Design: Share Inner Peace of Nembutsu

Share Inner Peace of Nembutsu by Seas Reflecting Starlight

“Share Peace” is the 2014 theme for the Hongwanji temples of Hawai’i.  A few months ago there was a photo/art contest for the upcoming 2014 calendar put out by Honpa Hongwanji.  The contest asked, “Can you picture peace?”  I thought long and hard about the different ways that peace can be manifested, and in the end decided to illustrate a path to finding peace within.

Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii 2014 Calendar

Inner peace is an essential component in being able to share peace with others. When you have peace in your heart, it radiates outward. The Nembutsu can not only lead to inner peace through entrusting Amida Buddha, but can also inspire compassion to share with others. The Japanese characters radiating outward are 南無阿弥陀仏 Namo Amida Butsu – mindfulness of Amida Buddha.

Hawai’i is the first state in the US to officially recognize Peace Day (September 21st, same as the United Nations International Peace Day).  Peace starts as an idea, powerful enough to transcend all boundaries.  A day when people of all backgrounds can come together to share their dreams of peace is very powerful.  There are many roads to peace, but they all start with what you choose to share with others.


display plaques and more

Available at my Inner Bodhisattva Zazzle store.

CONTEST: What is this bird saying? (with prizes!)

This contest will be reinstated at a future date with new prizes – stay tuned!

Chattering Sparrow by Seas Reflecting Starlight

What is this talkative little bird saying?  You decide!  Post suggestions in the comments for a chance to win one of four $5 OFF coupons from Zazzle!**  Three coupons will go to the winners of the speech bubble contest, and one coupon will go to the link contest (see rules below).

This photo of a House Sparrow was taken in Kona, Hawai’i.  House Sparrows are not endemic to Hawai’i, but arrived from New Zealand in the mid-1800s.  Now they are very common on all eight of the main Hawaiian Islands.

This contest also introduces my newest Zazzle store: Glimmering Glade!  More photos of cute animals and other denizens of the glade coming soon!


  • You may enter as many times as you like before the contest closes on January 23rd at 11:59 PM HST.
  • Keep all entries PG.  Comments are moderated, and offensive or inappropriate content will be deleted.
  • Unfortunately, the coupons are only valid on and might not work for people who live outside the US (sorry!)
  • Include a valid email in the comment form in the spot provided (NOT in the comment itself).  Emails will not be used for anything except to deliver the coupons to the winners. 
  • Entries without valid emails are not eligible to win.  If an email to a winner bounces, the coupon will be sent to the next runner-up.  I am not responsible for lost coupons due to incorrectly-supplied emails or full inboxes, and such coupons will not be replaced.  However if the error is mine, the coupon will be replaced.
  • Can’t think of anything witty to say?  Post a link from your blog back to this post for a chance to win one of the coupons!  Winner of the link portion of contest (1/4 coupons) will be chosen at random.  If your blog is on then your email will be included in the pingback, otherwise please leave a comment with a link to your post.
  • Winners will be announced by a follow-up post on January 24th – subscribe for updates!
  • Winners will receive their discount code individually by email, also on January 24th.  Check your email promptly, because coupons will expire soon!

**$5 OFF coupons valid at any Zazzle store, including my Inner Bodhisattva and Glimmering Glade stores, and apply to orders for all Zazzle products of $25 or more, excluding gift certificates. Enter promo code at checkout to receive the discount. Discount does not apply to shipping and handling charges or taxes. Any remaining value will not be refunded. Promo code may only be used once. Valid through 1/25/2013. Offer valid on only.

Happy 2013!

Happy 2013 from Seas Reflecting Starlight

It’s an exciting new year here at Seas Reflecting Starlight!  Have a sneak peak on what to expect in 2013:

  • More original art and photography!  In addition to continuing my current topics (such as Buddhism), I will be expanding to include images of animals, East Asia, and Hawai’i
  • Contests and give-aways – stay tuned for an upcoming announcement about this month’s contest (and prizes)
  • More art tips and tutorials – art, photography, digital image editing, and more
  • More reviews about art/photography events, museums, and interesting online content
  • Subscribe to stay informed!  Available via the “+ Follow” button in the lower right corner to follow by email and/or WordPress accounts, or through RSS feed or Twitter.

Have ideas on what you would like to see here?  Vote in the poll!

Examples given in poll: Illuminating Lotus, Halloween post, Amida’s Golden Chain of Love

First Friday Art Gallery Walk

The first Friday of every month can be a fun time to wander down to Honolulu’s Chinatown.  Not only can some great authentic Chinese food be found, but multiple art galleries have open houses which are very nice to stroll through.  The content changes from month to month, and each gallery features different styles and artists, so there is always something interesting for everyone.  I love meandering through galleries, enjoying and being inspired by the art pieces, while soaking in the casual atmosphere and sipping on the subtle flavors of the mint-lemon water that is a popular refreshment and many of the galleries (some also offer stronger drinks for a price).

Last night, one such gallery that I visited was the Louis Pohl Gallery.  There was a certain softness in most of the art pieces, from peaceful beachscapes, to people enjoying halcyon days, and even in boiling volcanoes.  The delicate blend of colors and shapes gave many of the pieces a feeling of familiarity.  This month, they also were giving free Hanafuda lessons and promoting the new Hawai’i-style Hanafuda cards that were designed to introduce a new generation to an old game brought to Hawai’i by Japanese plantation workers.  The game is easy to pick up, and the little “flower cards” (upgraded from the original woodblock by a local artist) are beautiful to behold.

Have any of you been to the art galleries on First Friday?  Where do you like to go and why?

Design: Lantern Floating Festival

This art piece illustrates the Lantern Festival, as it takes place in Hawai’i. The Lantern Festival has its origins in Buddhist ceremonies to honor the deceased. In Japan, the practice came to be associated with the end of Obon, a celebration of ancestors. Once the practice came to Hawai’i, it came to be celebrated on Memorial Day, tying in with the holiday traditions of honoring men and women who died in the armed forces, and is celebrated by people of all backgrounds. The practice is environmentally friendly – all lanterns are gathered after the ceremony and reused.

Lantern Festival

The ceremony is quite moving.  Live musical performances build up the mood.  As the sun sets, the first few lanterns are released, soon followed by thousands of other lanterns.  Each lantern has panels inscribed with the names of loved ones now passed.  Family members carefully approach the water, sometimes with tears welling in their eyes, as they lovingly set the lantern on its journey.  Soon the whole bay is a glow with thousands of shimmering lanterns all swaying gently with the waves and currents as they slowly move out with the tide.  The crowd gazes on, memorized, until the lanterns are little luminous specks in the distance.

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Halloween ARTafterDARK 2012

The Honolulu Museum of Art hosts occasional ARTafterDARK events, such as this year’s Halloween event.

As the sun set over the horizon, things at the Honolulu Museum of Art were just starting to heat up.  Bus loads of museum visitors all lined up outside, everyone decked out in their Halloween finest.  The costumes were many and varied, ranging from couples costumes like Aladdin and Jasmine, to Egyptian Pharaohs, superheroes, magical witches, zombies,

Aromas from appetizing foods wafted through the halls, and music blared from the live performances.  Despite the entrance line going down the block, once inside the museum didn’t seem overly crowded.  Besides, it was easy enough to duck into one of the exhibit halls for a little peace and serenity – as well as for stunning works of art spanning millennia from all over the world.  There is something fun about walking amongst ancient statues as Captain Hook meanders around nearby.  Each person in costume is their own work of art, and events like this are a chance to enjoy the living art as well as the paintings on the wall.