The following message by Bishop Eric Matsumoto was distributed within the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii community and beyond on August 19, 2017.
In this time of uncertainty brought about by nuclear threats, racism, hate, and violence, let us go to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha for guidance.
The Buddha of All-Inclusive Wisdom and All-Embracing Compassion — Amida Buddha — in the spirit of True Equality, respects and loves all life equally and thus aspires for the enlightenment of all existence. May we take refuge and seek inspiration in this Great Wisdom and Unconditional Compassion.
The Dharma emphasizes that “Hatred is not overcome by hatred. Hatred is overcome by love. This is an ancient Truth” and “Anger creates anger… Revenge can only be overcome by abandoning revenge… The wise seek neither victory nor defeat.” May we seek the Wisdom of the Dharma/Teachings which is expansive as the great oceans.
The Sangha of our Jodo Shinshu Spiritual Leaders of the past three generations have shared important insights to harmonious living in hopes that there will be more peace in the world. They have emphasized that a person’s nobility is based not on birth, caste or race, but upon a person’s actions. Further, the preciousness of life. Last, but not least, the interdependent nature of existence in which we are all truly interconnected and interrelated.
In these troubled and turbulent times, as I ponder on what I can do, the first matter at hand is to self-reflect and realize how easily I am swayed by negative thoughts, emotions and impulses too. Another is to be aware of the fact that our true enemy is often not an external enemy, but the internal enemies of self-centeredness, arrogance, doubt, greed, anger and ignorance. Lastly, realize that if we want a change in the world, it is we who must change and that no lasting change will come about from anger and violence. Thus, as we aspire for a more peaceful world, instead of protests in which we clash, we should highlight the life and actions of people who have overcome discrimination, violence and selfishness in all parts of the world including areas that are currently plagued by extreme violence, terror and unhappiness. As we are illuminated by the Light of Wisdom and Compassion, may we realize that peace begins with each one of us and is dependent upon all of us.
Namo Amida Butsu/Entrusting in All-Inclusive Wisdom and All-Embracing Compassion
Eric Matsumoto, Bishop
August 19, 2017