2016 ‘Dharma Con’ Statewide Convention in Hilo

“Dharma” means the teachings of the Buddhha. “Dharma Con,” presented by the Hawai‘i Island Hongwanji Council and Hawai‘i Island United Buddhist Women’s Association, is a bi-annual statewide conference April 16-17, 2016. Anyone over age 10 who is interested in learning more about the Dharma is invited to attend.
Bishop Eric Matsumoto

Bishop Eric Matsumoto

Dharma Con presents a keynote by Mayor Billy Kenoi and talks by Bishop Eric Matsumoto, 16th Bishop of Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii’s 34 Buddhist temples, and Pieper Toyama, founding head of the Pacific Buddhist Academy and president of the state organization.
Pieper Toyama

Pieper Toyama

A workshop series focused on the conference theme “Touched by Kindness” will offer a variety of interactive, interesting learning opportunities. Topics include a two-part songwriting (gatha) class with B.J. Soriano, a session wwith Joan Aguirre on the history and ritual of tea, a look at Buddhism in literature by Kiyoshi Najita, an overview of the Blue Zones community health initiative with Carol Ignacio and a special lei-making workshop taught by Keyra Tehada. Most take place Saturday at 1 p.m. and are repeated at 2:15 p.m. so that participants may sign up for two sessions.
There will also be a Youth Overnighter at the Sangha Hall, a demonstration of the “Dharma Quiz Bowl,” and a Saturday night talent show. On Sunday, Ms. K. T. Eger, islandwide head of the Buddhist Women’s Association, will lead a walking tour of the Queen Lili’uokalani Gardens.
Prices for Dharma Con are $20 per person for Workshops and lunch, $32 for full-day Saturday with dinner, and $45 for Saturday and Sunday. Registration forms are available at www.hilobetsuin.org, along with information on special Dharma Con rates at Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. Advance registration is required with payment, by March 15, mailed to: Betty Takeoka, Kona Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, P.O. Box 769, Kealakekua, HI 96750
For more information contact Jane Iida at 808.345.1718, or jyiida@gmail.com.
  • “Pen a Song of Kindness,” 1 p.m. only, BJ Soriano. Learn how to write your own gatha. Learning techniques in rhythm, rhyming and music structure using a pre-written music composition, you will develop and create your own lyrics (at least one verse and a chorus) to the workshop theme, “Touched by Kindness.”
  • “Gathas for Humanity,” 2:15 p.m. only, BJ Soriano. Learn 5 gathas (written and composed by BJ Soriano and arranged by Michael Springer) using pre-recorded music file or and/or ‘ukulele or guitar accompaniment. Full scores or vocal/chord lead sheets will be provided.
  • “Brew a Cup of Kindness,” 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m., Joann Aguirre. When tea, like meditation, becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. This presentation will include a brief history of tea and how it has become a universal representation of harmony, plus a tasty tea sample and demonstration for brewing a special pot and cup of kindness!
  • “Buddhist Values in Literature,” 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m., Kiyoshi Najita. Great literature invariably invokes Buddhism’s Four Noble Truths. Beginning with a beloved children’s book for beginning readers and then considering some classics of literature, including works by Jack London, Thomas Pynchon and Margaret Atwood, this workshop will explore the connection between literature, teaching and the Dharma.
  • “Live in a Kinder and Healthier Hawaii,” 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m., Carol Ignacio. The Blue Zones Project is a community well-being improvement initiative that encourages changes to our surroundings and built-environment that lead to healthier options. When all parts of the community participate – from our worksites and schools to our restaurants and grocery stores – the small changes each add up to huge benefits for the community.
  • “He Lei Aloha,” 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m., Keyra Tehada. A lei is more than something you wear around your neck as an adornment, and must be cherished as so. We will discuss at length the basic protocols of leis; from gathering in the forest to adorning one with this makana, and different ways that a lei can be made. Let us journey through together with open minds, and don’t forget to bring your questions!

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