Perspectives from Graduating High School Seniors – August 2020

We recognize and celebrate our graduating high school Seniors by printing their Dharma Talks.

In this issue,
Kylie Mukoyama & Wendy Sakuma


Thank You to My Wonderful Family and
Great Friends

by Kylie Mukoyama

Hi everyone! 

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Kylie Mukoyama and I’m graduating from Santa Clara High School, and will be attending UC Davis in the fall.  I’ve been anxiously anticipating this speech for the past twelve years that I’ve attended Temple, and now the time has finally come.  If you know me, I am a bit of a crier and a bit of a nervous giggler, so please bear with me.

I would like to start off by expressing my appreciation to those who have been constant supporters in my life.  To Reverend Mukojima, thank you for your insightful talks and your weekly high fives, you helped me develop so much as a Buddhist and I will carry the lessons you have taught me with me forever.  // To my dad, thank you for always pushing me to do my best; you never let me quit at anything even if I was near wit’s end.  I will never forget when you were my soccer coach and let me play goalie for one game with barely any practice; I let probably twenty goals go past me until I broke down on the field sobbing.  You walked right over to me and told me to get up and keep trying.  Although we ended up having to call the game because we were losing by so much, you sparked the drive I still carry with me to never give up, and to put my best effort into everything I do.  // To my mom, thank you for being such a huge supporter and amazing role model for me.  You were there for me during some of the hardest times in my life, and I don’t know where I’d be today if you hadn’t been by my side to help me get through them.  I’m going to miss staying up and watching Friends together until 1 am almost every night, and listening to the radio on the way to school every morning.  // To my brother Ryan, despite saying all the time that our dog is my favorite sibling, I really do appreciate you being in my life and thank you for always knowing how to put a smile on my face.  The little things you do, such as waking me up from naps to show me TikToks you know will make me laugh, or warming up pop tarts for us to share for breakfast in the morning, really do mean a lot to me.  I know we will miss each other when I go to college, despite the tough front we are both putting up currently.  // To my grandparents, thank you for coming to every soccer game, school performance, and track meet, and for picking me up from school every day since when I was in preschool until my senior year, due to the fact that I am still too scared to start driving. 

Special shout out to the first friend I ever made through church- Stacey Kawabata.  Thank you for being my best friend for the past 10 years and for putting up with all my craziness.  I hope we keep our promise to be members of this Temple forever, and to one day become co-presidents of BWA.  // Thank you to Wendy Sakuma for being my travel buddy and for being someone I consider a sister.  I’m so glad you joined YBA, and I’m going to miss you so much when you go to Hawaii for college.  Be prepared for lots of unexpected visits!  // Thank you to Kalyn Wong for being my first real friend at Nakayoshi Gakko, and for always keeping me in check.  // To Chloe Lim, I’m going to miss you so much, you’re basically like my little sister and I know you’re going to do great things for next year’s YBA.  // Last, but certainly not least, thank you to my boyfriend of three years, Evan Tsukahara.  You’ve taught me what it feels like to have someone who loves and cares about you despite what you believe are your flaws, and I am so grateful to have someone who compliments me so well.  I’m really going to miss our late night drives to McDonald’s, teaching you that it’s okay to lose in games such as speed and Mario Kart, and being around someone as delightful and hilarious you are.  // Most importantly, I’d like to thank the Sangha for creating such a loving and accepting environment that allowed me to grow and prosper as not only a Buddhist, but as a person as well.

Now onto the message that I would like to share with you all today, which is based on a quote said by the Buddha: “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserves your love and affection.”  Self love and inner confidence is something that I started struggling with in the beginning of high school.  I entered my freshman year with the hope that I would make the next four years of my life perfect and just how it was portrayed in my favorite childhood movie, High School Musical.  However, due to factors such as bullying and toxic friendships, I quickly realized that my experience was going to be on the opposite side of the spectrum.  The girl I once was: strong, independent, and ready to take on anything that came her way, was quickly knocked down to a girl that was quiet and sad, and didn’t have much to say.  School became something I dreaded going to, and attending Temple every week soon became my escape from reality.  The feelings of acceptance and comfortability that welcomed me every Sunday was something I looked forward to, and helped me to forget any troubles of the difficult school week.  By confiding in the Sangha and surrounding myself with good-hearted people, I realized that I deserved to feel that kind of love at school as well.  I took it upon myself to find a new group of friends and tried to set loving myself as a priority, instead of putting it behind pleasing others.  I was able to completely turn my life around by following the Buddha’s teachings, and for that I will be forever grateful.  Please join me In Gassho:

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserves your love and affection.”

Namo Amida Butsu

Namo Amida Butsu

Namo Amida Butsu

Thank you!


My Journey at the Temple

by Wendy Sakuma

Hello everyone and good morning or good afternoon, depending on when you are watching this video. 

I wish I was at church today sharing this with you, but I am Wendy Sakuma and I am graduating from Gunn High School and I plan on attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa in the fall to study business.  Some of you may not know me, but I have been in YBA and Dharma school for the past three years.  I have also been in the Temple’s Girl Scout troop since I was in kindergarten.  Since I was in the Temple’s Girl Scout troop, I have been attending the Obon and Bazaar every year and after seeing the whole church community come together, I knew I wanted to somehow be more involved in the Temple.  My parents definitely aren’t Buddhist so it took a bit of convincing but they always encouraged me to try new things.  Now looking back it was the best decision I’ve made.

I remember, when I was a freshman, I always heard my two friends, Kylie and Stacey, talk about activities and events they attended in YBA and after hearing about it so much I wanted to join.  Although I was definitely very intimidated and scared since everyone else had been attending Dharma school or had known each other for forever I was scared I wouldn’t fit in.  However, after attending the first couple of YBA events like the meetings and the conference hosted by Mountain View, I felt more comfortable in YBA knew I wanted to be part of this loving community.

I gotta be honest, I was struggling writing this speech even though the idea of writing it has been taunting me ever since I joined YBA.  But when I started to think of what I wanted to say, I thought about what YBA meant to me and what I learned in Dharma School.

One of the most important things I’ve realized while in Dharma school but also in YBA was that it’s okay to press pause on what you’re doing and to just re-evaluate.  I made this realization in Dharma School when either Mr. Morimoto, Elise or Brent had each of us talk about our pits and peaks or the bad and good things that happened to us that previous week.  It reminded me that it’s good to take a pause from all the stress and all the busy-ness.  Before joining YBA, I would always think about what’s happening next and what is in the future, but I never thought about what was happening now or what had just happened or how I was feeling because of recent events.  This has really helped me with my mental health since I was always extremely stressed or antsy about something going on at school or after school.  I will especially remember to do this in college when I am too busy caught up staying up all night doing homework.

I would like to thank the Dharma School teachers, the Sangha and Reverend Mukojima for the continuous support throughout the years and for all the important lessons that Sensei has taught me which I will remember and bring to college.  I would also like to thank the YBA advisors for always driving us super early to all the conferences and mixers and for enduring my loud and witty personality.

Second, I would like to thank my two best friends, Kylie and Stacey, for always being there for me and for always making me laugh every day.  To Kylie, thank you for being like a sister … or twin and just understanding me the most.  To Stacey, thank you for literally helping me graduate high school, whether it was staying up late helping me with homework or giving me advice. I will miss you guys so much in college.

Finally, I would like to thank my parents, Patty and Paul, for all the love and support you have given me over the past 17 years.  I don’t think I have said thank you enough.  You have taught me to continuously try your best even if you don’t succeed and to NEVER give up.  Thank you for driving me everywhere, waking me up every day and soo much more.  Mom – I’ll miss your jokes and witty comebacks.  Dad – I will miss your selflessness.  I can’t wait to start my next journey of life.

Please join me in gassho,

Namo Amida Butsu

Namo Amida Butsu

Namo Amida Butsu

Thank you for listening.