Bishop’s invocation upon the opening of “Courage and Compassion” exhibit at JCCH

Bishop Matsumoto delivered this invocation at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii on the eve of the opening of a national, traveling exhibit entitled Courage and Compassion: Our Shared Story of the Japanese American WWII Experience.

Oh, Immeasurable Life and Infinite Light (AMIDA), as we gather for the opening of the Exhibit “Courage and Compassion, Our Shared Story of the Japanese American World War II Experience,” I share a reflection as part of this invocation.

In one of the Pure Land Sutras, it shares the Buddha (actually the Bodhisattva Dharmakara)

“…harbors no thought of greed, hatred or malice;…Possessed of the power to persevere, …does not avoid personal challenges and difficulties to accomplish the goals set forth. (omit) Courageous and diligent, disciplined and untiring, the Buddha pursued the pure Dharma, the Teaching or Ultimate Truth thereby benefiting the multitudes. …and shares the great storehouse of merit with others.”

Imbedded in this passage are important virtues and characteristics of our veterans like perseverance, not being dissuaded by personal challenges, courage, diligence, discipline, benefiting others and sharing merits gained with others.

A key word, for us tonight, is gratitude. Gratitude is defined as “Knowing what has been done.” Gratitude arises out of awareness and is a motivating energy or force which directs us in a certain, very positive, direction. Tonight, we express our deepest gratitude to all veterans for their loyalty and noble and courageous actions which changed our lives forever. May we, of the generations after our veterans, be motivated by our gratitude to our veterans for their courage and compassion. As President Truman mentioned,

“…Americanism is not a matter of race or creed, it is a matter of the heart.” “You fought not only the enemy, but you fought prejudice — and you have won. Keep up that fight, and we will continue to win — to make this great Republic stand for just what the Constitution says it stands for: the welfare of all the people all the time.”

Sadly, however, the current affairs of our nation today shows that other “fight” (with discrimination and prejudice) which President Truman refers to has not been won.

We must be diligent to see that history does not repeat itself for anyone. This is the legacy of our veterans and their families and the aspiration that we must carry on, the aspiration for peace and harmony, equality and respect for all people by all peoples. May we all be guided by an All-Inclusive Wisdom & All-Embracing Compassion.

Namo Amida Butsu/Entrusting in the Buddha of Immeasurable Life & Infinite Light

display panels from Courage and Compassion exhibit; src:
The exhibit will be at JCCH through December 9, 2017. More information on the JCCH website »