National Peace Prayer Breakfast
Washington D.C.,on January 29, 2003.
I would like to extend my sincerest blessings to everyone and the world, may the year 2003 be blessed with peace, happiness and bliss. I am unable to attend this prayer assembly personally because I am not in the U.S.A. Therefore, I have entrusted Bhikshu Guo Yuan, my disciple, to deliver this address on my behalf.
As a result of natural disasters, according to the data published by the Munich Assurance Company, the world suffered as much as US$550 billion in financial losses and more than 11,000 human lives were lost; these included victims of the floods in Eastern and Central Europe, the earthquake of Afghanistan, and the heat wave in India. As a consequence, many victims lost their homes, family and friends. This trend is accelerating as compared to the past six years. In addition to natural disasters, threats of warfare, terrorist attacks, traffic accidents and high death rates due to the outbreak of diseases have all caused loss of lives and resources, creating a growing threat to the security of the human race.
Therefore, we are gathered here, today, to pray and implore people of the earth to pray together sincerely: "May there be peace on earth, stability in society, security in nations, and peace in everyone's mind".
Although praying is beneficial, if the notion of peace is absent from people's minds and their actions are not dedicated towards peace, then, the word "peace" becomes just a meaningless slogan.
We must unify our minds and actions together with the objectives of our prayers. However, if our minds are filled with conflict and disagreement concerning religions, culture, politics, economics, society, etc., and, if our minds are filled with conflict and confusion between selfish desires and public welfare, we will be diverting ourselves from the objectives of our prayers. Although the all-loving God and the compassionate Buddha will always extend their hands to help the human race, if the thoughts and actions of the human race arise out of hatred instead of compassionate love, selfish coveting instead of giving, opposition instead of tolerance, discrimination instead of respect, jealousy and suspicion instead of trust; then we are in opposition to the objectives of our prayer. This opposition is not because God is unloving, or the Buddha is uncompassionate, but because we humans are unable to attain peace and joy.
Therefore, let us pray and devote ourselves to peace and then a beautiful and peaceful tomorrow will definitely manifest in our world.
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