A MESSAGE ON PEACE

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I deem it deeply significant that I have this opportunity to express my heartfelt desire for peace and harmony at Hiroshima which is rich in the tradition of Jodo Shinshu.

The horrendous bolt of nuclear flash devastated Hiroshima on the 6th of August, 1945, instantaneously destroying the city and assassinating tens of thousands of people, and left in its wake other thousands whose spiritual and physical wounds would long remain. Together with the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, it was a portent of the total destruction that awaits mankind by man's own hands and the threat to the future of the sacred lives of men.

The development of technologies and the researches in sciences, originally were undertaken as means to cater to the comfort and happiness of man, but depending upon how they are utilized they will definitely become the roots of evil for all life on this earth.

Today, the nuclear bombs have become more powerful than ever and their stockpiles are said to be so great that mankind could well be destroyed several times over. That which urges nations and people to race for atomic supremacy is the underlining distrust and fear in their hearts. When we reflect upon the true nature of man, the gravity of his evils become evident. Shinran Shonin, the Founder of Jodo Shinshu, has poignantly taught this to us by saying, "When karmic condition so decree, there is no knowing what we might do." All of us saw a demonstration of what happens in times of national crisis and personal exigency in the now lamented late World War. Only from a profound retrospection on the wounds we gave to others and on those that we suffered can there arise a true desire for peace.

Shinran Shonin frankly appraised the nature of man as being evil-ridden, egotistic and foolish, and revered the absolute Truth of the Buddha that embraces such a man with Infinite Light and Infinite Life. In this embrace, the world of mutual understanding and trust becomes manifest. We should take to heart this teaching of Shinran Shonin and awaken to the Truth, and solidify our relationship with our fellowships with our fellow men with this Truth. Therein lies our reprieve from the horrors of thermonuclear explosions and response to the wishes of those people who lost their precious lives in the war.

At one who has faith in the Truth of the Nembutsu, it is my sincere prayer that there shall be, as soon as possible, the bonding of mutual trust in the hearts of all mankind and the realization of a lasting peace and harmony on earth.

March 6, 1982

KOSHIN OHTANI
Monshu
Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha

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