Surf’s up on the North Shore. Word has it that Laird Hamilton (who put his famous “Jaws” house on Maui up for sale in February and plans to build a new home on Kauai, where he spent a good chunk of his youth) is back on the island and has even been spotted doing tow-ins somewhere around Tunnels Beach. So this morning I reluctantly checked out of Waimea Plantation Cottages and made the big swing from the West Short to the North where I checked in to Hanalei Colony Resort, a somewhat funky old hotel complex just down the road from Tunnels.
But before driving to Hanalei, I stopped at Kauai’s Hindu Monastery just outside of Kapaa. Yesterday I’d met a woman at the Waimea Plantation pool who told me the monastery was a very cool place and worth a visit. It’s not easy to find. You have to drive way up into the hills towards Mt. Wailaleale, following the twisty route of the Wallua River far down below you, until you get to a little residential neighborhood that dead-ends onto Temple Lane and the monastery. You park in the shady lot and wonder why in hell anyone would ever build a Hindu monastery—or any monastery—way up here. But the answer becomes self-apparent when you get your first view of the Wailua River Valley and, in the distance, Mt. Waialeale.
Before you go through the stone archway leading to the monastery grounds, there is a six-sided pavilion where you can pick up a sarong to wear (no shorts or skirts allowed). In the middle of the pavilion is a very beautiful rose-colored granite cauldron. A nearby sign suggests that you write down “any burdens, problems, internal challenges, or confessions (not prayers)” on a piece of paper and then burn the paper in the cauldron. “Emotion will be released from the memory and difficulties eased.”
Well, I was game. The only thing was that I was having trouble deciding on just a single burden, problem, or internal challenge. There were so many of them. I wondered if you could do more than one. I wondered if you could do like a dozen. Would all those emotions still be released and my difficulties eased? God, I certainly hoped so.
In the end, I decided not to get greedy. I just wrote down two major problems, on two different pieces of paper, and burned them one after the other. Then I grabbed a sarong from the basket and headed into the garden. I can’t say that I immediately felt that my difficulties had been eased but I’m guessing that maybe it takes a good 24 hours for miracles to happen. I’ve got my fingers crossed.