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12th Annual Lighting Our Way Banquet

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A thousand thanks to all our guests at PBA's 12th Annual Lighting Our Way evening, our Title Sponsors Leigh-Ann Miyasato and Hoyt Zia, our Banquet leadership, students, parent volunteers, and above all to our honorees for their inspiring and selfless giving to and leadership of our community.

One of Pacific Buddhist Academy's most anticipated events, the 2017 Banquet was standing room only! We look forward to seeing you again next year!

Click on the thumbnails below to view photos from the 12th Annual Lighting Our Way Banquet:

A New Chapter Begins for Pacific Buddhist Academy

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Achieving the milestone of a new classroom building for Pacific Buddhist Academy was a long time coming, but last Friday, we celebrated together at our Dedication Service and Grand Opening! The Dedication Service began with the familiar and beautiful sounds of a taiko drum as our many guests gathered for the dedication of our new classroom building that will allow us to double our enrollment. Leaders of the Hongwanji International Community from around the state, Japan and the mainland joined students and school supporters for the service.

PBA Altar

We are extremely fortunate for the years of teamwork from our trustees, parents, students, faculty, staff, temple leaders and members, and countless friends in Hawaii, Japan, and the mainland United States who have believed in our educational program since PBA was founded in 2003. We are grateful for His Eminence Monshu Kojun Ohtani, the 25th-generation descendant of Shinran Shonin and spiritual leader of the Hongwanji International Community, for ushering in a new era for PBA by officiating over the Dedication Service. Gomonshu-sama was joined by many guests from both sides of the Pacific.

On behalf of the students, faculty and staff of PBA, thank you to everyone who helped us achieve this new era in our young history. We look forward to many more milestones in the years ahead.

Classroom Building

In case you missed some of the great coverage we received for our Dedication Service and Grand Opening (that was reprinted on news outlets throughout the United States), please click on the following links: Honolulu Star-Advertiser; MidWeek. We will continue to send more links to print and broadcast reportage as it becomes available to us. Stay tuned for a video memorializing the events that will be posted to the school's website upon completion.

Science Lab

Students, faculty, Auntie Debbie and I will move into our new home in the next few weeks. College and Career Counselor Liane Viloria, Advancement Director Rüdiger Rückmann, Admissions Director Blanche Yarnell and Business Manager Patrick Ito will remain in the Annex Building, and PBA will continue to use existing classrooms and office space there.

Like most new homes, we still need a few more furnishings! What's New readers interested in making contributions for the new building can contact Rüdiger (Rudy) Rückmann in the Advancement Office or call him at 532-2649. To see our Learning Equipment Catalogue, please click here.

In closing, we are so very grateful to all of our school supporters, and wish to express our gratitude to all of you. We look forward to greeting you in the new building when we finish moving in.

Josh Hernandez Morse
Head of School

Photos courtesy of Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Give Aloha Month Has Begun!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Want to do your food shopping and support Pacific Buddhist Academy at the same time?! Participating in Give Aloha, Foodland's Annual Community Matching Gifts Program that runs the entire month of September, helps more families send their children and grandchildren to PBA.

Make a donation of any amount up to $249 at any Foodland, Sack N Save, and Foodland Farms in Hawaii with a Maika`i card and specify PBA with our code number: 78393.

Your donation will be matched by Foodland and Western Union Foundation. If you do not have a Maika`i card, you may receive one free from any cashier.

For more information call the Advancement Office, 532-2649.

New Building Final Stages: Landscape Installation

Sunday, September 3, 2017

We thought it would be nice to give readers a landscape shot of the landscaping for the new building. Green space on both the Punchbowl and mauka sides of the building will provide a very nice space for students and school supporters to gather, participate in life sciences learning, and enjoy the elements. NanaWalls (walls that fully open to the exterior) will give students and teachers the opportunity to move fluidly from interior to exterior.

Adequate shading will take a while to achieve: trees need to mature, exterior furniture needs acquiring, and we will collaborate with students to design an aquaponics and garden system on the exterior that supports student investigations in microbiology and urban planning and design. But those are ventures to look forward to, made possible by the beautiful new facility we are weeks away from occupying!

Transition to College

News Type: 
Friday, August 25, 2017

This time of year is bittersweet as we say farewell to our recently graduated students and wish them well on their exciting adventures as college students. Most students embark on this journey with their families as they help students move into their new living quarters. Class of 2017 alumna Chika Matsumoto is fortunate that her university offers a transition program for Hawaii students that will ease her acclimatization to the college environment. The Hawaii Club at Pacific University arranges airfare for all incoming freshmen to travel on the same flight. It also provides transportation from the airport to the school. Once settled in, the club makes arrangements to transport students to a local Target or Fred Meyer's to shop for dorm items such as bedding, towels, and other necessities. 

PBA Class of 2014 alumna and Pacific University senior Kelcie Miyakawa is Chika's mentor. She is tasked with helping Chika feel comfortable and guiding her through the move-in process. Admissions Officer Jeff Grundon (affectionately known as "Uncle Jeff") recently contacted PBA to report on Chika's progress: "I am very excited about Chika coming to Pacific this year and I know she's going to be an awesome addition to our 'Ohana," he enthused. "I'm so happy to hear that Kelcie will be her mentor. I know she will do a great job helping her settle in at Pacific." The Hawaii 'Ohana is everywhere. It is nice to know that the PBA 'Ohana is spreading far and wide also, and to know that Chika will be nurtured and supported at her new home. 

From Our Head of School: A Message About Recent Events in Charlottesville, Virginia

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Because of the public demonstrations of racism and anti-Semitism displayed by members of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, and knowing there will be other such demonstrations and counter-protests in the weeks to come, I feel it is important to inform the wider readership of What's New that the events have made a significant impression on students, teachers, alumni/ae and their families, and that members of our sangha are responding in important ways.

My message to students at the Monday morning assembly focused attention on how the events on the other side of the country matter to us in our school. At PBA, we have African-American students, alumni and previous teachers; Jewish and Muslim alumni; foreign national students and alumni; immigrant students, alumni and personnel; students, alumni and personnel of diverse sexual orientations and gender expressions. In our school community, we are one sangha, with diverse and divergent ancestral and faith traditions, customs and social and political opinions. We strive to communicate with one another effectively and respectfully, even when we cleave passionately to our points of view.

Otake Sensei invited members of the F.E.A.R. Club (Fighting Everywhere Against Racism), a student-launched club begun last year and advised by him and Humanities teacher Joe Udell, to join at lunch to discuss the hate and counter-hate demonstrations in Charlottesville. A number of us gathered together to discuss our feelings, and to think over things we might do in response.

Mr. Udell focused our attention on ways concerned students and faculty can respond to the white supremacist attacks in Charlottesville through a website link he found insightful. And Otake Sensei let us know about a second vigil that will take place this weekend hosted by Amnesty International next to the Waikiki Shell.

The broader PBA community was also involved in peace efforts. We received word that PBA alumni and alumni parents had joined the Be the Light vigil that took place at Magic Island last Saturday.

As a school committed to peace, we are committed to the welfare of all beings and to maintaining a safe, inclusive learning community for all who choose to join us. The members of our community will continue work toward the welfare of all beings. "Hatred ceases by love," says the Dhammapada.

With love and care for all of you,


Josh Hernandez Morse
Head of School

We're Counting the Weeks to Completion!

Monday, August 7, 2017

The last day of summer school at PBA marked a major milestone in our Capital Campaign.

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation made a special trip to our new classroom building and presented a check for $1.5 million dollars to support the growth and success of PBA. The Weinberg Foundation's Grant Director Gailene Wong thanked PBA for teaching students leadership skills in the service of peace in Hawaii's communities. Mahalo to all members of our sangha whose donations inspired the Weinberg Foundation to invest in PBA's future.

"We are so grateful to the Weinberg Foundation for making it possible to construct our new building," said PBA Board Chair Leigh-Ann Miyasato. "We'll look with pride at the sign designating 'The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation Building,' and we'll always be reminded of our link to the Weinbergs' generosity and their commitment to the Hawaii community."

Readers interested in making contributions toward science or other learning equipment for the new building can contact Rüdiger Rückmann in the Advancement Office at 808-532-2649 or

PBA's 14th Annual Taiko Festival

News Type: 
Sunday, January 12, 2020

The nation’s premier high school taiko program will take the stage with a showcase of student, faculty and guest talent on Sunday, March 15, 2020, at 4 p.m. at the Pearl City Cultural Center. The theme of Pacific Buddhist Academy’s 14th Annual Taiko Festival is Aspirations.

“When people come together and aspire to be the best they can be, they will be able to connect to each other in ways that inspire others to reach greater heights,” said Festival Director and Taiko Sensei Jay Toyofuku who has taught at PBA since the school first opened its doors in 2003.

Taiko is an integral part of the course offerings at PBA, the only high school in the United States with a peace-centered curriculum based on Buddhist teachings. Considered a reflective art, taiko offers students a foundation to enrich their mental and physical capacities.

Tickets for the festival are $30 for general admission and $25 for senior citizens and students. They may be purchased online using a credit card or PayPal, by phone at 808-532-2649, in person at PBA’s Weinberg Building at 1754 Lusitana Street, or by mail using one of the printable forms below. For sponsorship opportunities, please call Rüdiger (Rudy) Rückmann at 532-2649, ext. 412 or at 321-0372. or click here to learn more about Taiko sponsorship packages.

Click here to order tickets and sponsorships online and pay with a credit card or by PayPal.