Bishop Matsumoto releases a statement against anti-Asian violence

From the Office of the Bishop,
Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii

Statement Against Anti-Asian Violence

March 21, 2021

The recent killing of eight people in a series of mass shootings that took place at Asian-owned spas in Atlanta, Georgia are both shocking and horrifying. We mourn the loss of life and denounce the continued acts of violence against Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities across our country.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began a year ago, there has been an exponential rise in hate crimes directed toward Asian Americans. As with other marginalized groups, there is a long and painful history of racism, scapegoating, and exclusion of AAPI communities in the United States.

The conditions for violence have been fomented by the continued use of hateful speech directed toward Asian Americans. This kind of racist language has resulted in verbal and physical harm. We must all work together to stop these acts of violence.

The Buddha taught,

The mind is the forerunner of all actions. All deeds are led by the mind and created by the mind. If one speaks or acts with an agitated mind, suffering follows, as the wheels of a cart follow the ox pulling it. If one speaks or acts with a calm mind, happiness follows, as surely as one’s shadow.

Let us take great care to use language in ways that foster compassion and love, not anger and hate.

The Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii is a spiritual community devoted to sharing the Buddha’s teachings so everyone may enjoy lives of harmony, peace, and gratitude. We decry with deep lament all acts of hatred and violence and we stand in solidarity with all who walk the path of peace and equality.

May we be guided by the light of all-inclusive wisdom and all-embracing compassion in the difficult days ahead.

Namo Amida Butsu

Eric Matsumoto, Bishop
Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii

Header photo: A sculpture of the Buddha’s hand in the Abhaya Mudra (Semui-in), which symbolizes protection, peace, and the dispelling of fear. The sculpture is in the stylized form of the Sukhotai Period of Thailand.