After the much revered Tibetan Buddhist master Geshe Lama Konchong passed away in 2001 at the age of 84, the Dalai Lama assigned the monumental task of locating his reincarnation to the master's closest Heart Disciple, Tenzin Zopa. Tenzin Zopa was designated from the age of 7 to be special, and his childhood was similar to that of reincarnated masters. He was not allowed to play with monks his own age and was always in classes or with Geshe Lama Konchong and the rest of the monastery heads. Tenzin completed most of his studies on the road, and went to the university in southern India for exams only. He was always ranked among the top five students out of more than 5,000 monks. He was permitted by the request of the Dalai Lama to schedule his final exams four years ahead of time. Tenzin is today one of the youngest Geshes (equivalent to PhD in Buddhist philosophy) in Tibetan Buddhism. Despite his many accolades and special treatment, Tenzin Zopa remains shy and humble in his demeanor, and when assigned the task of locating his master's reincarnation, he doubted his ability to accomplish this duty. Tenzin's search is documented in the movie entitled Unmistaken Child.
It would take Tenzin Zopa 4 years to locate the toddler, who would eventually be confirmed as the unmistakable reincarnation of Geshe Lama Konchong. Renamed Phuntsok Rinpoche by the Dalai Lama, you can view recent photos by clicking here which will take you to a blog, maintained by Geshe Tenzin Zopa himself, which updates us on the Rinpoche's (precious one's) progress.
Pastor Kiha shared a story a couple weeks ago about a visit he had made to an Arizona prison where about 1,500 Hawaii inmates are incarcerated. He said that he had been afraid and apprehensive at the start of his visit, but that as he walked through the grounds, his fear soon dissipated. The Hawaii prisoners immediately recognized him as being someone from back home and called out to him and greeted him with affection. They would say, "Hey, do you know my family in Kaneohe? Their name is . . . " "Hey, do you know the . . . family?" "Hey, I'm from . . . " One man in particular, enclosed in his cell, held up a photo against the window of his door and shouted, "Here's my family. If you see them, tell them hi for me." Pastor Kiha said that he asked God to help ingrain the image of the people in the photo into his mind.
Back home, after service one Sunday at the Kahala Mall chapter of New Hope, Pastor Kiha said that he was in the parking lot about to leave when he saw a family pass in front of his car. He immediately recognized them as the people in the inmate's photo. He burst out of his car and shouted to the group. A man stopped and Pastor Kiha explained about having visited the prison in Arizona and wondered if he knew someone there. The man acknowledged that it was his wife's brother, and then called for his wife who had walked on ahead. When the woman returned to where they were standing, Pastor Kiha was able to relay the very special message that was entrusted to him, thereby fulfilling the wish of a prisoner from Hawaii, locked up in the middle of a desert, way across the Pacific Ocean.
I know . . . I thought I was pau with the Kawaii Kon pictures. But today, I realized that I hadn't posted the picture of these two kids, and when I went to look for um, I found there was a bunch that I had missed. So . . . for real . . . these are the last of the photos.
I had to meet somebody in the Kakaako area before work this past Monday, so while there, I quickly got to take a few more pictures of some of the artwork. Here's one that I really like. I think the signature on this says "Scribe". I hope that some day soon I'll get to take a leisurely stroll through the streets instead of the hurry-hurry-it's-raining or the hurry-hurry-gotta-get-to-work shoots that I've had to do instead.