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2018 Jodo Shu Hawaii President’s Speech, General Membership Meeting, and New Year’s Party.


I’ve been on the board of directors of Jodo Mission of Hawaii since 2006, taking the seat of my grandmother Bessie Karamatsu after her passing that year, serving as the 1st Vice President.  Since 2011, I’ve been serving as the organization’s president.  On Sunday January 28, 2018, I chaired Jodo Mission of Hawaii’s General Membership meeting and ended it with my annual speech, most of which is below, though I free-styled a chunk of my speech:

“Happy New Year everyone!

2017 was a year of rebuilding and repainting our infrastructure. We’ve repaired cracks and breakage on our temple, and painted a new coat of cherry blossom pink on our uniquely designed temple, a beautiful landmark in Honolulu, Hawaii. For the first quarter of 2018, we will continue the repairs and maintenance by rebuilding our copper awning on the Diamond Head end of our temple. We’ve requested the company involved with the awning to board off the construction area so that our members can continue to visit the niches of their loved ones. Also, we will be repairing and repainting our apartment building.

Please join us in this year’s obon services and bon dance, bazaar, mochi-making and sales, monthly services, guest speakers, and other activities. Feel free to invite family, friends, and acquaintances to our events as well. We are very lucky to have you.

In Buddhism, a positive mindset and nonattachment is critical to having a positive life as reflected in the Eightfold Path’s “Right Thought.” How we think will determine our actions. Too often we blow out of proportion what we perceive as problems with excessive worry and sadness, or worse, anger. A person with a positive mindset sees problems as challenges, opportunity, and change. Focus on what we can control, rather what we can’t control. If no can, no can – detach, evolve, and go back on the offense for other opportunities, and everyday say “thank you” for every good thing in your live, the beautiful nature around us, and our loved ones here and those who passed away for being a part of our lives.

“Nonattachment” is an area that can be challenging to practice. Our suffering can arise from our attachments to people and things. When we break up with a significant other or face the death of someone we love, it’s heartbreaking. We can still love people and things even when they’re no longer with us, but not be attached to the darkness of our desires that makes us yearn for them that can cause depression, anger, and the downfall of our health and relationships. The energy of our loved ones who passed away have never been taken away from us, and the same goes for the love and lessons we’ve learned from a difficult break-up.

Buddhism teaches us the importance of being in the middle, that calm and peaceful zone. What brings us great joy can quickly bring us great sadness when we lose what brought us joy. What makes us angry can lead us to the darkness of moodiness, hatred, and even revenge. We can be aware of our feelings, but constantly be awakened as Buddhists and practice our Right Thoughts and avoid attaching ourselves to the darkness. In order to help others we must be at peace within ourselves. Just like in an aircraft emergency, we have to put our oxygen masks on ourselves before we can help others.

Buddhism is a way of life. Our practice sends positive energy to others and the universe. Just as we just prayed to those who passed away with Reverend Nakano. I’ve had enough supernatural experiences to know there is something beyond this physical world. Thus, our soul that’s filled with compassion, empathy, and love will never die, but transcend through all realms to make our universe more peaceful.”

Below are pictures from the 2018 Jodo Shu Hawaii New Year’s Party:

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#jodomissionofhawaii #jodoshuhawaii #jodomission #jodoshu #buddhism #buddhist #speech #2018 #generalmembershipmeeting #peace #innerpeace #eightfoldpath #rightthought

 

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My 2018 Jodo Mission of Hawaii President’s Message


Below is my Jodo Mission of Hawaii President’s message printed in our January 2018 bulletin:

Dear Members,

Thank you for your support and for attending Jodo Mission of Hawaii’s services, Bon dance, mochi-making, and other events.  In the last quarter of 2017, we have repaired and painted our temple and begun repairing and painting our apartment buildings. We are happy on how beautiful it looks!

One of my wishes for you in 2018 and for the rest of your existence is to have peace and happiness within yourself, so that you can share your peace and happiness with others. In our Buddhist practice, we work daily on the Noble Eightfold Path of
Right Understanding, Right Purpose, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Livelihood, Right Endeavor, Right Thought, and Right Mediation.  A practice that’s mentioned in Buddhist scripture that has helped me tremendously is gratitude.  Everyday, from the moment we wake up, we can be thankful for what we have such as the cozy bed that we just slept in; taste of hot green tea; orange glow of the morning sun; useful kitchenware we use to make our tasty breakfast; and a quiet self-reflection or meditation.  Start the morning with this peaceful gratitude practice, and you will power through the day with more gratitude and push through difficult situations with a balanced soul.

Have a great 2018!

With Warmest Aloha,

 

Jon Riki Karamatsu

President of Jodo Mission of Hawaii

#buddhism #buddhist #peace #innerpeace #love #mindfulness #gratitude #eightfoldpath #jodomissionofhawaii #jodomission #jodoshuhawaii #jodoshu #2018 #2018message #bulletin

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Jodo Shu Hawaii Fujinkai’s “Thank You” Party on Sunday November 19, 2017


Had fun at Jodo Shu Hawaii Fujinkai’s “Thank You” party on Sunday November 19, 2017 in Honolulu, Hawaii. We played a memory game for 22 things in a box, Jan Ken Po and grab bag drawing. For lunch we had dim sum – Chinese food.

#jodomission #jodoshu #jodomissionofhawaii #jodoshuhawaii #fujinkai #buddhism #party #honolulu #hawaii

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Progress of Concrete Repairs & Painting for Jodo Mission of Hawaii.


At 9:00 A.M. Hawaii Standard Time on Saturday November 18, 2017, we, the board of directors of Jodo Mission of Hawaii inspected the concrete repairs and painting of our temple at Honolulu, Hawaii with a manager of Eko Painting & Concrete just before our first progression payment. Gaining ground. We’re happy with the progress!!!

#jodomissionofhawaii #jodoshuhawaii #jodomission #jodoshu #concreterepairs
#painting #contractors #honolulu #hawaii

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Jodo Mission of Hawaii Luncheon Celebrating Kanreki Birthdays and New Bishop


Jodo Mission of Hawaii luncheon celebrating Kanreki birthdays and newly elected Bishop Yubun Narashiba who is serving as Bishop for the 2nd time on Sunday November 12, 2017 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

#jodomissionofhawaii #jodoshuhawaii #jodomission #jodoshu #bishop #kanreki #honolulu #hawaii 

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We can spread peace with simple acts of kindness


I’m feeling much happier today, September 18, 2017 after feeling anxiety in my personal life and career for the past 11 days or so.  At 8:00 A.M., I had the first part of my annual physical at the hospital.  Throughout the morning, I was texting my business partners in a different time zone/country.  Then at 10:00 A.M., I took the minutes of the Hawaii Buddhist Council (Higashi Hongwanji, Mission of Hawaii, honda Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, Jodo Mission of Hawaii, Koyasan Shingon Mission of Hawaii, Nichiren Mission of Hawaii, Soto Mission of Hawaii, and Tendai Mission of Hawaii) as it Secretary for 2017.  After the meeting, Jodo Mission of Hawaii Bishop Emeritus Gensho Hara gave me a gift.  Next, I reviewed and signed an EPA review for the repair and maintenance that we are contracting a Hawaii company to repair and repaint our buildings for Jodo Mission of Hawaii.  Also, I reviewed a trust from a deceased member of Jodo Mission of Hawaii who was the secretary for my political influencer, Governor John A. Burns, and she had left some money for our organization.

When I returned home, I received a couple of good news from my business partner who I was texting in the morning in regards to traction for our project.  Then I opened my gift from Bishop Gensho Hara, and was so delighted to see this glass display of Buddha.  As President of Jodo Mission of Hawaii for 7 years, I was fortunate to have worked with Bishop Hara who served as Bishop for 8 years.  He has shared with my so many teachings of compassion, and touching stories of people who have come to his temple at Lahaina, Maui from different walks of life and with diverse ethnicities.  They sought refuge from life’s problems, and prayed/meditated for strength to attain inner peace.  One 30-something-year-old Vietnamese woman prayed everyday at about 5 A.M. before the large statue of Buddha at his temple, and she’s now becoming a leader of Buddhism on the U.S. mainland.  A middle-aged Caucasian male who was a U.S. military veteran of the Vietnam War would visit him, enjoying the rice that Bishop Hara’s wife made.  He was sad with the passing of his wife a couple of years ago, and ended up shooting himself to death.  It’s these touching stories that taught me the importance of love, compassion, empathy, mindfulness, and gratitude.  When I told Bishop Hara that someday, after I make money, I can do more, he would gently shake his head with a slight smile – I understood his gesture, that even our simple acts of kindness can go very far to touch another’s soul.  We can spread peace, even without money.

#peace #innerpeace #compassion #empathy #love #mindfulness #gratitude #aloha #buddhism #jodoshuhawaii #jodomissionofhawaii #jodoshu #jodomission

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Bishop Gensho Hara and I at the Hawaii Council of Jodo Missions 41st Biennial Convention

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2017 Jodo Mission of Hawaii Bon Dance


Jodo Mission of Hawaii’s Bon Dance on Saturday August 18 and 19, 2017 in Honolulu, Hawaii was a success.  It feels so good to support culture and tradition that make Hawaii and our country so unique for all to enjoy! I’m honored to serve as President of Jodo Mission of Hawaii for the past 7 years and board member for the past 12 years.

The food was great with barbecue sticks, saimin, gyoza, chili and rice, andagi (Okinawan donuts), shave ice, and more. The dancers and taiko did performed well. I’m sure our ancestors are happy.

Mahalo to everyone who volunteered, and to all who came to enjoy the festivities! See you next year and may peace be with you and all those you touch.

#jodomissionofhawaii #jodomission #jodoshuhawaii #jodoshu #buddhism #obon #obonservices #bondance #honolulu #hawaii #ancestors #gratitude

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