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September 7 2009 09:30 | Franciscan Convent – Hall B


Gensho Hozumi

Rinzai Zen Buddhism, Japan

Fifty years ago, after finishing my Buddhism degree at the University of Kyoto, I embarked on a trip to Okinawa.

I was shocked by the devastating calamity resulting from the war. Okinawa had been severely hit, so I went there to pray. It was only then that I realised the cruelty of the situation, and in that very moment decided to  dedicate myself to the practice of Zen Buddhism.

I have dedicated large part of my life to the practice of Zen Buddhism. The Zen practice is very difficult, but in my memory, I will always have the victims of the war.

Peace does not materialise if we only think of it and do nothing else. We need to feel the sadness of all the victims of war as if it were our own. If we don’t sympathise with the victims of war, we will not have peace in the world. It is important to know that a little flower, or an insect also have a life. It is our responsibility to defend and protect all life on earth. If we don’t, we will not have peace.

When I think of this little flower, or this insect, I ask myself: “what are we human beings?”

We need to go back to the origin of life and feel compassion for all living beings.

If we manage to live in harmony with the universe, we will learn the wisdom of the human immortality. We should not forget that our life is precious and unique, we will not live it again, therefore, we need to higher hope.

Sixty-four years ago, Japan was bombed by nuclear weapons. It was a calamity for humanity. The war is not fair. We need to abolish nuclear weapons. We need to ask for its extinction. We should never again use nuclear weapons, but it is very difficult in this modern world, it is very difficult. There needs to be a union of human right, regardless of religion, country-borders, or social status, in order for us to be able to overcome frontiers, and have a clear path for dialogue.

I came here with the courage to overcome this border.

I deeply grateful to all of Comunita di Sant’Egidio.

Thank you.

Cracow 2009

Greeting of pope Benedict XVI



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