Address by Her Holiness Shinso Ito at the Fire and Water Ceremony in Taipei, April 6, 2014

April 06, 2014
Taipei, Taiwan

We have just completed the Taiwan Saisho Ceremony here at Taipei Arena. I would like to thank our honored guests for making the time to attend despite their busy schedules. I would also like to thank the musicians, YA string ensemble, choir, staff and all of those offering service doing gohoshi. Thank you also to those attending at Shinnyo temples around the world. Thank you very much.

Saisho is a boundless power of awakening, a positive energy that manifests without limit when we create harmony. My desire is to see all people experience the merit and positive karma of saisho, andthat is why we are conducting these ceremonies in different parts of the world. With the idea that all beings have a buddha nature and that we are all connected in one heart, our theme in 2011 was "Heavens and Earth." In 2012, it was "Awakening to Your Buddha Nature," with a focus on awakening toyour unique and irreplaceable positive potential through altruistic actions. This time, our theme is "the awakened mind sees in all directions." When the buddha natures of all life are united as one over the boundaries of space and time, liberating power will reach all generations and realms, the past, present, and the future.

Our buddha nature - our individual strengths and positive possibilities - is a reference to the wisdom and compassion of buddhas. Please take a look at the stage. There are two circles representing the infinity sign, signifying the limitless nature of wisdom and compassion. These elements took the form of fire and water during the service today. Kindness and compassion, represented by pure water, shows the gratitude we feel for spirits that have passed away as we pray for their happiness. Sacred flames represent wisdom, urging us to examine our lives and discover the joy of helping others. The service also extended hope to future lives that are filled with limitless possibilities.

Now we would like to have a meditation period to feel and experience the power of our unlimited buddha nature, wisdom and compassion. Please lightly close your eyes and place your hands in your lap. Visualize lighting a candle or sparking a flame in the darkness. That light is your buddha nature, it is life energy, life itself. Tomoji taught us that, "Having gratitude for your origins and beginnings will help all life to grow and expand." Your "origins" are the people who gave birth to you, raised you and supported you until this day. Think of the love you feel in your family. They illuminated you so that you could shine and be who you are today.

That being the case, don't be satisfied just being illuminated - let your buddha nature shine on its own and become a person who illuminates others and the future with the light of your buddha nature. [Make the most of yourself.] Master Shinjo taught us to, "Be a light that no wind can ever extinguish." Try to figure out what your purpose in life is, pray and meditate to figure out how you can help people, and then take action. Become a light that no difficulties or sadness can ever extinguish, a light with your own color and style. The light you share with others is infinite, limitless. Illuminating others and being yourself will help you show gratitude to those who paved the way for you, help you find meaning in your life today as you bring hope to future generations. You become an infinite light.

Now please open your eyes. Did you feel the light of joy spark in your heart? That is the power of your buddha nature, it is the merit and positive karma of wisdom and compassion. I believe that when this light reaches every corner of the world, it will be a wonderful world filled of harmony. Next we will have a lantern floating, lighting lanterns with the light of buddhahood you all just felt. Please show wisdom and compassion to those around you with a vow to reciprocate for all you have received. This will create a world of harmony and friendship.

Thank you very much! Xie Xie!