Immeasurable Light and Life - 2008 New Year's Message from the Monshu

May we all continue to live every moment and every day of this year in appreciation of the Nembutsu.

I wonder how you all spent this past year. There are a number of armed conflicts all over the world and climate change seems to have occurred. Those whose work or daily lives have been directly affected by these things must feel particularly threatened, but even those of us who are not directly influenced feel somewhat anxious. All lives are interrelated, and therefore, armed conflicts or climate change cannot be regarded as the problems of other people. We must address them as issues that concern us all.

Some of you may wonder how peace issues and environment concerns are related with the teaching of the Buddha, or how on earth they are connected with being born in the Pure land to attain Buddhahood. I recognize that the basis of Buddhism is my attainment of enlightenment or my birth of in the Pure land, and so the teaching is not a wonder drug which can immediately solve those problems. Taking into account, however, the fact that the human race has caused serious problems on a global scale by pursuing self-centered desires without careful consideration, you cannot say that Buddhism is not irrelevant to these issues. Buddhists seek enlightenment because actual humans, due to their ignorance and blind passions, constantly cause damage to their own lives and the lives of others, thereby deepening everyone’s suffering. It is said that Bodhisattva, who are regarded as ideal beings in Buddhism, can not feel happy unless all others people also become happy. As we have been given only limited amounts of air and water on this planet, let us make every effort to lead a moderate way of life and realize a society where everyone helps each other, so that all people are able to live life fully and with joy.

Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha