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Her Holiness Shinso Ito’s address

Date: May 25, 2015
Location: Honolulu, Hawai‘i

Aloha! Welcome to Lantern Floating Hawaii!

I see many people here today—enjoying Memorial Day, the beautiful Hawaii sunset, this moment together with family and friends. My heart fills with gratitude to be here with all of you.

Let me take this moment to thank the people who make it possible for us to share this magical day each year, beginning with Hawaii Governor David Ige, City Managing Director Roy Amemiya representing Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, and our other honored guests.

I wish to also give my deepest thanks to the staff and volunteers, and to the wonderful people of Hawaii.

Many of us may be here to remember people dear to them, to give them our words of love and thanks.

Perhaps they have passed on recently, or many years ago, leaving as their legacy the precious memories we have of them.

Our gratitude to those who have made our very lives possible inspires our actions in the present.

As we reflect on those we love, we also cannot help but think of our own experiences.

On a personal level, I think about how I have been nurtured in my spiritual training in the Buddhist path at Shinnyo-en, founded by Masters Shinjo and Tomoji Ito. Seeing their lifelong dedication for others has made me who I am today.

I have also had my share of challenges—the parting with loved ones, even betrayals by those once trusted. But I have also shared moments of unsurpassed joy with many of you.

Remembering the past, it is only natural that we are made aware of both the blessings and the sorrows.

In reflecting on all of that—we cannot help but be awakened to what we hope for the future.

We are awakened to a passionate enthusiasm for what is most important—a courageous heart and a devotion to the well-being of others.

Buddhism encourages us to have a firm resolve for compassion—to be undaunted in our loving-kindness.

Only through being ardent—by which, I mean, both being committed but also being unselfishly loving—do we approach inner peace, balance, and harmony with everyone, and everything around us.

As we float our lanterns tonight we honor those we love and remember—all the lives that have led to who we are, the unforgettable people who have shown us kindness and generosity, to all life on earth.

But we also make a new commitment for our own lives.

We resolve to extend the strong examples of the best actions of those who have inspired us.

The light of the lanterns coming together is the light of our commitment, linking past, present, and future.

And with this light always burning within us, we can continue to express our loving-kindness— no matter how big or small our actions.
Let our inner light burn strong to create ripples of friendship and harmony for a brighter tomorrow.

Mahalo nui loa.