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Skylar Lam of Florin Wins BCA Youth Lyric Writing Contest

Lam Donates Prize Money to Maui Relief; ‘Storms and Peace’ Pays Homage to Hawaii


In June, the BCA Music Committee, in conjunction with the Federation of Dharma Schools Teachers’ League, sponsored a lyric writing contest for BCA youth under the age of 18.  


Several inspiring lyrics were submitted from aspiring Buddhist youth. The winner of this contest is Skylar Lam (he/they) of the Buddhist Church of Florin with “Storms and Peace.”  


Kemi Nakabayashi and Donna Sasaki of the BCA Music Committee have arranged for Frances Wong, musician and community worker, to compose the song to bring Skylar’s lyrics to life.  


Here are the words to “Storms and Peace”:


In the swirling of the storm 

Recite the Nembutsu 

And become 

My lantern in the darkness 


Walking on the middle path 

Recite the Nembutsu 

And guide me 

As I travel on this road 


Stumbling along blindly 

Recite the Nembutsu 

And help me 

Through every difficulty 


During times of peace and rest 

Recite the Nembutsu 

And show me 

The joy of being alive


This amazing lyricist is a 14-year-old entering McClatchy High School in Sacramento this fall. Skylar is inspired by music as he/they loves to write stories and poetry. Like many writers and lyricists, creativity can come at any moment. With this song, Skylar’s moment of inspiration occurred at 3 a.m.

 

Skylar, along with parents Henry Lam and Nadine Nouchi, spends every year on the island of Maui, Hawaii. Nouchi’s family is rooted in the Kihei area of Maui as well as Oahu. 


During the wildfires that devastated Lahaina, the family was in Kihei,  vigilant of the fires engulfing various areas of Maui.  


Upon learning of the extensive and heartbreaking destruction of Lahaina, Skylar had a discussion with Nouchi about donating the monetary prize from the lyric contest to the Maui Wildfire Disaster Fund set up by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii.  


Going one step further, Skylar contacted the BCA Music Committee to see if Wong could create the music with an island vibe, perhaps even incorporating the ukulele. This was done to honor those who lost loved ones, homes and history in the wildfire. 


The enigmatic losses on Maui generated an entirely new significance to the words of “Storms and Peace,” with Skylar’s lyrics, “the swirling of the storm … walking the middle path ... through every difficulty … recite the Nembutsu.”


Skylar and parents felt the donation and dedication of the song is “pono” — the Hawaiian word meaning “to do what is universally right” — in light of the unfolding island tragedy.  


Skylar has shown all of us the meaning of a life of gratitude. Through our interconnectedness, the impermanence of life and Amida’s compassion that grasps and never abandons us, Skylar and Skylar’s family have shown us a path to expressing our gratitude to all beings who have touched our lives. Thank you to Skylar and family for your generosity and most heartfelt compassion for others.


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