A Message for Peace
|World Prayer for Peace in Milan, Italy:
I am a Zen Buddhist from Japan.
For a long time, we lived pondering the question of war and peace. Is it really an eternal for humankind?
The twentieth century was indeed an age of war. It was a time of many wars all over the world.
And the people of the world hoped, entering the twenty-first century, that it would be the age of changing from war times to peace.
But on September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center buildings in New York were destroyed by a terrorist attack.
America, aiming to unroot the cause of this, started war with Iraq. And also today, many people become victims of this war as the world watches closely.
Though all people wish for peace, in reality, anxiety over war is growing more and more.
If you ask children which country is better, that of war or peace, no doubt they would choose peace. It is the same with adults. People of the entire world would choose to live in a peaceful society.
But why then does war go on and on? What is the cause of it?
They say on the earth lives 6 000 000 000 people. Every person has dignity. Regardless of nationality, age, or gender, everyone has a noble life.
Should it be allowed for one human to take others' precious life? I think for anybody it must be clear that it should not.
But who, knowing that it is bad, decides on war. Who allows the killing called war?
To know that this is bad, on need not ask God. Nevertheless, this evil action is taken.
To explain Buddhism in one phrase, it is: Do not do bad, do good.
All children grow up being told by parents and teachers not to do bad and to do good. So even children know this.
But even for an old man in his 80s, it is very difficult to practice.
Even if one knows the noble teachings of Buddhism, it does not mean
one is able to practice it.
If we know that war is bad, we have to strive to walk the path of peace.
That's why also Japanese, having admitted the past war was wrong, have to reflect, repent, and swear not to repeat it. We have to walk the path of peace.
This is the new humanism for a future Japan. Fifty-nine years ago, for the first time in history, Japan became the victim of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese experienced this pain.
Japan is the only country, which insists that this nuclear assault, being the first, should be the last. There lies the great role of Japan.
That's why Japan must keep their constitution of peace. We have to reflect on what life is if not respected.
To be a Buddhist is to respect and take care of any kind of life, and to put this principle in to practice. We must not compromise our efforts in this.
This time, in Milan, city of tradition, religion, and culture, I take in the 19th World Prayer for Peace Meeting led by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, through the Community of Saint Egidio.
This is most important for me now as a religious man and as a human. No matter how much you cry for peace, it is not something, which comes easily.
But if we lose the heart wishing for peace, we will lose ourselves as humans. We all want to have the heart, which holds the prayer for peace.
I want to thank the organizer of this meeting, the Community of Saint Egidio for sending the message of peace together with the world religions. As well, I want to thank all those who made this meeting possible. I would like to conclude here.
Thank you for your attention.
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