Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha statement calling for an immediate ceasefire and end to warfare between Israel and Hamas

Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha is the mother temple of the Nishi Hongwanji branch of Jodo Shin Buddhism. This statement from the Governor General was originally distributed in Japanese on November 17, 2023. Honpa Hongwani Mission of Hawaii received an official English translation on April 15, 2024. Both versions are available on this page. The statement is also available as a PDF document.

Statement calling for an immediate ceasefire and end to warfare between Israel and Hamas

On Russia’s aggressive invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, we, the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha Buddhist organization adopted the following resolution on the occasion of our annual General Assembly (March 4, 2022); “As people of Japan, the only nation that has been hit by atomic bombs, as Buddhists who cherish every life, and as Nembutsu followers who aspire for peace across the world, we condemn this aggression by disapproving the self-righteous excuses made by the authoritarian government. As learning from human history, we wish for this war to end at once.” Sadly, we must restate this passage once again as another armed conflict now takes place.

Triggered by Hamas’ October 7, 2023 missile attack, the warfare between Israel and Hamas has brought about a hellish situation to the Gaza Strip. A devastating attack by Israeli military of a hospital in Gaza City has stood out as an outrageous example of warfare’s cruelty and unlawfulness. This is a battle between armed forces who uses unarmed civilians as their human shield and the world’s leading powerful military who doesn’t mind victimizing those people. Lost in such battle are civilians’ lives, many of whom are women and children. As of November 11, it was reported that eleven thousand people have been killed, of which more than 40 percent or 4,506 were children. During a November 6 interview, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres described the situation saying “Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children” and hearing so has struck our hearts greatly.

Shinran, the founder of the Jodo Shinshu teaching had also lived during a warring age in which many people suffered. Identifying himself as one [of] them, he described the most marginalized people as “they are… none other than we, who are like stones and tiles and pebbles.” Shinran never wished for his own happiness only, and in reference to himself and others as “we,” represents his deep feeling of bond with all humanity tied together through the Nembutsu teaching. It is a matter of course, that we would like to have his teaching as the basis of our lives, but it is also necessary for us to learn from his way of living.

As the saying goes, “Nobody wins a war.” In the first of the Forty-eight Vows that says “there should not be hell, the realm of hungry spirits, or the realm of animals in my land,” Amida Tathagata pledged to guide us to a world that is free from suffering. As Nembutsu followers who have encountered this Buddha’s wish, we naturally come to aspire for a world in which everyone can live in peace and harmony. In accord with the Buddha’s vow, in consideration of those who have been suffering from this battle, we call for immediate ceasefire and an end to war.

November 23, 2023

Governor General IKEDA Gyoshin
Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha




宗祖親鸞聖人の時代も戦乱の時代でした。聖人はその時代を直視し、最も苦しい立場にある人々を「いし、かはら、つぶてのごとくなるわれら」として、共に生き抜かれました。自分だけの安穏を願う生き方にとどまることなく、共にお念仏で結ばれた「われら」という言葉に込められた聖人の思いに深く耳を傾けたいと思います。今、私たちは、親鸞聖人のみ教えを依りどころとすることはもちろん、苦しみ悲しむ人々と共に歩まれたその生き方に学ぶことが必要です。 戦争に勝者はありません。私たちは、四十八願で「地獄、餓鬼、畜生」などの苦しみのない世界を願われた阿弥陀如来のお心に導かれ、自他共に心豊かに生きることのできる世の安穏を願う念仏者として、このたびの軍事衝突で苦しむ全ての人々に目を向け、即時の停戦と早期の終結を願います。


浄土真宗本願寺派総長 池 田 行 信

See Also
All Messages in the Social Concerns Category
All Messages by the Governor General, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha