Address by Her Holiness Shinso Ito at the 16th Annual Lantern Floating Hawai'i Ceremony

May 26, 2014
Honolulu, Hawai’i

Aloha, and welcome to Lantern Floating Hawaii 2014.

Let me first offer my heartfelt thanks to Mayor Caldwell, the Honorary Chairman of this event, to Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui, to all our honored guests, and to the staff and volunteers who have made it possible to conduct today's ceremony on Memorial Day, so that we may remember and honor our loved ones.

Today's ceremony is about recognizing and experiencing the interconnectedness of those who came before us, those of us living now, and those still to be born.

The founder of Shinnyo-en, Shinjo Ito, encouraged us to "Be inspired into action through our connection with the past, present, and future."

Imagine for a moment-

The people we remember; those who have lived on this planet and built the world we live in; nature and its bounties that nurture all life on earth.

Each event in the countless past contributed to our lives in the present.

Our act of lighting lanterns today is one of remembrance, and of giving concrete expression to our gratitude.

It is also an opportunity, a source of inspiration, for awakening ourselves to our inner light-

This means, to recognize and value what makes each of us special. Our light is our goodness, our potential, waiting to shine forth -- a shimmering that becomes radiant when we act with warmth and kindness for the happiness of others.

Connecting with those around us in friendship, beginning at this very moment and in our immediate surroundings, strengthens mutual trust and brings forth a deep sense of fulfillment in our everyday lives. These feelings are forever, and will live on in every person we touch.

Alone, our individual light may give off only a soft glow. But togetherness inspires hope -- hope that when we all come together in friendship and understanding, our lights can dispel any darkness. The theme of Lantern Floating Hawaii is "Many Rivers, One Ocean." A world of harmony amid diversity will bring out our inner light -- the one and only that is yours -- to its fullest.

The Buddha taught in the Nirvana Sutra, "Our inner light of buddhahood makes the world a brighter place."

A burning candle, when its light is shared with others, illuminates the world more brilliantly.

Together in friendship, let us be inspired to act with courage and hope, for the wellbeing of all humanity and of the earth. Unwavering and steadfast, let each of us light the way toward the future.

Mahalo nui loa.