Namu Amida Butsu
October is a busy and exciting month for the people on Maui. Why? Because we will welcome our once-a-year biggest event, The Maui Fair. Wailuku Hongwanji Mission has been participating in this special event for many years. For over 50 years, we have been sharing our tasty flat noodles, Chow Fun. I asked one of our old timers why our Chow Fun is so tasty and well known, especially at the Maui Fair. Have we kept the same taste for 50 years? He replied, "Well, we used to cook dried noodles before. We would boil it first and then cook with the iron casting pans so the texture of the noodle is a little bit different. But we used the same ingredients, same way of cooking, and the same amount of salt and pork hash, so the taste is almost the same as before.
Even if it is busy, we trained the cooks to follow the same process regardless of how busy they are. That is the reason why we can keep the same taste of the Chow Fun for all these years. So, the people of Maui are waiting for our Chow Fun at the Maui Fair. Many people from Maui feel that "I have to eat Maui Fair’s Chow Fun otherwise no sense in going to the fair."
Wailuku Hongwanji’s Chow Fun has a wonderful reputation within our community. As you may know, our workers are all volunteers who are mainly parents from the preschool, Scouts, Cub Scouts, Japanese School, Judo, and Karate. Every year the cooking staff is different, but we are keeping almost the same taste with our Chow Fun. Our Chow Fun is not salty and not oily, but also has lots of vegetables with bacon and pork. We have been passing our legacy, values, and sincere hearts to the next workers for the past 50 years. I think that is the reason why Wailuku Hongwanji’s Chow Fun is very famous at the Maui Fair and always sells out before the end of the day. Why? Because it is so "ONO!" On top of that all our members and friends’ "Magokoro" (the "sincere and thoughtful minds) are in the Chow Fun.
As you may know, Wailuku Hongwanji Mission will reach its 119th years of service this month—October 2018. We will be observing our 120th Anniversary next year—October 2019. We will express our sincere appreciation to our great honorable Keirokai members who will be recognized at the anniversary services on October 20, 2019.
With countless difficulties and hardships, our Wailuku Hongwanji Mission’s members and ministers together propagated the Nembutsu teaching for the past 119 years in our community. During this time, a number of churches and temples have closed due to closing of the plantations and for other reasons.
However, we, Wailuku Hongwanji Mission, have been able to sustain and assume leadership in our community in many ways. Yes, our community is counting and relying upon our services in many areas and in many ways. Why? Because of the reputation that we have built in our community during the past 119 years. Our members and their children have provided the leadership in many areas of the community by sharing their sincere hearts of the Buddhist way of life.
What are the sincere heart and caring of the Buddhist way of life? First of all, respect others. Second, making extra efforts, which is not for your own benefit but also for others. Third, is to rejoice in the happiness with others.
Their sincere and kind hearts came from their parents and grandparents’ guidance. One of the wonderful slogans says, "Kodomo no tameni" the English translation is as follows: "For the sake of the children." With these great spirits, our Wailuku Hongwanji Mission was able to operate for the past 119 years and will offer these great spirits for many years to come.
Shinran Shonin gave an example; "We all are human beings—just like a little stream of water and it is floating down from high to low and those different waters flow from different streams, and will merge with the larger river and finally all the water in the streams will reach into the ocean and become one. Following his wonderful teachings, each member of our temple is able to become one and accomplish many projects with one mind and be able to rejoice in the happiness with others.
One of the passages Shinran Shonin shared with us is as follows; "People who have been born first guide those who come later, and those who have been born later follow the great guidance and values at the people who left." (Passages on the Land of Happiness by Master Tao Cho)
Even if we have different capabilities and personalities, following the great guidance of the Nembutsu, amazingly without knowing, we will become one as Shinran Shonin explained to us. Individual people are like small streams but through helping and rejoicing in our lives, these different people are mingled together with the great wisdom and compassionate heart of Amida Buddha. All of us are able to unite as one and be able to rejoice in the greatest happiness together with others. Regardless of who you are, we are all able to rejoice in the happiness under the infinite light and compassion of Amida Buddha. When you discover these true facts, we are all able to realize Buddha’s great words and it is said, "Your happiness is my happiness and your sadness is mine, too." We are all interdependent but we are connected with each other through our great karmic relationship. We follow and share the great guidance of the Nembutsu life and share joy and happiness with each other. Yes, we are all succeeding with the help of our great ancestors’ guidance and values and pass it on to the next generation through the great guidance of the Nembutsu.