At the Lydgate Park event honoring Gurudeva, Bodhinatha addressed the public regarding the monastery's intention to continue all the wonderful community contributions that Gurudeva set in motion when he was alive and that we will do even more in the years to come.
Aloha! Good evening! We are so happy all of you could come this evening to honor Gurudeva at this time of one year after his passing.
This is our island event, reaching out to everyone, all our friends on the island and giving them a chance to come and remember Gurudeva together with us.
At the monastery we are also complementing this with five days of traditional Hindu ceremonies for the monks, the members and our Hindu friends on the island as well. So this is not our only event. This is just one of five days of activities.
Thinking about Gurudeva and what to say, I thought I would start by saying Gurudeva was certainly a spiritual leader par excellence, of the highest quality and in Hawaii we call it kilohana. He had the ability to lift up the spirit of everyone he met. He encouraged them to try again if they had not succeeded, lift them up from the negative states of mind, of anger and fear and despair and doubt into a positive perspective that everything is all right and that they have the ability to succeed. He expanded their vision of what it was possible achieve from the limited to the unlimited.
Of course, everyone who knew Gurudeva on Kauai considered him a spiritual leader. However, most had no idea how global his influence had been, how widespread his accomplishments. The commemorative magazine on his life that the monastery produced in April 2002 - there are a few copies in the back if you did not receive one - and mailed to many friends on the island, changed all of this. Afterwards many comments came in saying the same thing, "We had no idea of Gurudeva's global accomplishments. Thank you so much for sharing these magnificent achievements with us."
After Gurudeva's passing last November, all our friends on the island shared the same concerns about the monastery. Some verbalized them to us and others didn't but we knew they were wondering too. Would the monastery be able to continue at all without Gurudeva as leader? Was it going to still exist? Would it continue to support the same island projects as Gurudeva did? What about the building of that magnificent stone temple? Would it be able to continue? Would we be able to visit and show the monastery to our friends and families as before?
The answer to each of these concerns of course is a very strong, YES.
The monastery has continued to exist. It continues to support the same island projects as Gurudeva did. Yes, the temple construction continues at the same pace as before. Yes, a steady stream of visitors is found on almost all days on the monastery grounds.
In closing, I would like to share a portion of Mayor Maryanne Kusaka's acknowledgment of the invitation to this event which her schedule did not permit her to attend. To quote, "Gurudeva continues to be alive and vibrant in our hearts and minds. His spirit and efforts to make it possible for every student on Kauai to know Pilahi Paki's 'Aloha' values are unparalleled. In spite of his transition, the learning of those values will continue as children enter classrooms each day. His quiet, simplistic approach to reaching for the sky when setting goals and expanding a vision will forever be a source of inspiration in my contributions to community. Mayor Maryanne Kusaka."