Religions' cooperation can lead to world peace


POSTED: Saturday, September 26, 2009

The state of Hawaii has observed United Nations International Peace Day since 2007.

What can we do, in practical terms, for world peace?

We pray for world peace every day. We, as Buddhist priests, preach to people about compassion and respect. We say that if all people are compassionate and respectful to each other, there will be no war and world peace will be realized. Therefore, we try to be compassionate and respectful to everyone no matter what their religious beliefs.

Personally I respect any religious person and organization because I believe that the ultimate goal of religion is the same: The happiness and peace of all mankind is the primary goal. Needless to say, we humans cannot realize that without including the happiness of our environment, that is, of our Earth.

Although the ultimate goal for all religions might be the same, unfortunately many people who never see eye to eye are religious leaders. Ideally religious leaders should shake hands, cooperate and lead each of our congregations to the same ultimate goal. But realistically it is hard or even impossible to do this because each belongs to a separate organization. If I suggested doing something to realize our ideal with other religions, the headquarters of the organization I belong to would understand and sympathize with the basic concept, but on a practical level they would not be able to accept it.

There are surely some religious leaders who have been trying to realize the harmony of all religions, too, which gives me hope. Recently, interreligion dialogue has been active all over the world and even here in Hawaii. In order to lead each of our congregations toward the same ideal, it would be a good idea to share common issues. World peace surely would be the common issue that we can cooperate on to do something on a practical level. It is important for everyone, all countries in this world, to realize that.

Last year the state of Hawaii started observing Peace Day, the first state in this country to do so.

President Obama made a speech in Prague and suggested the phase-down of nuclear weapons as the way to approach world peace. We have recently found a good documentary film called “;Gate”; to share the story of nuclear weapon disarmament recorded by a world peace organization called the Global Nuclear Disarmament Fund. This film introduces people who are trying to realize world peace in a peaceful method, not as an aggressive anti-war activity. It is a much more profound way to understand each other and to think about what the real world peace should be.

The film will be shown at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii, 33 Pulelehua Way, in Nuuanu. General admission is $10 and free for children under 18 years old. It will be followed by the mission's second annual Moon Festival at 6:30 p.m.

The film will also be shown:

» Oct. 10, 2:30 p.m.

» Oct. 17, 2:30 p.m.

» Oct. 24, 2 (Japanese language) and 4:30 p.m.

Let us clear away all clinging and attachment to petty differences and, rather, try to sincerely understand and respect each other through our compassion. We can, in a small way, bring world peace closer in our community.


Bishop Shingyo Imai is the minister of Nichiren Mission of Hawaii.