Fighting Two Wars: AJA Veterans Tribute Luncheon Benediction

A benediction given by Bishop Eric Matsumoto at the AJA Veterans Tribute on December 5, 2016, honoring World War II veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service, and 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion

As our Luncheon honoring our AJA Veterans draws to a close, may we give thanks to Nature especially the plants and animals for their gift of life which enables us to live another precious day. With the sustenance and energy thus gained may our thoughts, words and actions benefit many as did the actions of our Veterans 75 years ago. Today, we express our deepest gratitude to all Veterans for their noble, courageous, and loyal actions which in so many ways changed the world.

Veterans Reverend Yoshiaki Fujitani, Yoshinobu Oshiro, and Herbert Yanamura, all wearing lei, with Bishop Eric Matsumoto
Veterans Reverend Yoshiaki Fujitani, Yoshinobu Oshiro, and Herbert Yanamura with Bishop Eric Matsumoto at an AJA Veterans Tribute on December 5, 2016

However, as we look at the current affairs of our nation and the world, sadly, we cannot say that all discrimination, inequality and prejudice has disappeared. We must be diligent to see that history does not repeat itself. As we do, let us be guided by Great Wisdom to understand that external manifestations of discord are connected to internal afflictions like self-centeredness, arrogance and fear to name a few.

In the Buddhist Tradition, there is a saying “To conquer oneself is a greater victory than to conquer thousands in battle.” The “Two Wars” fought by our AJA Veterans were fought on two different fronts as stated by President Truman’s words. On one hand, the conditions of the times WW II, but there was another battle, the battle with the causes which lead to war, in general. Truly, both the causes and conditions of wars/discord must be addressed.

This is the legacy of our Veterans and aspiration that we must carry on, the aspiration for peace, harmony, equality and respect-Aloha as we would say in Hawaii, for all people by all peoples. May we be, internally, fortified with Wisdom and advance with Compassion so that, externally, as a Buddhist sutra says “May all life be happy and live in safety.” May we all be guided by an All-Inclusive Wisdom & All-Embracing Compassion.

Namo Amida Butsu