26th Annual Nagasaki Peace Ceremony
August 9, 2019
Message by Pieper J. Toyama
President, Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii
Good morning. On this occasion, it is important for us to reflect on the events that unfolded in Nagasaki 74 years ago. And in the light of the leaders who are on the world stage today, leaders who have the power to set in motion events that can profoundly affect as all, it is critical that we reflect on where we are today.
In the act of reflecting, the Buddha called upon us to see and deal with life as it really is, unhindered by our prejudices and attachments. But as we all know, this is a daunting task. When we reflect on the past and on the condition of our planet as it is today, it is not unreasonable to succumb to deep feelings of fear, helplessness, and even hopelessness.
But the Buddha also said that “Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything exists is in relation to everything else; everything is dependent one upon the other.” The reality of life is that the leaders on the world stage exist because we exist; they are dependent on us as we are dependent upon them. We are all profoundly interconnected.
This is the truth that the Buddha taught us. And it is from this truth that we must now act. This truth of the interdependence of all things calls upon us to live lives of compassion in which the suffering and the happiness of others become our suffering and happiness. This truth calls upon us to recognize the preciousness of our lives and the lives of all others. By living our lives with love for ourselves and others, we add to the causes and conditions that move others to live with love. This is what we can do today.
So let us bring to this day, smiles and gentle words … mindful greetings … loving acts of kindness. This is what we can offer to the memory of those who suffered in the Nagasaki tragedy 74 years ago. This is how we can transform fear, helplessness, and hopelessness into hope and love.
I close by saying the name of the Buddha in gratitude for our precious lives and the opportunity for good it offers: Namo Amida Butsu