Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr. and his wife Gina and ten of the mayor’s county administration team visited the Aadheenam today. First they met with Bodhinatha.
Paramacharya Palaniswami gives the mayor a shawl.
Bodhinatha says the reason for their visit, which has been planned for months, was that the mayor and his team were going around Kauai with the intent of finding out what is going on, on our small island in various places. This helps put everyone in touch with the community and to understand the needs of Kauai’s people. The mayor had heard of the monastery’s sustainability skills, and wanted to show these to his leaders who could then translate what was learned to the island residents.
Bodhinatha shared with the group our monastery’s various sustainability initiatives ranging from our growing much of our own food and stock six month supply of anything we need in case of disasters all the way to the constant training the monks do to gain the skills to manage the property vehicles etc. and to monitor our energy consumption.
He also explained the monastery’s policy of staying in touch with the community and not being “isolated like we are some mountain top….”
The mayor and his team are thinking very seriously about the sustainability issues for our small island. Over 85% of the food consumed in Hawaii is imported. This puts everyone in a vulnerable position if a disaster strikes or world problems interrupt shipping.
It has been years since many of these people have visited, and some have never been here before. Palaniswami and Shanmuganathaswami then spoke on the specific projects, principles and energy goals of the monastery that make it function, answering the group’s questions. Palaniswami passed offered gifts to the visitors, including a home-grown rudraksha on a string and home-made yogurt.
Attending today were:
1. Mayor Carvalho and wife Gina
2. Gary Heu, Managing Director
3. Beth Tokioka, Director of Communications
4. Tommy Contrades, CIP Program Manager
5. Wally Rezentes, Jr., Finance Director
6. Sally Motta, Deputy Finance Director
7. Larry Dill, County Engineer
8. Mike Dahilig, Director of Planning
9. Lenny Rapozo, Director of Parks and Recreation
10. Glenn Sato, Energy Coordinator
11. Ken Stokes, Sustainability Consultant
The group also visited Iraivan temple and our gardens and then we served them lunch. Fresh breadfruit curry. Pakwan leaves (sooo good) with paneer, tamarind rice, garbanzos, yogurt and papadams.
Our Kauai members served the in the traditional Indian style, seated in front of banana leaves. Wholesome food, fresh from the garden.
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Be it small scale, like Michelle Obama’s White House garden or the Kauai Temple garden, clearly we must move beyond the unpredictable relationship we have with supermarkets and the way they are influenced by increasingly tenuous agricultural changes.
Mahalo to Bodhinathaswami and Palaniswami for their gracious hospitality! One correction: John Isobe was not able to make it yesterday, so Tommy Contrades, CIP Program Manager, attended in his place.
It was an amazing learning experience and we all feel more people on Kauai should be informed about this shining example of sustainability right here on our island! We can learn much from our Hindu neighbors. Aloha!
"Stand strong for Saivism." The nature of life for Saivites is to turn work into worship, to turn the secular into the sacred. Each day give a little extra warmth, humanness and upliftment to others. Every day is a holy day, all day long. We want to follow our religion even in our dreams. If we help someone, we're worshiping. Wherever we are, that's a place of worship. "To the Saivite Hindu all of life is sacred. All of life is religion."