Messages from Home and Abroad
As in years past, the SOPP at Fuji Sanctuary was supported and attended by many distinguished individuals from Japan and overseas. Some are religious and spiritual leaders, while some are active in other fields such as business, science, education, and the arts. Many have been longtime supporters of the SOPP and have attended the ceremony several times, while some were new to the event. Their continued support is greatly appreciated, and as their names were read aloud on stage, participants welcomed them with heartfelt applause. A few of this year’s guests were kind enough to offer their impressions after the ceremony.
At the same time, many messages of support and encouragement were sent to Fuji Sanctuary from past prayer leaders and guests living outside Japan. Over the years, this dispersed group of individuals has formed a still-growing network of people working for peace and the elevation of humanity’s consciousness. We are pleased to publish a few of their messages below.
The Rev. Dr. James Channan OP, URI Regional Coordinator and Director of Lahore Peace Center (Pakistan)
Fr. Channan was a keynote speaker at the 2007 SOPP and a prayer leader at the 2010 SOPP ceremony.
I am extremely happy to know that a Symphony of Peace Prayers is being organized once again at Fuji Sanctuary in Japan. This event draws thousands of people of different religions and spiritualities from all over Japan and other countries. It is a clear manifestation of how needed prayer for peace is in our troubled world. People have a great thirst for peace.
Peace is not the absence of war. It is a state where all human beings receive justice, love, equal rights, religious freedom, acceptance, and respect. It is a condition where there is no discrimination on the basis of religion, gender, or caste. Each of us has to work very hard to fully carry out our own role in building this state of peace. Creating peace poses great challenges for us, but peace is possible, provided each of us fulfills our own positive role in creating it. Peace is taught by all religions, and every person, whether or not he or she believes in a religion or spiritual tradition, can pray for peace. When prayers are offered together at one place, in the manner of each person’s religion, it is a great expression of the unity that we share.
To build lasting peace, each person has an important and indispensable role to play. Each of us has to ask ourselves, ‘What can I do to promote peace and harmony in the world? How can I bring a positive change in the world? How can I create peace within myself, in my family, and with the people living around me?’ No one can give something that he/she does not have, so each of us needs to say, ‘Let peace begin with me.’
I have had the honor of participating in two SOPP ceremonies at Fuji Sanctuary. I was deeply impressed by the prayerful atmosphere and very visible expression of peace in the face of every person I saw there. It was so wonderful for me to personally share this experience with people of various religions: Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Shintoists, Taoists, Zoroastrians, Baha’is, and so on, all praying together. Prayers for peace were offered for the entire world with the words ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth!’ And each country was prayed for, with the words ‘May peace prevail in…’ as each country was called by name. It was marvelous to witness a prayer for peace offered for every country, in the national language of each country. It was really amazing for me. I am sure it was the same for others as well. Not a single country was left out. This year, too, I know that prayers for each country will be offered. I salute this splendid vision for the entire world. I will join with you spiritually during this great peace prayer event.
We will be observing this day in Pakistan, to fill the grave need of peace and harmony in our country and throughout the world.
I congratulate Ms. Masami Saionji, Chairperson of Byakko Shinko Kai, the World Peace Prayer Society and the Goi Peace Foundation for introducing and spreading the message of peace around the globe. I also congratulate the entire organizing team of this great peace event. I am sure this SOPP event will call forth a great, positive peace vibration all over the globe. May Peace Prevail on Earth!
Dr. Jagdish Gandhi, Founder and Director of City Montessori School (India)
Dr. Jagdish Gandhi organized SOPP events in at City Montessori School in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
I take this opportunity to congratulate you for inspiring people all over the world to celebrate the Symphony of Peace Prayers. The SOPP is a magnificent event for all humanity, because everyone from every culture and country in the world is welcome to send prayers of peace. We wish ‘Symphony of Peace Prayers 2014’ great success. We firmly believe that deep within the heart of every human lies an inherent true desire for peace and harmony.
The Rev. Cannon Charles P. Gibbs, Executive Director of the United Religions Initiative (United States)
The Rev. Cannon Charles P. Gibbs was a prayer leader at the 2012 SOPP ceremony.
Symphony of Peace Prayers
This symphony of peace prayers
rising from Earth’s aching heart
sounds notes so deep, so high, so pure
they pierce the world ego, opening
a way to the One, the Source of all
wisdom – empty and overflowing
sound and silence abiding in the moving
stillness of eternal becoming:
Guide us, we pray, away from folly
far from shore into open waters
where cleansed and renewed we flow
forth as the limitless light of peace.
Dr. Bawa P. Jain, Secretary-General of the Millennium World Peace Summit (United States)
Dr. Bawa P. Jain was a prayer leader at the 2012 SOPP ceremony.
It gives me immense pleasure to offer a brief message for the grand peace prayer ceremony at Mount Fuji. Allow me to express my deep regards and sincere good wishes to Madam Masami Saionji, Ms. Rika Saionji, Ms. Maki Saionji, and Ms. Yuka Saionji, and indeed to all of you gathered here for this sacred ceremony that will send prayers and hope through every corner of the world.
The majestic Mount Fuji, for me, is a place of immense inspiration. I meditate on it, and see it every day of my life. This is one of the centers of energy in the world. Prayers offered here will surely benefit all.
You gather here at a time when the world is confronted with enormous challenges and untold misery. Yet, there is a mountain of hope in front of you. Today, let us join together and pray that the world is rid of misery and filled with a unique spirit of oneness. Vasudhaiva Kuttambakam—the world is one family.
We now know very well that what we do here impacts everyone in the world—local actions have global consequences! Pray and then follow up with concrete action, my brothers and sisters, that indeed peace may prevail in the entire world!
Ahimsa Parmo Dharma—non-violence is the greatest religion, indeed it is the key to global survival! Warm regards and all good wishes.
Mother Mangalam, President, Pure Life Society (Malaysia)
Mother Mangalam was a guest at the 2007 and 2010 SOPP ceremonies.
Love, Peace, and Unity—these mentally and spiritually elevating words are the best in the human dictionary. Yet we have not been able to sustain them.
Man’s quest for peace is eternal. As far as we know, history has had many truces signed between nations and governments, through the centuries. Yet, it is such an elusive element and we still have wars and cold wars.
Talking about peace and love and displaying it through assemblies, speeches and dramas alone cannot establish these values. We will have to make every attempt to tone up ourselves in body, mind and spirit to face the several challenges that affect us from time to time. The challenges can be lack of material needs, ill health, natural disasters, fraying tempers, erratic tragedies in the environment such as earthquakes and tsunamis, political instability, relationships between loved ones, and the like.
We should always be mindful of the fact that the body is a divine instrument with great potential. It has got the mind, the spirit, the emotions and the vital energy and all these are driven by our will, which we are free to use. The body is often referred to as a ‘temple’. In order to keep the ‘temple’ clean, one must eat healthily. Once our ‘temple’ is in order, our thoughts will be in order and when our thoughts are in order, our intentions will be pure and with such intentions, our output of work will be beneficial to others and once those are in place, everyone will live in peace, harmony and happiness.
The way forward to the establishment of love, peace and unity is an inner journey so that these values can remain established in us, in all circumstances and for this inner journey, one needs to raise one’s consciousness to a higher level and merge the individual mind into the Cosmic Mind at least for half an hour in the early morning hours and in the evening—in other words, a period of silence. This will help the individual to build up a sense of security within oneself. Insecurity is the root of all wars, cold wars and violence.
In conclusion, I wish to state that the rise of any family, institution, community or nation to success depends very much on love, peace and unity. To be able to achieve this, each one of us will have to be embodiments of unalloyed peace and love. As Mahatma Gandhi had stated ‘be the change you want to see’. If each one of us can change ourselves, we can certainly materialize what you and I want to see, that is, love, peace and unity.
Mr. Mohammad Abdur Rahman Siddiqi, Chairman, International Muslim Center (Japan)
Mr. Mohammad Abdur Rahman Siddiqi was a guest at several previous SOPP ceremonies as well as the 2014 SOPP ceremony.
Peace and mercy be on all those working for harmony, strength, and coordination among the people of different faiths.
Now in 2014, the 10th Symphony of Peace Prayers is being organized to underline the need and importance of peace through mutual understanding, tolerance and cooperation. The superb management with personal care and attention to every detail of this historic event is perhaps unique and unmatched all over the world!
It is not an easy task to bring a large number of people of various faiths and religious backgrounds together at one place for the single object of prayer for peace. This activity deserves appreciation and congratulation. The successful holding of the SOPP proves that people can have their own faith and different beliefs with different cultural backgrounds, and yet they are ready to unite and stand together for prayers for peace.
Therefore, it is always a happy occasion for me to attend the SOPP, and I may record here that I have attended most of the SOPPs held at Fuji Sanctuary, ever since the first one in 2005. I am honored to be invited as a special guest and represent Islam and Muslims in Japan.
Considering the confusion, misunderstanding, and mistrust surrounding religions, the SOPP is a fruitful effort for promoting mutual understanding among people of different walks of life, and trust among them. The SOPP’s concept of mutual cooperation, friendship, understanding and respect for each other’s faith is very much compatible with Islam. I would therefore recommend to Muslims all over the world to support the basic principle of the SOPP—peace and service to humanity and the highest respect for God without any reservations, and working for peace to prevail on earth. We have to decide to live with the differences and march forward with common points, without leaving our own faith and beliefs. That is the only way to achieve peace in a world where there will be no monopoly for anyone. The world belongs to all and each one who lives here and will die here on this earth. Let Peace Prevail on Earth!
Mr. Akira Yoneda, President, The Human Science Institute (Japan)
Mr. Akira Yoneda was a guest at the 2007 and 2009 SOPP ceremonies.
Congratulations on holding the tenth annual Symphony of Peace Prayers. I would like to express my great joy and appreciation to Mrs. Masami Saionji, the SOPP Executive Committee, and all the guests and participants who have come together at Fuji Sanctuary, without regard for religious differences, to pray for world peace for the tenth consecutive year.
Last year, Mt. Fuji was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it was decided that Tokyo will host the 2020 Olympic Games. From now until 2020, we will move towards an age of renewal, in which humanity’s common wish for peace and oneness are achieved through a dimensional elevation of the earth and the evolution of human consciousness. It is of great significance that the tenth annual SOPP is taking place in this pivotal year.
There is a high-dimensional energy in the hearts and minds of people at the SOPP. This energy transcends time and space, radiating throughout the earth and the universe. When many people pray for world peace at the same time, the vibrations of their prayers co-resonate and create a tremendous energy that accelerates the realization of world peace and the renewal of Earth.