Bishop Matsumoto’s message for 2016 Gandhi Day in Hawaii

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016 was Mahatma Gandhi Day in Hawaii. Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii Bishop Eric Matsumoto was one of the speakers at a celebration event outside the Honolulu Zoo in front of the Gandhi statue; we share his remarks here.

Reflecting on the affairs of our world, there is an escalation in the number of violent acts both at home and around the globe which has resulted in so many deaths and the suffering continues for family and communities of those that were killed and at the same time the anger and suffering of those who commit violent acts, in many cases too, still remain unabated. More than ever what our world needs is love or compassion, but a love and compassion guided by Wisdom.

Bishop Eric Matsumoto speaks at Ghandhi Day 2016 at Kapiolani Park
Bishop Matsumoto speaks near the Gandhi statue at Kapiolani Park on Gandhi Day 2016.

This year, on the occasion of this 11th Annual Celebration of the International Day of Non-violence, I am encouraged by Mahatma Gandhi’s words “Love is the strongest force the world possess, yet it is the most humblest imaginable” and “Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.” Gandhi is speaking about a love and compassion, higher than the highest mountain and deeper than the deepest ocean, which does not divide people but instead brings people together.

In the Buddhist Tradition, besides the famous saying repeated by Sakyamuni Buddha that “Hatred is not overcome by hatred; hatred is overcome by love. This is an ancient law,” another wise and insightful saying shares

Victory creates hatred. Defeat creates suffering. The wise ones desire neither victory nor defeat… Anger creates anger… He who kills will be killed. He who wins will be defeated…Revenge can only be overcome by abandoning revenge… The wise seek neither victory nor defeat.

It is so easy to become entangled with thoughts like “I must win” or arrogantly think “I alone am right.” When such thoughts arise in me, I am reminded of the wise words of Prince Shotoku who emphasized harmony and said, “Let us cease from wrath and refrain from angry looks. Nor let us be resentful when others differ from us. For all people have hearts and each heart has its own leanings. Their right is our wrong, and our right is their wrong. We are not unquestionably sages, nor are they unquestionably fools.”

On this Mahatma Gandhi Day in Hawaii, let us, guided by Wisdom, reflect including self-reflect on finding the deeper causes and conditions which are resulting in the harm and suffering plaguing our world and the importance of non-violence as an expression of Compassion. May we be guided by All-Inclusive Wisdom and inspired by All-Embracing Compassion (Amida Buddha) reaching out to illumine our hearts and minds so we may realize that though we may have differences, there is also the paramount truth of the preciousness and oneness of all life.

Namo Amida Butsu and thank you!