Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I’d like to wish the best to all of you and the whole world: peace, happiness, and well-being for everyone in 2003.
According to statistics released by Munich Reinsurance Company, in 2002 alone, natural disasters worldwide, including massive floods in central and eastern Europe, the big earthquake in Afghanistan, and heat waves in India, have resulted in 55 billion US dollars in property loss, claiming more than 11,000 human lives and resulting in many people losing their homes and loved ones. The situation was far more devastating than the previous 6 years combined.
Apart from natural disasters, ongoing wars, terrorist attacks, traffic accidents, and various life-threatening diseases have claimed numerous lives and caused tremendous loss of property, posing a great threat to the safety of humanity. Therefore, we’d like to jointly make a wish and urge every individual in the world to sincerely say a prayer: “Peace for the world, stability in society, security for all countries, and peace of mind for all.”
However, if humanity fails to develop the concept of peace, and to make contributions to the realization of peace, “peace” will just end up an empty slogan. Our mindset and actions must be in line with the objectives of our prayer. If we are filled with religious, cultural, political, economic, ethnic or personal conflicts, or even when we find ourselves conflicted between public good and our selfish desires, we are moving away from our prayer.
Although a universally loving God and the compassionate Buddhas constantly reach out to our rescue, if our way of thinking and our actions are marked by hatred rather than compassionate love, selfish plunder instead of altruistic giving, conflict rather than tolerance, discrimination rather than respect, suspicion rather than trust, then we are acting in the very opposite of our prayer. It’s not that God is not universally loving or that the Buddhas lack in compassion; rather, it is us humans steering away from the direction of peace and bliss.
Therefore, let us pray for peace, and devote all our efforts to the realization of peace, and our world will witness a wonderful and peaceful tomorrow.
(Presented on January 29, 2003 at the Women’s Prayer Breakfast for Peace, Washington D.C.)