Monday, January 25, 2010

Off to Singapore

Aloha all,

I'm off to Singapore on Thursday. While my trip is primarily business related, I plan on using this month away to also explore aspects of the Buddhist faith that I would normally not be exposed to. For instance, Rev Shin recommended that I visit the Buddha's Tooth Relic Temple. I have no idea what that is... but I'll find out. I'm imagining a giant temple, and instead of Amida at the center of the altar, there's a glass case with a molar in it, or something like that. I'm sure I'll be surprised.

Aside from visiting temples and taking pictures of Buddhas, there are other ways to explore my faith while I'm there. I'm going on this trip with 5 other people that I don't know, and I'll be rooming with one of them. I've never been outside of the U.S. (except for Mexico a couple times, but Ensenada doesn't count) and now I'm going to be plunged into a very foreign country, with 5 strangers, and with expectations of me to perform well at my job.

I think that two Buddhist concepts can be applied here: Impermanence and Interdependence. I'll quickly realize how temporary my comfort zone is, and that I have to flow with the tide. I'll be away from my wife for the first time in 9 years (even in Basic Training we were in Brother/Sister flights) and I'll be away from my children for the first time since they were born. If I grind my heels into the ground on this trip, then I won't have any fun. I need to embrace the change I'm about to experience. Also, in order for me to have a fun trip, I'll have to depend on my 5 co-workers; and naturally, they will depend on me. I'm going into this thinking that I academically understand these concepts, but we'll see what they're like in practice!

On the logistical side of things, I'm going to have to miss a very important meeting here in Hawaii. On January 30th, all the Tokudo candidates were supposed to meet and be introduced to the Hawaii Kyo-dan Ministers. It's really like the first formal function that I would need to attend as a prospective Minister. So that's the bad news. But, Rev Kevin said that he would attend on my behalf, and I might just have to meet with the Bishop one-on-one when I get back... no pressure, right?

Anyway, thanks everyone for your support and your comments! I'll post again when I get back in March!

In Gassho,


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year!

Aloha all,

I hope everyone's new year went well. I'm excited about 2010 and all that we can accomplish! It's amazing how much my family and I have changed in the 5 years we've been in Hawaii, I can only imagine what 2010 will bring.

Anyway, here is my current status. I've been in language class for the past 3 weeks and have 3 more weeks to go. The interesting thing about this class is that it is being held at the University of Hawaii, which means I get college credit. It's a 6 week long course, but since it's everyday/all day, it actually knocks out 4 Chinese courses that the University offers. The academic advisor came and said that with our current background, we may be close to a BA in Chinese Mandarin. So now I need to find out which would be better/quicker for me: 1) BA from AMU in International Relations with emphasis on Asia, or 2) BA from UH in Chinese Mandarin. Any thoughts?

Also, I'll be TDY all of February to Singapore as part of a supplemental language training. This in combination with the language training I'm in now means that my meetings with Rev Kevin are at a stand still until I get back. In the meantime, he and I are still working on HOZO and a few other things. My list of things to memorize continues to grow.

One thing that hasn't changed lately, though, is my Sunday schedule. Every Sunday I show up at temple at about 7am. I let myself into the main altar (I have keys now, no big deal!) and practice chanting the Juseige. Then I set up the altar for morning services. The first service is Japanese service, of which I don't understand a word, but we chant the entire Shoshinge, which is good for me. After that is English service (my job is to ring the bell). After English service I close up the altar and double check with the minister and can usually be out of there by 11. I feel like a Catholic spending 4 hours at church every Sunday! Oh well, I enjoy it.

That's it for now!

In gassho,