Address by Her Holiness Shinso Ito
Aloha! Welcome to Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaiʻi. This year marks the 20th anniversary of our ceremony of harmony amid diversity, made possible through the continued efforts of so many that offered their support and understanding throughout the years. I wish to also offer my heartfelt thanks to our honored guests, staff and all our volunteers so generously offering their time and dedication, and all who are joining us for this ceremony tonight.
I would like to share something I learned from my spiritual teachers, the founders of the Shinnyo tradition, Masters Shinjo and Tomoji Ito. They believed in each person’s ability to awaken to their inner light of shinnyo, the unique potential and goodness we all inherently share to make life meaningful and live our lives in joy. Imagine every life that came before us, family members we love, friends we hold dear, and the countless flora and fauna with whom we’ve shared this earth. Each life is invariably linked to those of us in the present.
In sharing this moment tonight, I hope that we can come together in celebration of our lives, enhancing the wisdom and loving compassion that make us the irreplaceable people that we are. Fueled with concrete efforts of kindness and warmth in our everyday lives, our inner light that may begin at first as sparks will burn stronger than ever. This spark that is our inner light of shinnyo—defined by our thoughts extended to others—ignites each of us to make a difference towards a more peaceful world.
In a few moments, in loving remembrance of those who came before us, we will light the lanterns with the flame of shinnyo symbolizing our hopes and prayers. The ceremony’s theme, “Many Rivers, One Ocean—Share Your Light” is evocative of the wholesome individuality innate within us that burns brightest in the face of the strongest winds. Alone, we may be but a single light. But when we bring our acts of lovingkindness together in shared purpose, we have the ability to make positive changes that transcend time and space, to the past, present, and future. In sharing our spirit of harmony amid diversity from the oceans of Hawaiʻi to ripple far and wide, may each of us be inspired to forever keep our inner light kindled and let it shine through to illuminate the world.
Namu shinnyo—may your inner light of shinnyo shine through. Mahalo nui loa.