Message for peace

A Message for Peace


The sun
the moon and the earth
all together
the spring of this world

 On 24th Jan 2002 the 'Convening for peace prayer by representatives of worlds religions' was opened in Assisi, Italy, to which the honourable Pope John Paul II had called.

 It is hardly necessary to mention that Assisi is the birthplace of the holy Francis. Many monks are still maintaining his monastery. Pilgrims from all over the world continually gather there. How comes this meeting took place in Assisi?

 On 4th Aug 2002 a great ceremony was held on the occasion of the '15-years anniversary of the summit meeting of all religions' at the Hieisan temple near Kyoto, Japan. Afterwards a conference on peace prayer and dialogue with Islam was opened at the international congress hall in Kyoto.

 The wish for peace is in the heart of everybody. Since it is necessary right now to do something to end terror and war on this world. Even though we have this wish, in reality no country is safe from war and no society is kept free from terror; for it is humans who terrorize and who fight in wars. But where does this mind of humans, which leads to such ends, come from? It is, that man has both sides, good and evil, in him.

 Assisi is a holy place, where the spirit of peace of the holy Francis is being honoured. It is a place, saturated by the spirit of this monk, who made it his task in life to search for balance between good and evil of humans. Content with honest poverty, he was a saint, who devoted himself to humility and love. A saint, who respected the lives of plants, birds and all animals. His heart was filled with a spirit and with thoughts that transcended the frame of his own religion, Christianity. He was a monk, who searched for harmony between human and nature.

 This peaceful spirit in Assisi is of great importance. The Pope and representatives of religions from the entire world went by special train from the Vatican's train station to the meeting in Assisi. The words at the beginning of this text are a poem, the asking and the prayer of the author (Roshi Hozumi), who also participated.
In Japan there is also a yearly summit meeting of religions, which originates from this spirit of Assisi.

 Most likely we have to wish for harmony between humans and nature, aim at the living together of man and all beings and raise a spirit of symbiosis with nature, instead of subduing nature. Here we have to find a way out of the current attitude of man to see oneself as centre.

 The sciences are necessary as well. However, as a human one has to stop using unethical technologies.
Medicine also is necessary. But what about the morals of those doctors who do research which one shouldn’t do?
Education is also important for man. However, as humans we also should stay away from the kind of education, which one shouldn't do. Of which kind is true education, we have to ask ourselves.
When we work in commerce we also have to restrain ourselves from deals that one shouldn’t do.
'A wise man loves property. This he gains by following the right path.'
Even someone who is called wise enjoys property. But in order to gain this property the right path, that is human ethics, virtue is to be followed. Isn’t that clearly pointed out in these words?
The same applies to politicians who also shouldn't settle the affairs just via money and power. As a human one shouldn't go so far as to do things one shouldn't do.
In the life of a human there are things one shouldn't do. Even though we know that it shouldn't be done, we finally fall for it. This spirit is bad.

 That this is a difficult task for myself became clear to me, but only a short while ago, when I turned sixty. Until then I was somehow indifferent. Today I think that this was not to be excused. Feeling remorse today, I keep asking myself, how one should live as a human being, and go for purification.

Then, as it happens
to act, that is right.
Shido Munan, Zen patriarch

 On this I model myself.
Some time ago I declared myself a 'lifelong Unsui'*. Now, on occasion of the peace pilgrimage to Assisi I set out wearing the cotton Unsui-robe in remembrance for the time, when I practiced Zen under the guidance of Roshi Mumon Yamada. The heart, the spirit of this time I held up to myself. I told myself
'The beginner's mind ought not to be forgotten',
and carefully preserved a humble spirit. Luckily, as if that could be felt, the monks of Assisi received me with warmth. They friendly made welcome me, a Buddhist and mere Unsui.

 I prayed for the well-being of all the Christians and went back from Assisi to the Vatican with the Pope on the same special train.

* Unsui means 'clouds and water': to search for truth calmly and without dwelling as drifting clouds and flowing water. It is the name for monks undergoing Zen training under the instruction of a true teacher, called Roshi.
Roshi Hozumi, after having been recognized as Roshi, called himself a lifelong unsui.

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