R.I.P Mitsuo Aoki – Hawaii’s Living Treasure

Mitsuo Aoki was my ProfessorMitsuo-Aoki
He was 95.

Professor Aoki introduced me to the writings of Paul Tillich, Soren Kierkegaard, Simone Weil, Camus, Martin Buber, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others in his class at the University of Hawaii. He used to step on top of the podium and do the Zorba the Greek dance. His lectures were so moving that many of his students in class were often in tears. He was a Buddhist and a Christian and a cosmic dancer.

A Mystery to be lived mitstaichicutout

My First Age began, when in my birth, I very wisely chose my Japanese Buddhist parents. So some 80 years ago, I started life in a Sugar Plantation, on the Big Island in Kohala, in a village called Hawi.

He did work with Paul Tillich.

Counselor on dying rejoiced in life (Obit from Star Advertiser)

The Rev. Mitsuo Aoki helped countless people, particularly cancer patients and their families, with his compassionate outlook on dying.
“He was sought out a lot for his wisdom,” said the Rev. Clarence Liu, chaplain of Hospice Hawaii. “He lived his dying in the very same way that he shared about it and talked about it. There was great integrity and great truthfulness in the way he lived his life.”
Aoki, a theologian, minister and college professor who founded the religion department of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and served as an influential figure in the establishment of Hospice Hawaii, died Thursday at his Pohai Nani home in Kaneohe. He was 95.
Born in the plantation town of Hawi on Hawaii island, Aoki, known as “Mits,” attended the Chicago Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary.
According to longtime friend Rick Bernstein, who knew Aoki for 40 years, he was raised in the Jodo-shu Buddhist tradition and converted to Christianity in the 1920s. He was a recipient of Honpa Hongwanji Mission’s Living Treasure award and the Jefferson Award for outstanding community service.

Dying people are my people
In 1957 Reverend Aoki experienced an out of body experience when he had a car accident.