Happy New Year!
There were many incidents which occurred last year. According to the TV news, the most memorable news for New Yorkers was the death of Osama Bin Ladin who was killed by the American military. I believe New Yorkers were so hurt by the terrorist attack on September 11. It is obvious that I believe many Japanese would pick up the news of the Eastern Japan Great Earthquake. The Thai people would pick up the news of floods.
The hearts of human beings would be moved by things or incidents which relate to them. On New Year’s Day there was a magnitude 7 earthquake under 230 miles of sea level near Torishima island which is 370 miles from Tokyo. My sister-in-law’s house which is on the third floor was shaking pretty much according to my mother-in-law. My wife and I were very concerned about it. Fortunately, there was no damage. On the other hand, people do not pay much their attention if things or incidents do not relate to them. Many people who work in the financial sector, especially receive influence by the credit crunch of Greece or Italy of Euro, and are seriously concerned about the problem; however, those who are not influenced by this might not care much about it. For example, on July 9th, 2011, the 54th independent nation in Africa (Southern Sudan) was born, but I don’t think many people gathered here today are interested in this news.
However, it is the time for us to turn our consideration towards not only the immediate events related our daily lives but also global events. It is because the world has become closer due to the development of science, and at the same time the destruction of world environment by humans’ activities is increasing. Environmental issues are directly connected to human beings, animals and plants and it will be possible that environmental issues would be a worse threat than Osama bin Ladin. However, nature is not a threat but a part of God’s life like us. In Seicho-No-Ie, we practice from the time it was founded as a way of life “to be reconciled with everything in the universe.” This year, in order for people in many countries to practice this way of life, we who are members of Seicho-No-Ie should perform this life as an example to seriously live in harmony with nature. Let us continuously practice God’s Love and the Four Immeasurable Minds of the Buddha and the life of grand harmony with nature. Furthermore, let us be united as one through the teaching given by the President, Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi, follow the guidance of the Bishop, Rev. Yoshiko Teshigawara and promote our movement with joy. Thank you very much.