Her Holiness Shinso Ito Remarks on the 10th Anniversary of the September 11th Attacks on the United States

September 11, 2011
Tachikawa, Japan

On September 11, 2001, Her Holiness Shinso Ito was in the Chicago, Illinois metropolitan area. On the previous Saturday she had officiated at the opening ceremony of the new Chicago area Shinnyo-en temple. At the time of the attack she was visiting with municipal authorities of Elk Grove Village. On September 15, she led a Shinnyo-en consolatory service in Chicago for all the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The following are Her Holiness Shinso Ito's remarks on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

"I was in Chicago on September 11, 2001. We stood stock still, and the silence was so pervasive that we seemed to have stopped breathing. When at last we exhaled, it was with a prayer. "The realities of our lives often ensnare us. Sometimes they set us back on our heels, appalling us and marring our lives. Sometimes they soothe and heal, inspiring us with courage and determination. Sometimes they do both, and we must brace ourselves against past and present sufferings while envisioning a future of hope and renewed possibilities, especially for peace.

"To remember and move forward amid these realities, we need to develop a vision that takes in the incomprehensible and helps us to work our way through to the comprehensible, the tangible, and finally the elegance of utterly simple acts of kindness that can enhance other lives. By improving our vision we develop the perspective to build a future where we can advance with loving compassion, joy, and equanimity to fulfill our hopes and ideals.

"We need, especially, to develop a sense of double vision so that we see twice, once with wisdom and then once again with compassion. Perhaps to remember the past with wisdom is in itself the work of compassion. To sit truthfully, without flinching, in the presence of the past takes unwavering determination, yet doing so enables us to remain in each other's presence. We may be unable to resolve events occurring at a distance, but we cannot neglect to reach out to those near us. The first step of the bodhisattva is outside the door of one's home.

"To have double vision means seeing what we share and what we call uniquely our own. We have shared tragedies, and have been touched indelibly by those most deeply affected. We have shared tears, and you have let me share tears with you, for which I am deeply grateful. My wish is that you will cultivate and share that quality which is uniquely your own, the ability each of you has to positively affect the lives of others in unique ways. Share the aura of your Buddha nature to help light the way for those who may be taking steps in the dark.

"Double vision of the heart enables us to see a dark night's passing and the instant it becomes light.

"Be safe this night, and be strong tomorrow.".