We, the Shinshū Ōtani-ha denomination, acknowledge a history of voluntarily following the policy of the Japanese government at the time of the World War II. Our cooperation in the war effort contributed to tremendous suffering and sorrow of the people around the world, especially of those in Asian countries. As Buddhists who have sincerely repented our mistakes in wartime, we express opposition to the security-related bills that were recently submitted to the Diet, and call upon not only Japanese people but also the entire world to raise awareness of the foolishness of war.
The utilization of military force in countries around the world results in the killing of so many people. Many countries continue to stockpile weapons in the name of national security.
By issuing this statement to the global community, we wish to appeal to all people to work together to end this foolish behavior, and through active dialogue, to realize “true peace” that can ensure that the dignity of each human being is equally respected.
Chief Administrator, Shinshū Ōtani-ha (Higashi Honganji)
May 21, 2015
We, the Shinshū Ōtani-ha denomination, must admit to a negative history of blindly following the policy of the Japanese government at the time of World War II and voluntarily cooperating with the war by pushing many people to the battlefields. We, as Buddhists who have sincerely repented the mistakes that we made in wartime, express strong opposition to the security-related bills that were recently submitted to the Diet. We would also like to appeal once again not only to the Japanese people but also to the global community to work toward the realization of “true peace” together with those who are deeply concerned about the future of this country and the world.
We have experienced unspeakable tragedies in past wars. Those tragic experiences have been shared by people throughout the world. All of us have learned lessons about the horror and stupidity of war. However, already seventy years after the end of World War II, wars and conflicts have continued to ravage many parts of the world.
The fundamental cause of these conflicts is a lack of mutual understanding between countries and the self-righteous blaming of other nations, which are in essence the problems of deep-rooted egocentricity of human beings in general. We have a tendency to justify ourselves and blame others. Our egocentricity brings suffering to others and ourselves, and as a result, we cause harm to each other. How deplorable it is! When we reflect upon ourselves under the light of the Buddha’s wisdom, we can do nothing but repent our own ignorance.
The government has recently made changes to the interpretation of the Constitution and is trying to enact new laws, under which committing an act of war will be made possible again under the name of “active pacifism” without due deliberation.
On this occasion, I would once again like to ask all of you the following questions:
“Can we just sit by and do nothing in such serious situations?”
“Do you not agree that we should refrain from making the same mistakes of trampling upon the sorrow and the wish for everlasting peace that millions of past war victims must have had in their heart?”
As a Buddhist who listens to the teaching of Buddha’s Wisdom, I will never allow the violation of the spirit of Japanese Constitution which was created from the deep sorrow and profound wishes of those victims. Japanese leaders in the past have maintained the spirit of the pacifist Constitution. Therefore, we request that our government strongly encourage the global community to work toward the realization of “true peace” where people can live in equality and respect each other beyond the boundaries of country, race, ethnicity, culture, and religion, through active dialogues instead of military force.