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Following footsteps of Kobo Daishi

"In steps of the Buddha" (Star-Bulletin, July 14) was a timely article because this year marks the centennial of the Hawaii Shingon Mission. As a member of one of the Shingon missions here, I feel compelled to comment on the information presented in the interesting article.

>> Kobo Daishi was the founder of Shingon or Esoteric Buddhism in Japan and lived during the 8th and 9th centuries (774-835 AD).

>> Kobo Daishi did not invent the "kana" syllabary, but because of his knowledge of and his introduction of Sanskrit studies, the "kana" system emerged, as it is based on the Sanskrit alphabet.

>> Tendai, Jodo, Zen and others are different schools of Japanese Buddhism founded by their respective masters. Thus, Kobo Daishi was not the founder of Japanese Buddhism, brilliant man that he was.

My sincere congratulations go out to Ryan Armstrong for walking and completing the pilgrimage -- twice. One day I hope to walk it and follow in the footsteps of that great theologian, teacher, civil engineer, calligrapher, artist, ascetic and humble monk, Kobo Daishi.

Brian Higa

Mufi never wavered from first intentions

You have to give it to Mufi Hannemann. He is the only politician I have seen in this election year who has stuck to his guns. In his press conference he said it straight that he would not be seeking any other office because he feels he can serve the people best as mayor. That shows a commitment to the public and not to himself, whereas Mazie Hirono was going to run for mayor, but when Jeremy Harris changed his mind about holding onto his office, she changed back to her original plan of running for governor.

Andy Anderson switched parties in what appears to be a better chance of winning the primary race. Other politicians have moved to different districts just so they can run for office. Hannemann said he wanted to be mayor, campaigned to be mayor and stuck to it. Even after Jeremy Harris said he would hold onto his seat, Mufi kept his commitment.

Three cheers for Mufi! Honesty in politics -- now that's a novel idea.

Jeff Kino

Vegetarian diet cool and healthful, too

The cover story in a recent issue of Time magazine states that 11.4 million Americans consider themselves vegetarians. Teenage Research Unlimited found almost 25 percent of adolescents consider vegetarian diets "cool."

Consequently, traditional purveyors of animal products are launching their own lines of meat and dairy alternatives, now available in supermarkets, and fast-food chains are jumping on the vegetarian bandwagon.

The national trend toward nonviolent, plant-based eating is clear. What is unclear is why 1.3 million Americans still suffer and die each year from heart disease, stroke, cancer and other diseases that have been linked conclusively with the consumption of animal products.

The only effective long-term solution to this national tragedy is to replace meat and dairy products in our diet with grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits. Let's make tomorrow the first day of the rest of our long and healthy lives.

Aliaska Brozen
Kihei, Maui

Women should be told facts, not fear tactics

The discontinuation of a large national study of women taking a combination of estrogen and progestin seems to be reasonable enough ("Breast cancer risk ends study," Star-Bulletin, July 9), but where does this leave large numbers of women who, years before, were indiscriminately persuaded to take these supplements?

During medical training, I remember many women repeatedly being warned that if they refused to take these supplements, they would end up with multiple fractures and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The negative side effects often were minimized.

These prescribing "scare tactics" do nothing to educate women and create a gulf of distrust between patients and physicians that widens daily. Understating the risks of breast cancer and stroke also do not help women make informed choices. Individual factors such as familial risk, diet and exercise must be taken into account.

Women, don't take any prescriptions without knowing the side effects, and don't be afraid to ask questions.

Alissa Kraisosky, M.D.

Candidate sign-waving a little like hazing.

In response to the letter "Sign-wavers add to roadway dangers" (Star-Bulletin, July 12), I felt the same way about candidate sign-waving. They have always annoyed me, especially if you get stuck in traffic next to them.

Always a reserved person, I never believed I would ever do it, but do candidates get elected if they do not wave signs? No, they do not. Sign-waving has proven to be a life-or-death choice for candidates. So, after much soul-searching, I decided to sign-wave, but I choose safe, non-congested areas that are not too close to intersections.

To my surprise, sign-waving is actually fun, but the deep dread I feel an hour before is hard to get used to. I feel like I'm being hazed, but it's all in the attitude and perspective. If I can't stand up on the side of the road and face the possible annoyance of my potential constituents, then how can I stand up on the Senate floor and face opposing colleagues to represent my constituents?

I joined Alpha Psi Epsilon in college, but I never experienced hazing; however, I've always wondered about it. I don't wonder anymore. So if you see me smiling and waving on the side of the road, please be kind.

Gerald K. Nakata
Candidate for Senate District 19

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