Her Holiness Shinso Ito’s address
Date: May 27, 2013
Location: Honolulu, Hawai‘i
Aloha, and welcome to Lantern Floating Hawaii 2013.
Let me first offer my heartfelt thanks to Mayor Caldwell, the Honorary Chairman of this event, to Governor Abercrombie, and to all our honored guests. I’d also like to thank the staff and volunteers who have made this magical day possible.
When the founder of Shinnyo-en, Shinjo Ito, and I visited Hawaii in 1970, we offered sincere prayers to the spirits of all who have ever lived here and we continue to incude them in our daily prayers. The people of Hawaii have a beautiful tradition of offering their gratitude and love to the departed through expressions of song and dance.
Similarly, the lantern floating is a moment of prayer - The lanterns symbolize our wish to remember our ancestors and share with them our appreciation, inspiring us with the courage to make a difference and improve the world around us. As Shinjo said, true peace can only be realized through the accumulated effort to achieve mutual understanding. Like the theme, "Many Rivers, One Ocean," we see a diversity of cultures, beliefs, and perspectives, yet we are united in one heart toward a common goal of compassion and peace. In the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, believed to be a culmination of the Buddha's teachings, it is written that we all have a buddha nature - our unique goodness and source of hope that shines brightest when we dedicate ourselves for the sake of others.
I hope you will join me in acknowledging our outward differences, while encouraging what is special in each of us and recognizing that in truth, the buddha nature that we all share is what unites us. All of us here today are connected through the light of the lanterns and are joined in our ability to promote harmony in ourselves and in others.
Let us start from the shores of Ala Moana to expand our prayers of love and generosity so that our actions of friendship reach far and wide.
Mahalo nui loa.