Welcoming the World
The live-stream video presentation on YouTube began at 10am on May 17th, the same time when the ceremony at Fuji Sanctuary would normally be getting underway. The first ten minutes of the video introduced Fuji Sanctuary, the global home of the SOPP in Shizuoka, Japan, with a slideshow of photos taken over the past many years. The images showed Fuji Sanctuary during all seasons, highlighting various locations and activities, especially prayer gatherings in the large outdoor prayer field, ringed by the flags of the world. “Through prayer for world peace,” the captions described, “and various activities and projects conducted here, Fuji Sanctuary has developed into a huge field of positive energy, filled with vibrations of love, harmony, peace, and light. Thus it became a source of positive energy radiating out to the rest of the world.”
After the slideshow, a welcoming message from musician and peace activist Mr. Nimo Patel appeared on the screen. Standing before a backdrop of the Earth flag, Nimo expressed his gratitude to all participants for joining in this broadcast with the intention to pray for peace. Among the words he shared were the following:
Thank you all for gathering in this spirit and this intention. Even though we are in these very challenging times for humanity, with so much suffering going on, I feel a deep ray of hope and light. I feel that our suffering and our challenges are a gift to us. They might not be a gift to us individually, but as humanity, it is an opportunity for us to awaken, to evolve, to grow, to learn, to love, to serve, and to pray… May we all continue, through the dark and through the light, to pray for everyone’s liberation from suffering. In the good times, may we pray prayers of gratitude for the blessings we receive.
I’d like to share this music video with all of you. It’s called “Prayer,” and it’s in the same spirit of our family that is gathered today. During these times, prayer has been a tool for many of us, and the message of this song is, ‘I am here, sitting in silence, sending prayers out for you.’
Lots of love to our SOPP family, to our family all around the world, to all of humanity, to all beings in the sky, in the water, and on land. May peace prevail on Earth.
Nimo then shared the music video for his song “Prayer.” The song and video are part of Nimo’s “Empty Hands Music” project, which is at the website emptyhandsmusic.org.
Then, the program began with the leadership and staff members of Byakko Shinko Kai appearing on screen live at Fuji Sanctuary. Byakko Chairperson Masami Saionji was joined by her husband Hiroo Saionji, Deputy Chairperson Yuka Saionji, Vice Chairs Maki and Rika Saionji, the Board of Directors, and three other staff members. Together, they read (in Japanese) a special message from Masami Saionji. The English translation of her message is below.
Special Message from the Chairperson
This year, being unable to gather at Fuji Sanctuary in our usual way, we are holding the 16th annual Symphony of Peace Prayers in a special online-only format. At present, the new coronavirus is having immeasurable effects, resulting in a worldwide crisis. Yet this, too, has been created by the accumulated thoughts and actions of each and every individual human being. We human beings are now paying the price for things we have thought, said, and done in the past.
But if we look at it another way, this situation is evidence that humanity is severing its ties with the mistaken words, deeds, and ways of living we have displayed up to now, and that we are entering a new stage in the process of manifesting our inner divinity. The time has come for us to join together as one in giving expression to our divine nature, taking the lead in this era when humanity’s divine spark is to be revitalized.
In a sense, this virus has reminded us of how closely interconnected we are. We are all members of the same human family, and now that we have entered this stage of our evolution, the idea of protecting only ourselves and our loved ones is no longer tenable. Up to now, many of us saw the wars, poverty, and hunger taking place in the world as far removed from our own affairs, and we could go about our lives without giving them much thought. But with this new virus, we are faced with a situation in which all of us are equally vulnerable, and the world’s problem is our own problem. We see that our individual actions can have far reaching effects on countless others.
And we can also see that when our individual efforts are combined and we work together, it exerts immense power and influence. This is the virus’s message to us. While protecting ourselves, we must also think of others, and act for others. And the fruits of our efforts will come back to us. When we are concerned only with our own well-being and act in a self-centered way, that too comes back to us. Now, humanity is learning the necessity for each individual to move from a mentality of dependence to one of self-awakening.
Our most basic stance has always been to steadily think of and pray for the peace and happiness of all humanity—and we will continue to pray until every last human being is free of pain and suffering. Keeping in mind that there is no such thing as happiness for oneself alone, we have at all times continued to pray for the peace of all human beings. That is our mission, our joy, and our path to our divine reawakening. Now, at long last, the time has come for this path to open up for the entire world.
For humanity to reawaken to its divine essence, the timing cannot be too early or too late. At present, there are more than 10,000 divine-minded people on this planet. As they continue forming the Divine Spark IN, they are sending an immense, sanctified physical energy throughout the world. At this very moment, someone, somewhere is forming the IN, and in doing so, is laying the groundwork for a re-emergence of the innate divine spark that resides within all human beings.
Now, at this very moment, we urgently need to bring together our collective wisdom, experience, and interconnections, gathered over many years, and send bright currents of divine awakening coursing vibrantly through the world. Even though we cannot be together at Fuji Sanctuary, the instant we close our eyes and begin to pray, we will feel that the SOPP is taking place here and now, transcending space and time. In that moment, our prayers reach beyond all boundaries of religion, nationality, ethnicity, and ideology, sending vibrations of peace throughout the planet. I am truly happy that we are able to hold this new kind of SOPP ceremony this year.
Everything we do comes back to us. In every moment there is light and inspiration, and the future resides there. It is because of the incredible work carried out by our prayer colleagues over many years that I can proclaim these things out loud.
The time is now. The work you all have done is tremendous. Let us once again concentrate our energy and clear the way for the rebirth of humanity’s divine spark.
With heartfelt gratitude to all of you.
After this message, the broadcast proceeded to welcoming remarks from Byakko President Tomohiko Naya and Chairperson Masami Saionji. As part of her remarks, Mrs. Saionji read her poem, “Compass of the Divine Spark.”
Tomohiko Naya, President of Byakko Shinko Kai
This year, due to the spread of the new coronavirus, we regret that we cannot invite you to come and gather at Fuji Sanctuary to celebrate the 16th annual Symphony of Peace Prayers. Instead, we are holding this year’s SOPP in a new online format, creating a virtual field where our individual prayers are united as one.
We invite everyone, whether you are able to view our online broadcast or not, to participate in this year’s ceremony using our program guide. I would also like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to our distinguished guests, who have given their precious time to join us in carrying out today’s program.
Normally, SOPP participants in other parts of the world would be holding local ceremonies and gatherings. But due to the circumstances this year, all of us, both inside and outside Japan, are connected in one worldwide network, creating a global field of prayer. The situation this year has reminded me that creating this large-scale vibration of prayer is the true meaning and purpose of the SOPP.
Today, I ask that all SOPP supporters around the world join me in mobilizing the power of prayer, rising above all differences of faith and creed, to ease people’s pain and anxiety amidst the difficult circumstances the world is now facing. May our prayers for true and lasting peace—what humanity needs most of all—reach every corner of this earth, so that all people will manifest their sacred spirit.
In closing, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to today’s prayer leaders for making preparations to appear in today’s video presentation. I would also like to sincerely thank our SOPP supporters, who have sent messages of encouragement and support for today’s ceremony. And to everyone who is joining hands and hearts with us today to make this Symphony of Peace Prayers possible, you have our utmost gratitude. Thank you.
Masami Saionji, Chairperson of Byakko Shinko Kai
Hello, everyone. Thanks to your support, we are holding the Symphony of Peace Prayers for the 16th time this year.
Normally, we would be welcoming a large number of people from all over the world to Fuji Sanctuary, as we do every year. At present, however, people around the world are anxious and fearful over the spread of the new coronavirus.
At long last, the time has come for the reawakening of humanity’s divine spark.
Through today’s Symphony of Peace Prayers, we seek out the sacred, divine essence that exists within every human being, giving expression to it in our prayers, and connecting with each other to build a peaceful world.
Compass of the Divine Spark (title not read aloud)
The world is enveloped in a swirl of light.
For each and every one of us, the purpose of our birth in this world
is to revive the divine consciousness that resides within us.
Just as the soul is forever immortal, so, too, is our divine essence.
The universe is perfect just as it is, and humanity, too, is perfect.
Due to our subconscious memories
that go back and back through previous lifetimes,
We have been constantly comparing ourselves to others,
thinking ourselves incompetent and incapable.
We underestimate and undervalue ourselves —
It’s no use, I can’t, It’s impossible.
But in truth, we human beings are nothing of the sort.
All these thoughts are images from the past, and they are now fading away.
Originally, we are the light of hope that ignites people’s hearts.
We are divinity itself, the great soul itself.
Those whom I call divine-minded people have fully manifested this divine essence that resides within them.
They have splendidly mastered the Divine Spark IN,
and every one of them can take pride in having reawakened their divine spark.
Who is it that is still drawing out their past subconscious thoughts,
suffering with distress and anguish?
All we should be giving to ourselves is gratitude and kindness.
When you feel that you must find time during your busy workday to form the IN,
Or when you are unable to form the IN many times, but focus all your consciousness on doing it just once,
there is no more virtuous act than this.
Among the seven billion people on earth,
how many are pouring out
their divinely-given life energy
for world peace and the happiness of humanity?
There is no use of our precious time so noble
as offering prayers and forming INs.
Now more than ever, we need to shed light on the true meaning of things.
The new coronavirus is raging across the globe,
and humanity is faced with unprecedented anxiety and confusion.
Heads of state, leaders, doctors, scientists, and experts struggle to find a solution.
At this time, the Divine Spark INs performed by some 10,000 divine-minded people
create an enormous swirl of light, and spread to every corner of the world, minimizing the disaster.
That is the point we are at today.
No one else can do this.
In this present day world, the only solution is the Divine Spark IN itself. There is no other way.
What makes this possible is the existence of each and every divine-minded person —
the workforce of divine-minded people.
Together with the universal God, Goi Sensei, the great spiritual assembly of light, and divine-minded people no longer living on earth,
the light of the Divine Spark IN reaches not only those who are forming it,
but all humanity, great nature, animals, plants, and even microorganisms.
Guided by the universal God, Goi Sensei, and the great spiritual assembly of light,
the great light of the universal God blends with the INs formed by divine-minded people,
and spreads to all living things and all that exists in this world.
If not for divine-minded people,
everything would have been destroyed.
The Divine Spark IN could not have descended from the divine world any sooner, nor any later.
Just before the collapse of the earthly world and the downfall of humankind,
the IN descended at Fuji Sanctuary in Japan.
As shining, divine-minded people keep performing the Divine Spark IN, everything will be saved,
and the entire world will be guided to a reawakening of our divine spark.
Thank you, divine-minded people; you are resplendent beings.
I have nothing but gratitude for your magnificent work.
In the precious times ahead, let’s do our best to bring all human hearts together as one,
and accomplish our mission of reawakening our inner divine spark.