Messages of Peace
With extended applause, participants expressed their appreciation to all the prayer leaders as they exited the stage. Next, two of the distinguished guests present at the ceremony were invited to say a few words of their own.
Dr. Shlomo Alon, Head of Arabic and Islamic Education, Israeli Ministry of Education
Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honor and the ious years. to insert this because otherwise the readers could think that she doesn’t acknowledge the prayer we received in privilege to be here. I am so thankful to Mr. and Mrs. Saionji and the Byakko Shinko Kai board of directors and staff, who made possible my wife’s and my presence and participation at this very unique celebration and ceremony.
At this difficult time in Japan, we can only admire the spirit, courage and strong belief of the Japanese people. As Mrs. Masami Saionji has said: “Life is a process of creation. Each of us is continually creating our own self.” We feel here, in the midst of the challenges that our Japanese brothers and sisters went through, the truth of the words of the Jewish Talmud. I quote from the section of Avot: “It may be not granted you to complete the work, but you are not free to withdraw from it” (Avot, 2:21).
Let us follow now the wonderful words from Psalm 34. I will read it in English and in the original Hebrew text:
“Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalm 34: 13-14)
May peace prevail on Earth.
May peace be in our homes and countries.
May peace be in Japan.
May all our missions be accomplished. Amen. Shalom.
Mr. Tetsuro Ogiwara, Editor
I would like to express my deep condolences for the victims of the great earthquake that struck the eastern part of Japan. In addition, I send my deepest sympathy to those affected by the disaster and their families, and I pray for a swift recovery.
On March 11, we awakened from a long sleep. Up until that day, most of us had been impervious to the world’s problems, as if in a dream. Even though, if we looked around the world, we saw countless people who had lost their homes, we did not seriously consider the possibility that such a thing might happen to us.
Until the accident in Fukushima, we did not take a close look at the dangers of a combined earthquake and nuclear power plant disaster, even when we were warned of the possibility. We did not make any real efforts to build a new civilization in which clean, renewable energy plays a central role.
Sadly, most of us, including myself, do not change our way of thinking until we are pushed into a pit of despair. But now, Japan has reached a point of no return, and many people have realized that we cannot move forward unless we make a change.
We human beings have experienced an agricultural revolution, an industrial revolution, and now we are in the midst of an information revolution. Following the nuclear power plant accident, Japan has finally begun to shift gears toward a natural energy revolution. This is a sign that we have reached the limits of the conventional energy framework, in which energy is looked upon merely as fuel to move machines.
In order to transcend this conventional framework, we need to see energy in a new light. Solar energy, for example, is not only the physical energy that we get from light and heat, but also the energy that nurtures all life. At the same time, energy is not only something we receive from outside, but also something that flows forth from within us. Like the sun, we too can shine our inner light and love on one another. This two-way flow of energy is essential.
This is a spirit of giving and sharing. When we look at the current information revolution, which seems to be connected to the natural energy revolution, we see that information does not exist by itself, but flows around and around in an endless exchange of thoughts. This image of the future is depicted in the mandalas that many of you have written.
In order to open the door to a new civilization based on natural energy, we need to harness the wisdom of the future to change our current outlook. The future is about opening up new horizons while simultaneously returning to the source.
I was reminded of this during today’s ceremony, seeing the prayer leaders from various faiths and spiritual traditions, who are guiding people toward a new future while inheriting the wisdom in which their practice is rooted.
At one time, ‘nature’ was referred to in Japan as jinen, indicating the inner world, in which we manifest our true self, just as it is. From this meaning, we can perhaps say that the ultimate natural energy is the infinite energy that wells up from our inner source. It may well be the world of Ware Soku Kami Nari and Jinrui Soku Kami Nari—affirmations of one’s own divinity and the divinity of all humanity.
May the first cries of a new civilization ring out from the foot of Mount Fuji, which has long been worshiped as the womb of the mother goddess.
May peace prevail on Earth.
Over thirty special guests attended this year’s ceremony, including religious leaders, business leaders, scientists, artists, and others. Many of them had participated in previous SOPP ceremonies, and all are proponents of the SOPP’s message of peace and tolerance whose support is highly valued. Their names were read aloud on stage.
The SOPP has also generated an international network of like-minded individuals that continues to grow each year. Following the events of March 11, many of these overseas supporters, including several former prayer leaders and guests, sent prayers and messages to Fuji Sanctuary. A selection of these messages is offered below.
Fr. James Channan, OP, Regional Coordinator, United Religions Initiative (Pakistan)
Fr. Channan was a keynote speaker at the 2007 SOPP and a prayer leader at the 2010 SOPP.
This year, in 2011, the SOPP is being observed after very painful and devastating events which Japan has experienced resulting from the massive earthquake, tsunami, and aftershocks. Such heartbreaking events are still happening as I am writing this message. While in Pakistan my heart and soul mourned to see how much destruction of property and loss of valuable lives has resulted from these catastrophes. It has been hard for me to believe the extent of the damage done to the peaceful nation of Japan.
I salute you for your courage to confront these calamities and never give up hope for a peaceful Japan and peaceful world. I know the people of Byakko Shinko Kai at Fuji Sanctuary have been showing enormous love and care for the entire nation through their prayers and messages of comfort and consolation to one another and the nation.
Spiritually, I feel very encouraged and united with you, knowing that, in the midst of these difficult and challenging times, you have decided to hold an SOPP on the 22nd of May. I pray that this event may be an expression of peace and unity among all religions and nations, and that all will have the courage to face difficult and challenging moments such as earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters.
Here in Pakistan, every day we are confronted with the challenges of terrorism, suicide bombings, the killing of innocent people and discrimination done in the name of caste, creed and religion. Our nation is going through painful times and uncertainties, and thus we need much healing, reconciliation, and a peaceful coexistence where the life, religious freedom and dignity of every person is respected.
The people of Pakistan will unite with you at this historic event. The Dominican priests will offer special Holy Masses in our churches and the members of the United Religions Initiative (URI) in our region will also join you in this spiritual gathering for peace and harmony. The URI and Dominicans will also organize an SOPP at our Peace Center in Lahore on the same day as yours at Fuji Sanctuary. I am sure we will experience the spiritual waves of these prayers.
I congratulate all organizers of the SOPP and all those who will participate in this from all over Japan and elsewhere.
May peace prevail in Japan! May peace prevail in Pakistan! May peace prevail on Earth!
Dr. Jagdish Gandhi, Founder-Manager, City Montessori School (India)
Dr. Gandhi organized an SOPP ceremony at the City Montessori School this year (see page 55).
We admire the courage, composure, and maturity of the people of Japan, who have withstood this tragedy with dignity and are trying hard to bring normalcy.
In the midst of this calamity, what I have noticed most is the admirable patience, forbearance, and poise displayed by the brave people of Japan. The Japanese people have faced numerous natural disasters through their history, and the world knows how brave the people of Japan are in the face of adversity. I sincerely hope that the most difficult time is over, and that life will start afresh. My prayers to God are that no such calamity would ever befall Japan in the future.
The entire family at the City Montessori School prays to God for the departed souls, and for the courage of the survivors to face the reality of the tragedy. I am confident that the country will restore normalcy soon and rise to the occasion. With best wishes and kind regards.
Dr. Ashok Gangadean, Founder-Director, Global Dialogue Institute (USA)
Dr. Gangadean was a participant in the 2007 SOPP Round Table Discussion.
As we listen deeply to our diverse wisdom, teachings, and sacred scriptures across our planet and through the ages, we find powerful global wisdom, teaching us that we the people suffer in countless ways when we are severed from immediate and intimate communion with our Infinite Source.
We learn from this global spiritual truth force that diverse forms of violence, breakdowns in human relations, personal fragmentation and alienation all trace to the chronic egomental patterns of life that hold us captive and keep us separated from our Sacred Source and from flourishing together in this Sanctuary of Awakened Life.
And so our Universal Prayer for our Human Family is that we will rise together in mindful life to embody this global wisdom of the ages in mutual care, compassion, and reverence for all life.
We pray that our Human Family will find our way into this Sanctuary of Peace, Love and Global Enlightenment.
Dr. Nirmala Kajaria, Director, Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga Centres, Asia-Pacific Region (Australia)
Dr. Kajaria was a guest speaker at the 2007 SOPP.
Greetings of peace to all our brothers and sisters throughout the world. On the occasion of the 7th annual function arranged by Byakko, I express my sincere gratitude for your efforts to create peace.
In today’s world where fear, anger, insecurity, tension and enmity preside, it is peace that the world needs more than anything.
People are chasing blindly after wealth and material possessions despite the often negative effect on their health and relationships. People have forgotten the ‘inner self’ and their original nature of peace, love and happiness.
Let us firstly remind ourselves of our original religion of peace and love and then go on to remind others. It is time to bring to mind the beauty of a life filled with honesty and compassion and to make these qualities practical in our lives.
It is by kindling the lights of individuals, one by one, that the whole world can be lit. Enlightenment is passed from soul to soul—from one to ten, from to ten to hundreds and from hundreds to thousands. In this way, our whole world will become lit with the sparkle of enlightened souls and there can be peace on this Earth.
Each of us is the foundation of a world of peace. By thinking, acting and speaking in peace we can show that path to a world of peace to many.
The practical mantra for peace is, ‘Peace starts with me. When I become peaceful others will see me and follow.’ Om Shanti.
Mr. and Mrs. RainbowHawk and WindEagle Kinney-Linton, Co-Founders and Directors, Ehama Institute (USA)
Mr. and Mrs. Kinney-Linton were prayer leaders at the 2007 SOPP.
We see this year as a year of All Possibility and All Potential for all beings on this planet. We are shifting from our separated consciousness in our small cities and nations to a Planetary Consciousness. We are remembering our origins as beings of light and our oneness with all life in this universe.
Through our collective prayer we call for the highest consciousness to be awakened in this universe, the highest consciousness of love and gratitude. We pray for love and gratitude to grow for our planet, our waters, our air, our earth, and our sun and stars.
We pray for love and gratitude to grow for our trees, and forests, our plants and flowers. We pray for love and gratitude to grow for all our relations in the animal kingdom. We pray for love and gratitude to grow, in the hearts of all humans to extend to each other across this planet.
We pray for the light vibration in each being to rise to a higher and higher frequency that we may reach oneness in the universal song of life on this planet, and finally, with our thoughts in this moment, we send our collective prayer voice calling for the wholesome and beautiful energies of peace to open and flower amongst the people every place on our earth.
We send our love and blessings with this prayer.
Pastor Don Mackenzie, United Church of Christ (USA)
Pastor Mackenzie was a prayer leader at the 2010 SOPP.
May it be that the world will rise from the depths of the troubles which imprison all of us now, and find new energy, new hope, and through our stronger spirits, our prayers and our imaginations, new and healing ways to be in relationship. A new world is being born. May we be given what is required to contribute to our extraordinary future of peace and hope!
My sense is that a better world is coming. It is a matter of faith and of history. From the point of view of history, life contains both joy and sorrow. And, often, we find that life becomes so difficult that we despair and lose hope. But history is a record of new life being born as troubled worlds are dying. For example, in Europe in the late medieval period, it seemed that the world was coming to an end with the Black Plague. So many people were dying. But then the Reformation and the Renaissance were born. It seems to be a cycle.
From the point of view of faith, I believe that God intends healing for all of creation and that new life will continue to be born underneath the troubles of difficult times.
Maitreyi Amma, Spiritual leader (France)
Maitreyi Amma was a special guest and speaker at the 2010 SOPP.
I am so happy and grateful that I could take part in the 2010 SOPP. It was a wonderful moment of prayers, sharing and joy, giving a unique feeling of the oneness of humanity. Participating also created a link, a connection of heart and prayers, among all of you, myself, and through me, Śrī Tathāta in India and many persons in France.
In this difficult time for Japan and the world, we have, thanks to this connection, a deep feeling of brotherhood with you all in addition to an immense appreciation for the courage and dignity of the Japanese people. We have also been and are united with Masami Saionji and all of you in prayers, day after day. We are sure that all the difficult developments are in fact a step on the path leading to a higher world consciousness.
Together, through our prayers and action, let us build a better world.
May peace prevail on Earth! Infinite love and light.
Rt. Rev. Włodzimierz Nast, Holy Trinity Church (Poland)
Rev. Nast was a prayer leader at the 2007 SOPP.
“Perpetual unrest in the world… permanent anxiety in human beings”—these are the notions we find in a renowned and popular Christian hymn in Poland. However, it is not the sole observation about our reality. The hymn culminates in words: “We build peace every day, in ourselves, in our families, at work…” and “Blessed is the man who brings peace around…”
It also recalls the message of Jesus Christ: “Peace I leave with you… not as the world giveth…”
We are to build peace, not to fight for it with the use of weapons, which, unfortunately, we often witness in the contemporary world and which has often been the case in the history of mankind. Instead, encouraging words of prayer can be the most powerful and effective weapon, especially prayer which is shared by many people of various backgrounds.
Years ago, Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun, a country that has recently been scourged by the unrest of the trembling earth and the tragic tidal surge of the sea, initiated this close-to-the-heart but, it turns out, hard-to-accomplish message: “May peace prevail on Earth”.
May this prayer, this demand, constantly move human hearts and minds in the whole world, in a positive and not a destructive way!
Mr. Muhindo Mapendo Kasongo Pascal (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Mr. Pascal organized prayer gatherings in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2010 and 2011 (see page 51).
Why is peace not established in the world? I can answer that question by saying that the world can change to a positive situation if people change their minds. Meaning, when they will be able to give first place to spiritual values and second place to all other things. That is the way of nature’s order. Only the natural law helps make harmony in things, and realize a development which can really make people happy in the world.
For example, the natural law reveals to us that human beings are created each to the other, that they must live in solidarity with all other living beings. Therefore, I have to respect another human being, protect him, love him, be kind to him, pray and contribute to his or her happiness.
The law of force builds walls between people. It is thus important to take those walls down, and to build bridges between the people. Indeed the essence of a human existence is found in the fragility of love, tolerance, non-violence, forgiveness, reconciliation, truth, peace-nature and democracy.
On this day of celebration of the Symphony of Peace Prayers, I join you in prayers for peace from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.