On Friday, September 27, the monastery hosted nearly three dozen Hawaii State Legislators, staff and community representatives at the monastery. The State House of Representative Finance Committee and the State Senate Ways and Means Committee were on Kauai visiting various State-funded projects, including the extensive Kapaa area irrigation system that the monastery helped preserve. The two committees comprise nearly a third of the Hawaii State Legislature, which has a total of 74 representatives and senators.
After a visit to a harbor project, they stopped at Upper Kapahi Reservoir to inspect renovation work and then Wailua Reservoir next to the monastery where a three-year upgrade has just been completed and is slated to start refill (a month-long process) on the 30th. The reservoir supplies water to the monastery through one of the old plantation ditches. We will welcome its return!
The group gathered first in the Banyan Mandapam where Senator Ron Kouchi introduced the monastery. He worked with Gurudeva on the Kauai Aloha Endowment and various other community projects, an interaction which had a profound impact on his life. He called Gurudeva "the most important influence of my adult life" and the monks "some of the smartest people on Kauai" always willing to help the community, most recently for an anti-bullying campaign in the schools. Jerry Ornalles, president of the East Kauai Water Users Cooperative spoke next about the needs of the Coop for the coming years. Acharya Arumuganathaswami then introduced the monastery and Iraivan temple. The talks were kept short because the entire group was very anxious to see the temple project! Kulapati Deva Seyon led everyone out to Iraivan, explaining the project as he went.
All in all it was a grand success, with a number of the guests commenting on how serene the place was and how hard it was to leave.
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