Five locations: Chicago, New York City, Sandpoint, Sandpoint, Seattle
Chicago: report by Jennifer Kim
In Chicago we held a gathering at the Peace School at the same time as the ceremony at Fuji Sanctuary, which for us was the evening of May 15. We sat in a circle with a large globe in the center and small flags for each country set up in two circles around the globe. We spent about two hours together, doing a lot of meditation and ‘World Peace Breathing.’ We sent out waves of peace to all the countries of the world, one by one. We spent more time on a few selected countries to send them extra energy of peace, such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Korea, Pakistan, and our own country, the United States. We expressed our gratitude to the great spirit of the Earth and to the huge number of bright spirits supporting our planet’s progress. We felt a very strong, pure energy of peace and love flowing during our ceremony. We also felt a strong connection to Fuji Sanctuary, to others around the world participating in the ceremony from their own locations, and to all the bright spirits beyond the physical world tirelessly supporting us moment by moment.
New York City: report by Pamela Beasley
We held a small prayer gathering in New York’s Central Park. It was a magnificent day, and everyone arrived with great enthusiasm to participate in this event. We prayed for peace in each country in the country’s own official language(s), which everyone found to be truly uplifting. It gave us such a feeling of great unity and purpose to work for the elevation of humanity’s consciousness, and to be able to contribute to the peace of all humanity.
Sandpoint, Idaho: report by Mary Lou Warns
This year was quite different from last year’s celebration of the SOPP in Sandpoint. My work schedule got in the way of my being with the group in Sandpoint, so I decided to hold my own little SOPP celebration at work! I work as a massage therapist at a beautiful spa in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. In our ‘break room’ I have pictures of Mt. Fuji and the Prayer Field at Fuji Sanctuary. Last year, several of my coworkers drove to Sandpoint to join the celebration. So, this year, at about 6 pm local time on May 15 (when the celebration started in Japan), my coworkers and I gathered in the break room and agreed that we would infuse all of our treatments that evening with the energy of peace.
I work with about 50 other massage therapists, aestheticians, nail technicians, and others. We offered our own prayers for peace, just by emanating peace in all of our treatments, actions, and words. It was a wonderful feeling. And, I have to admit, our business has been very busy since that day!
On May 16, the Byakko satellite group in Sandpoint went to the Sravasti Abbey. It is the only Buddhist Monastic Community in the United States, and it is right in our backyard. Keiko Lewis had met the Venerable Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron the week before, and found out that they were having an open house on May 16. It was an incredible experience, and perfect timing for the SOPP!
Sandpoint, Idaho: report by Keiko Lewis
We had a lovely event with children at a preschool here in Sandpoint, Idaho. We began by gathering around a peace pole and singing “Let There Be Peace on Earth” and praying world peace prayers. Cynthia, who runs the preschool, explained to the children about the Global Peace Meditation and Prayer Day event. The children (ages 4-6) focused on sending their prayers out to the world. Their concentration was amazing! After the ceremony we enjoyed making a peace flower with origami paper. It was marvelous to feel that we are co-creating a whole new world together!
Seattle: report by Anita Mammoser
We held a service at the Interfaith Community Church in Seattle, where Sheik Jamal Rahman is a minister. This year, as Sheik Rahman was at Fuji Sanctuary, Karen Lindquist led the exploration. The congregation did some interfaith readings and watched the Gratitude to Nature video produced by Byakko Shinko Kai. They also viewed some written mandalas, and four of us performed a special peace prayer from Fuji Sanctuary. As I watched the faces of the congregation I saw that they were watching and listening intently, and there was a beautiful moment when I realized a young man in the back row was mirroring the movements of our prayer as we performed it. We ended the service around the church’s peace pole and the congregation prayed for peace in the world and in our homes and communities.