A Pillar of Peace for the Hokulea

John Hook for Civil Beat

If it's true, as Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners believe, that it is possible to know the mood of the ocean, then I think it's a fair bet on Monday the waters surrounding Hawaii Nei were quite happy.

In an extraordinary ceremony at Kualoa Beach Park in Windward Oahu, the 14th Dalai Lama blessed and consecrated the double-hull wayfaring canoe Hokulea.

A long, white Tibetan scarf was tied to one of the canoe's masts, creating, it seemed, a physical "pillar of peace."

It symbolized the embrace of the Dalai Lama's message of oneness by the crew of the Hokulea and the indigenous people they represent, but also the carrying forth of Hawaii's aloha to the world.

The Hokulea will set out on a global voyage next year to "place a lei around the world," as master navigator Nainoa Thompson put it.

After thanking the Dalai Lama, Thompson asked the invited audience, "What do we do on Tuesday? What do we do tomorrow?"

He meant, What will the people of Hawaii do after the Dalai Lama has left the islands?

The answer, he said, was to be "kind and caring to create a better world" — a fitting end to the Hawaii Community Foundation's very first Pillars of Peace program.

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