Masami Saionji, Chairperson of Byakko Shinko Kai
On March 11, the Tohoku region was struck by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, the largest ever recorded in Japan. On top of this came the devastating blows of a massive tsunami and a nuclear power plant accident. The ferocity of this tragic incident is so intense that it takes our breath away.
Both physically and emotionally, the entire Japanese archipelago is still experiencing violent shocks. At present, the reports of hardships and deaths have not ceased, and as of now there is still no means of recovery in sight.
It is, I think, of great significance that the seventh annual Symphony of Peace Prayers is being carried out at this time. Now, it is time for us to rise to our feet and, without averting our eyes from the harsh conditions occurring all over the world, take on the task of breathing new life into Japan so that it may renew itself and carry out its true, spiritual mission in this world. With the understanding that each of us shares the same destiny as Japan, let us join together in living and praying for humanity as much as we can.
Serving as a symbol of world peace, I believe that Japan has the role of paving the way for humanity by drawing out and developing its intrinsic sanctity. Now more than ever, what each of us must do is to pray, body and soul, with all our heart and spirit, for the peace of the world and the happiness of humanity.
Let us pray, and pray, and pray. Prayer is all there is. Whatever we may do, at the bottom of our minds each and every human being must keep a current of prayer flowing. Without this current of prayer, nothing lasting can be accomplished. Be it politics, religion, science, or education, if it is not based in prayer, it cannot bring about lasting peace. The only thing that can change the world and spark the true reawakening of humanity is prayer—nothing but prayer.
Through the many diverse prayers offered at the SOPP, we are melting religious barriers, showing recognition and respect for one another’s prayers and sharing our peace visions with one another. In this way, we are joined with one another in perfect oneness with the harmony of the universe.
Our sincere prayers are re-enlivening the divine flame of love and peace that originally shines in each human heart. No matter what happens, we must never be discouraged; we must never, never, never give up.
With this firm assurance, let us demonstrate to the world the power of prayer. Let us make the Symphony of Peace Prayers the cornerstone for a new and peaceful world.
Following these opening remarks, a group of about one hundred presenters entered the Prayer Field, lining up in front of and on the stage to perform a prayer without words expressed through deep, peaceful breathing. Their prayerful waves of harmony and healing set the tone for the rest of the day. Then, the ceremony moved on to its central program, Praying with the Religions of the World.