NEW YEAR’S MESSAGE
President Pieper Toyama
Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii
Embrace Change: Harmony Accept Differences
OUR THEME FOR 2018 CALLS us to walk the path of change in harmony by accepting differences. It is a particularly difficult time for us to walk this path while the world seems to be dissolving into divisive fragments. As we are swept by world events that seek to divide us one from the other, many feel that the development and flow of events are no longer in our control. We are simply bystanders watching human society fracture and its pieces fall away from each other. These sweeping events make us feel that our personal efforts to accept differences and live in harmony are inconsequential. How can a small personal act on my part change the course of world events? How can I make a difference?
It would be unfortunate if a world full of caring people are overtaken by doubt that one person can actually make a difference. Such doubt about the value of our personal actions surely dooms all of us to be blown about as leaves are scattered before gusts of wind.
The teachings tell us of the preciousness of life, each person’s life, and the preciousness of a single act of kindness that emanates from that life. If Namo Amida Butsu is real and true then actions that naturally evolve from Namo Amida Butsu are real and true.
As we meet the tasks and events that we set for ourselves, let us take them on in the spirit of the Nembutsu. It is through the love and presence of Amida in our lives that we have these precious opportunities to bring joy into this world, into the lives of others and into our lives. So as each day unfolds in 2018, let us reflect on the opportunities that await us and review the tasks and events we have planned. With hands in gassho, let the sound of Namo Amida Butsu flow from our lips with gratitude that on this day, embraced by the love of Amida, we have the chance to meet those with different thoughts and feelings from us, to accept them as fellow travelers, to wish that no difficulties come to them, and that they live in peace and harmony. Let us remember the small actions we take to create harmony in the world in 2018. And let these small actions collectively speak of our sincere desire for peace