Building Peace with Song and Prayer
Participants thanked the guests with warm applause, and then greeted a familiar face and a new one on stage—accomplished vocalists Ms. Tomoko Maekawa and Mr. Fumio Onuki. Together, the duo performed the song “We Are All Shining Divine Sparks,” which was written for the launch of the Fuji Declaration and first performed by Ms. Maekawa and others at the 2015 Symphony of Peace Prayers.
Ms. Maekawa and Mr. Onuki sang first in Japanese and then in English, as participants listened intently to their rich voices resonating through the Prayer Field. Then, participants were invited to join in singing the song a second time, and a chorus of thousands affirmed and celebrated the divine spark in song.
We Are All Shining Divine Sparks
Music by Toshiyuki Watanabe, Lyrics by Masami Saionji
Let’s rise above our differences, embracing our diversity
Let us create a future of peace and harmony
We all exist in oneness as part of the universe
Divine spark is in our hearts, shining through you and me
Following this uplifting musical interlude, the names of the distinguished guests attending this year’s event were read aloud, and each guest stood briefly from his or her seat to greet the participants. This growing network of support from leaders in a variety of fields is a vital part of the SOPP’s success. In addition, each year, Fuji Sanctuary receives several messages of support from past prayer leaders and guests. The message sent this year by Ms. Maria Flávia de Monsaraz of the Quiron Astrology Center in Portugal was read aloud, as an example of the connections that the SOPP has created with individuals and groups all around the world.
Next, the ceremony continued with an address by guest speaker Peter Jiseok Jung. Mr. Jung is Director of the Border Peace School in Cheorwon, Korea, and a longtime supporter of the SOPP and the work of Byakko Shinko Kai.
Mr. Peter Jiseok Jung, Director of Border Peace School, Cheorwon, Korea
This morning, I am so honored to be at Fuji Sanctuary, and so pleased to speak words of congratulation to everyone here, especially to Ms. Masami Saionji and Mr. Tomohiko Naya, at this wonderful peace festival, the 13th annual Symphony of Peace Prayers.
I am directing the Border Peace School in Cheorwon, Korea, which is two hours’ drive from Incheon airport. Our peace school educates peacemakers who are dedicated to peace work on the Korean peninsula and for the global community today.
Cheorwon is a border village between North and South Korea, and is itself divided into two villages, in the North and the South. I am living in the southern Cheorwon village, where the Border Peace School exists. This border village is a very militarized place. There are many landmines and many military base camps, with about forty thousand soldiers. We often hear the sounds of military shooting practice and tanks moving about.
The Border Peace School exists in the military control area, where civilian people are restricted by military checkpoints. The students practice three principles every day: study, pray, and work. At 3:00 every afternoon we walk a peace prayer pilgrimage to Mt. Soi, and at the top we continue to pray for peace on the Korean peninsula, in Northeast Asia, and throughout the world.
In 2013, a group of Byakko prayer colleagues came and planted a peace pole at the top of Mt. Soi. This peace pole gives out the light of prayer for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
It was in March 2013 that I started the Border Peace School movement. Before that, I was praying in Seoul, and I received a message from heaven. It said, “You have to work for the peace of North and South Korea and for the world. Go to Cheorwon!” I asked, ‘‘When?” “Now! Go to Cheorwon and see the divine love for your country.” That was really a strong divine message from God.
I was a university professor and a Christian minister living in Seoul. When I decided to abandon all I had and go to Cheorwon, friends of mine said to me, “Are you crazy?! Why would you go to such a remote and dangerous place?” But, my heart was filled with a new vision and passion. I came to Cheorwon and started praying for peace, first at Mt. Soi. For me, prayer was a simple kind of peace activism. From these peace prayers, the Border Peace School was born. It was fortunate that my wife and two daughters came to Cheorwon with me.
In Cheorwon, I am involved in the peace movement together with my friends. The peace school movement is now increasingly developing, in Seoul and New York. I hope that someday, young people from North and South Korea will come there and become peacemakers, for our country and for the world. Right now, there is only one school in Cheorwon, but I am planning to set up ten schools in the southern border villages, and hopefully, another ten partner schools in the northern border villages in the near future.
I know that you, the members and friends of Byakko Shinko Kai, always pray for world peace, and you pray for the peace of the Korean Peninsula. I appreciate it. Prayer is the most powerful spiritual weapon. Through prayer, we will overcome all hatred, racism, and physical and psychological violence, because the power of prayer is greater than any weapon. In this sense, Masahisa Goi’s call for the steadfast practice of prayer for world peace is still pressing and essential.
Recently, South Korea has a new president. The Korean people pray for the new president to be a peacemaker not only for Korea, but also for Northeast Asia and for the world.
I believe that by the power of prayer, peace and harmony between North and South Korea and between Korea and Japan will be realized. The only way to achieve peace in the world is through prayer, I believe. The prayers of citizens—ordinary people, women and men, old and young people—make our world better and more peaceful. Prayer is invisible, but it is the most powerful energy for us. Prayer is the most radical action to transform our society and our daily lives.
Once again, I would like to express my deep solidarity with the peace prayers of today’s Symphony of Peace Prayers. I hope you can continue this peace prayer work. God bless you now and forever. Thank you very much.