren’t believed where we face fines, jail, or unfavorable rulings for business, divorce or our personal life, we’re grateful that we had the opportunity to tell what happened.
7. When we can no longer drive a vehicle, we’re grateful for public transportation.
8. When our health declines, we’re grateful for still being alive and having what abilities we still have.
9. When we are wronged by people, we’re grateful for all the positive people in our lives.
10. When our life appears to be in turmoil, we’re grateful that we were born to even have a shot at life.

2 of my daily practices: the middle way and gratitude.

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Waikele on the early morning of February 22, 2019.

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Fade Out or Keep Going?


Fade out or keep going? What are we chasing after in this competitive and sometimes cruel world? Money? Power? Fame? When you reach it, you get attacked by others and punished more severely. Is it worth it? I think most of us want to be happy and at peace. There’s something beautiful in fading out from the craziness of society to be with your own soul in a peaceful and quiet life. Maybe live a simple life near the ocean or up in the mountains. It sounds so nice to meditate, read, research, write, create art, produce content that helps others, build a service for others using technology, and only hang out with those who lift your spirit. I’m not saying to completely cut ourselves off from the world. We could still continue our hustle to create value for others from afar, only coming back to society for our loved ones and for our most passionate projects. Do you feel this sometimes? If this was possible would you try it?

This is a picture of the sunset in Waikele, Hawaii on 2/19/19.

#fadeout #keepgoing #money #power #fame #peace #innerpeace #alonetime #meditate #happiness #simplelife #ocean #mountains #sunsets #clouds #family #lovedones #lifestylebusiness #write #read #research #fiction #nonfiction #poetry #art #music #content #contentcreation #technology #services

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Farewell Mrs. Yoshiko Kitagawa.


This afternoon, January 26, 2019, I attended the funeral of my friend and long-time member of Jodo Mission of Hawaii, Mrs. Yoshiko Kitagawa that was held at Hosoi Garden Mortuary. Mrs. Kitagawa was a friend of my late grandparents Maurice (passed away in 1992) and Bessie (passed away in 1996) Karamatsu. As President of Jodo Mission of Hawaii, I represented the organization in placing incense at the front of the service.

Mrs. Kitagawa passed away on December 15, 2018 at the age of 99. She was born in Wailuku, Hawaii. She is the founder of L&L restaurant, which was sold to Eddie Flores. Mrs. Kitagawa is survived by her sons, Hiram, Eric; daughters, Mary Lim, Dianne Douglas (Ashley), Audrey Kitagawa (Dr. Gary Umeda); grandsons, Ian Douglas, Kai Melton-Kitagawa.

For the last 3 decades, I would see Mrs. Kitagawa at Jodo Mission of Hawaii’s services and events. For awhile in the last 8 years, she would playfully ask me when I was going to find a girl and settle down. I enjoyed my chats with her. I will miss her.

#funeral #friend #jodomissionofhawaii #jodomissionofhawaii #jodoshuhawaii #jodoshu #buddhism #honolulu #hawaii #mindfulness #mindful #grateful #gratitude #thankful

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Condolence Speech for Bishop Yubun Narashiba


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.

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