Statement on the invasion of Ukraine released by Bishop Matsumoto and Committee on Social Concerns

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

Statement on the Invasion of Ukraine

March 25, 2022

We have watched in sadness and horror the destruction caused by the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Our hearts go out to all those directly involved in and affected by this conflict. The senseless loss of human life and the trauma of war will have lasting repercussions on so many for we are all interconnected.

The poisons of greed, hatred, and ignorance are at work in our world causing immense suffering. Shinran Shōnin, the founder of Shin Buddhism reflects on our capacity for unwholesome and destructive actions, “Human beings are such that, maddened by the passions of greed, we desire to possess; maddened by the passions of anger, we hate that which should not be hated, seeking to go against the law of cause and effect; led astray by the passions of ignorance, we do what should not even be thought.” Illuminated by the Buddha’s Light, we reflect on our human proclivity for violence as we actively cultivate the conditions for peace and the well-being of all people.

We should acknowledge that we are all too often swayed by fear, insecurity, distrust, and doubt. As peoples and nations of the world, we should come together to deeply hear each other’s concerns with the aspiration to alleviate suffering, assuage historic wounds, and work towards creating a lasting security and peace for the entire world.

Guided by the Buddha’s Teachings, we deeply lament this war and compassionately call for an immediate end to the conflict. We support humanitarian aid for victims and have made donations to Doctors Without Borders and World Central Kitchen for their work on the ground in Ukraine and neighboring countries. Let us all support relief efforts and call for an end to the aggression and violence.

As Shinran Shōnin encouraged during a troubled time in the past, “I hope that everyone will, deeply entrusting themselves to the nembutsu and firmly embracing prayers [for peace in the world] in their hearts, together say the nembutsu.” May the light of all-inclusive wisdom and all-embracing compassion guide our thoughts, words, and actions along the difficult journey to peace.

Bishop Eric Matsumoto
Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii

Rev. Blayne Higa, Chair
Committee on Social Concerns

Header photo: Frame from a YouTube video, “In the streets of Kharkiv, Ukraine-2022 – Bach Cello Suite no 5 in C minor BWV 1011, Prelude,”