Address by Her Holiness Shinso Ito at the Second Shinnyo Lantern Floating for Peace

September 21, 2014
New York, New York

Good evening. On behalf of Shinnyo-en, we want to welcome you to tonight’s ceremony and thank you for joining us again this year to honor the International Day of Peace.

We are all aware of the difficulties involved in achieving peace—both in our own lives and among the nations of the world. What is it that can make peace on earth, and tranquility in our hearts, a reality?

For me, the answer to both questions is the same: It lies in mastering the ability to believe in ourselves and in our own potential.

It is about being open to rediscovering ourselves. When each of us understands how irreplaceable we all are and how the roles we play are interconnected, and continuously reflect this in our actions with patience, openness, and resolve—only then can the lives we are given in the here and now truly become meaningful.

If we consistently act this way, it will help to make us keenly aware of what we are meant to fulfill in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. Our certainty and conviction will lead us to experience the joy that comes from making a difference in our hearts and in the world.

Today’s ceremony is called the Shinnyo Lantern Floating for Peace. There are many definitions of the Buddhist expression, shinnyo, but essentially, shinnyo means “something unchanging,” as in the unique potential within every one of us.

During tonight’s ceremony, you will hear the mantra: Namu ShinnyoNamu means to become one, and Shinnyo expresses our true nature, so Namu Shinnyo can be translated as “becoming one with our true selves.”

We have all felt strong emotions, pushing or pulling us toward anger, anxiety, remorse, or regret, and have wished for a moment to recollect ourselves. Other times we have felt excitement from believing in ourselves and trying something we had never even considered.

Chanting mantras helps you to gain focus and rediscover your true self. For me, this particular chant, Namu Shinnyo, has over the years helped me gain insight in how to take constructive action.

In a few minutes, when you hear me begin chanting it, I invite you to join me. It may awake something powerful in you.

The theme for today’s ceremony is “Be a Light for Peace.” I hope that our inner light of shinnyo -- the light of our potential -- will allow us to light the way for ourselves and others.

As the circle of light created by each of us, through our wisdom and loving compassion, extends further and further outward, we will see that it won’t matter how small our individual spark of shinnyo might be.

Enhanced by the collective light of our potential, together we can warmly illuminate a world waiting to be shaped by us. Do not give up believing that your light is far-reaching, a ray of hope shining in even the darkest places, and from this moment on, let our faith in that belief inspire our actions.

Thank you very much and Namu Shinnyo.