Prayers for Peace and Gratitude for All Life
As Mr. Jung departed the stage to enthusiastic applause, flag bearers carrying the flags of 193 nations and the Earth flag (representing all other regions of the world) began to enter the Prayer Field from the back and proceed toward the stage. The M.C. remarked, “A country’s flag is a sacred symbol which represents the nation’s founding ideals and the spirit of its people. Our prayers, using the languages spoken in each country, can deeply permeate the hearts of the people of that land.”
A warm and rousing orchestral score set a tone of dignity and solemnity for the entry of the flags, as participants applauded throughout the parade of colorful symbols representing all parts of the planet. When the flag bearers reached the area in front of the stage, they moved backstage to prepare for the ceremony of Prayers for Peace in Each Country.
Before the ceremony began, Ms. Rika Saionji, Vice-Chairperson of Byakko Shinko Kai, offered a few remarks.
Rika Saionji, Vice-Chairperson of Byakko Shinko Kai
Today, I’d like to thank all of you who have come here from across the country and around the world, and especially those of you who have come to Fuji Sanctuary for the first time. Every month, we hold a ceremony where we say prayers for peace in 193 countries and all other regions of the world, in each country’s language(s).
For example, to pray for peace in Afghanistan, the flag of Afghanistan is raised, and we pray “Tel divi sola pa Afghanistan kushe (May peace be in Afghanistan).” As the flag of each country is hoisted, we offer our gratitude to the guardian divinity of that particular country, and we sincerely pray for the peace of that country. Among Byakko’s prayer colleagues and others who participate in these ceremonies, there are many who have memorized the prayers in all the various languages.
Our prayers are not for our wishes to come true—they are expressions of gratitude and joy to God, and important tools to help us awaken the divinity in ourselves. With the accumulation of many people’s prayers for peace, we can recall the divine spark within ourselves, which we may have forgotten.
Today, we will say only the word ‘peace’ in each of the languages. Instead of looking at our program booklets, let us pray with our mind directed toward peace, looking at the flag of each country. I hope you will all join in these prayers. Thank you.
The flag bearers arranged themselves on either side of the stage, and with the sound of a bell, participants joined in reciting the universal prayer May peace prevail on Earth. Then, each country’s name was announced as its flag was presented at center stage, and the M.C. spoke the word for ‘peace’ in that country’s national language(s), followed by all participants praying in unison. The flags were presented in succession as the ceremony continued through 193 nations. The participants themselves also acted as flag bearers, holding up the flag card they had been given when that country’s name was called.
Lastly, the Earth flag was presented, and participants prayed ‘peace’ for all the other regions of the world. The announcer noted that these regions included North Korea, Taiwan, Palestine, and Tibet. Then, with only the Earth flag remaining on stage, participants prayed May peace prevail on Earth three times, and the bell sounded once more to close the ceremony.
Next, participants were invited to join in a prayer of Gratitude for All Life on Earth. The M.C. introduced the prayer by saying, “We human beings are enabled to live as part of nature. How, then, can we be of service to Mother Earth and all living things on this planet? We can offer our prayer in gratitude to all creation, as a way to harness the true spark of all beings—to all people living now, to all forms of life on earth, to all phenomena that surround us, and to this incredible planet. Let us offer our prayers in deep gratitude.” Participants then repeated the prayer line by line after the M.C., with each line spoken in Japanese and then in English.
Gratitude for All Life on Earth
Thank you, dear Oceans.
Thank you, dear Mountains.
Thank you, dear Earth.
Thank you, dear Animals.
Thank you, dear Plants.
Thank you, dear Minerals.
Thank you, dear Water.
Thank you, dear Air.
Thank you, dear Sun.
Thank you, dear Planet Earth.
May Peace Prevail on Earth.