Words of Thanksgiving offered at the 2019 Living Treasures of Hawaii™ Luncheon

2019 Living Treasures honorees with Bishop Matsumoto and Pieper Toyama
Living Treasures honorees Earl Kawaʻa, Gertrude Yukie Tsutsumi, John M. Hara, and James Yagi with Bishop Matsumoto and Pieper Toyama. Photo credit: Lenscapes Photography

Words of Thanksgiving Offered at the 2019 Living Treasures of Hawaii™ Luncheon

February 9, 2019

Rev. Richard Tennes

Reverend Richard Tennes
Reverend Richard Tennes, Kahului Hongwanji

Today, we gather to celebrate the completion of the 107th Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii Legislative Assembly, and the 44th Living Treasures of Hawaii Program. We begin our celebration by sharing together this delicious and wonderful meal. But before we enjoy our food, let us take a little time to reflect deeply on this significant moment.

Over the past two days, members of Honpa Hongwanji temples have devoted themselves to considering ways of securing the future of our spiritual organization and the temple communities that comprise it. Our vision of the future may not be perfect, it may be flawed, but we understand that we have been brought to this present moment — the point from where the future begins — through an inconceivable chain of causes and conditions. Our life today is a gift from all beings who have preceded us on this journey. We owe a great debt of gratitude to our forebears to strive to keep our spiritual tradition alive and relevant, in order to benefit future generations.

Likewise, the Living Treasures we honor today, these talented, caring, and creative individuals, who have done so much to benefit this world that nurtures and sustains us all, have been able to master their vocations and make their vital contributions because of the inconceivable help they have received from countless others, throughout their lives and long before. They have remained committed to their important work because they know the future depends on them. We are all very grateful for their benevolence in kindly sharing their gifts with us, and in working so selflessly for the benefit of others.

So now, as we prepare to share this meal together, let us remind ourselves that even so mundane a thing as a simple meal, the plate of food before you, is itself a manifestation of great compassion and benevolence. It is a gift of life that has arisen from the measureless causes and conditions which have created this present moment; living beings giving themselves to us to enable us to continue our living and our work. May we share the benefit we receive from this food with all beings. And as we partake of this wonderful food, let us remember the Measureless Compassion we call Amida Buddha, which surrounds, sustains, and embraces all beings, with Infinite Love.

Namo Amida Butsu.  Itadakimasu.