Warm Welcomes on a Cool Morning
Though the day was cloudy and cool, warm faces greeted each other in Fuji Sanctuary’s central plaza as participants and guests arrived, beginning early in the morning. Many took time to view panels on the SOPP’s history, the Fuji Declaration, and the Soul of WoMen campaign. Some wrote messages on small stones, to be added to the large World Map next to the Prayer Field, while others browsed in the book store or contributed to a large collective mandala.
On their way into the Prayer Field, participants were handed a laminated national flag card, to hold up during the Prayers for Peace in Each Country. At 10 am, the live internet broadcast began, hosted by Fumi Johns Stewart of the World Peace Prayer Society. Prior to the start of the ceremony, viewers were shown a video introducing Fuji Sanctuary and the SOPP.
The ceremony began at 10:15, with opening remarks from Tomohiko Naya and Masami Saionji, the president and chairperson of host organization Byakko Shinko Kai.
Tomohiko Naya, President of Byakko Shinko Kai
Good morning everyone, and welcome to the Symphony of Peace Prayers. I would like to sincerely thank all of you who have travelled from across Japan and around the world to gather here today.
We have held this ceremony each year since 2005, and today is our 13th annual SOPP. During that time, the network of people who support the objectives of the SOPP has broadened considerably, and we now have SOPP ceremonies and peace prayer gatherings taking place in all parts of the world. On this day, our prayers for peace here at Fuji Sanctuary become united with the prayers sent out by thousands more across the globe. Through this connection, the prayers that we pray exert a much stronger power, and I am confident that they are steadily guiding the world towards peace.
There is great power in prayer, and this is the driving force behind the SOPP. As we pray the peace prayers of various religious and spiritual traditions, I believe that the consciousness and the prayerful vibrations of each one of us come together to form a powerful collective prayer that is sent out to the world. In our quest for lasting peace, I believe that the SOPP has a tremendously important role to play.
Whether we are working in government, diplomacy, business, medicine, education, or any other field, the time has come when each of us must ask ourselves and decide: From what perspective are we envisioning a new future for this world, and will that vision draw forth the kind of future that humanity desires? The current state of world affairs reminds us that in order for us to build a peaceful world, each and every one of us needs to take responsibility for it.
This year, we are focusing on a vision for a harmonized world where the divine feminine and divine masculine are in balance. The prayers for peace that we will pray are also in alignment with this shared vision. I am confident that the consciousness generated through our prayers will send a powerful, encouraging message to each and every member of humanity.
In closing, I would like to express my deepest respect and heartfelt gratitude to all of Byakko’s prayer colleagues, who support the SOPP both materially and spiritually, to the prayer leaders, who show us the preciousness of prayer, and to the many distinguished guests we have welcomed here today. In addition, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone who sent warm messages of support to the SOPP, and all of you who are joining with us in prayers for peace from around the world.
It is my hope that through today’s ceremony, the consciousness of every human being will be directed to thoughts of building a peaceful world. Thank you very much.
Masami Saionji, Chairperson of Byakko Shinko Kai
Welcome, on this beautiful day, to all of you who have come from across Japan and around the world. I am filled with joy and gratitude to see you gathered here.
Last night, I was unable to sleep, thinking about all that is happening in the world. So much energy is being directed toward destruction and unrest. There is so much pain, struggle, confrontation, illness, and environmental devastation.
What can we do to help lift humanity out of this destructive cycle? The most important thing is to know of the divine spark that resides within all of us—to know that we are all shining divine sparks. Children are naturally in touch with their divine spark. Small children know when they are ready to walk, when they are ready to speak. This ability is innate in children, and also within all of us. We all have this inner wisdom, this inner divine spark.
When we grasp hold of our divine spark, we can accomplish anything. Anything is possible for us. But at present, most of humanity has closed their hearts to their divine spark, holding on to fixed ideas and assumptions. People feel helpless, unable to accomplish their life’s mission. Put down by their families and their society, people lack confidence in themselves and go through life denying their inner power. They become dependent on others, handing over their power to doctors, educators, and other experts. What is needed is for people to tap into their divine spark—their inner truth and inner strength.
Today, we human beings are at a crossroads, and it is critical that all of us awaken and evolve. We must continue praying for world peace and uniting in this mission. We are not going to be healed or rescued by forces outside ourselves. We have to seek out and draw forth the healing power within us. That is our role and our mission. When we live by these truthful principles, we naturally receive love, gratitude, and compassion from others.
Let us stop comparing ourselves to others and competing with others. We can enter a path through which all will become possible for us. We can greet a world in which environmental destruction will be curbed—where confrontation, struggle and prejudice will come to an end. We will greet the day when all of these things will be healed.
When we pray for an end to the pain and suffering in the world, we do so with positive words and affirmations. This is how we break down and transform the waves of negative thoughts. As soon as you gathered here in the Prayer Field, your energy created a massive, brilliant field of positive thought waves. We join together in harmony and unity here in this Prayer Field, and I feel a tremendous transformation already taking place.
My time is limited, but what I would like to say to all of you is that you are here to accomplish a mission. You came here today from your own heart. Maybe some of you were encouraged by others to come, but in the end, you decided in your heart to come here. You brought your physical presence here, and through that, the divine spark is going to manifest within you, and within all of us.
Of course, we continue to see many problems, such as the struggles of refugees, taking place in this world. But in response, we keep offering our prayers, to purify that negative thought energy. We offer gratitude to nature to elevate the consciousness of humanity. I am so deeply grateful for your precious prayers and your precious existence. May peace prevail on Earth. May all of our missions be accomplished. Thank you very much.