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President Niwano's August Message

The Means to Ensure That All Countries Will Be Safe from Destruction

“Health,” according to the World Health Organization, “is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” This mirrors the definition of happiness.

I must admit, though, that when we consider current global conditions—such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; the ongoing civil wars in Syria, Sudan, Myanmar, and other countries; refugee and human rights issues in different regions; and the various problems Japan has with neighboring countries—they are tantamount to barely anyone being able, in the true sense, to lead a healthy and happy life. Around the world, the political reality is being controlled by military power. Countries are keeping each other in check by expanding their military preparations, using their military power as a deterrent. Therefore, we could say that even countries and regions that at first glance appear to be peaceful are constantly exposed to these military tensions.

However, this did not only just start. In 1982, Founder Niwano sounded the alarm, saying “The present world is in a state of crisis, as World War III might break out at any moment.” He also told us that “all armaments come from the mind of fear. Distrust and the fear of being invaded by another country are spurring on the arms race” in his appeal for the urgency of the campaign, then underway, to collect signatures for a petition to abolish nuclear weapons and call for arms reductions.

That said, merely thinking about our own countries being invaded and destroyed by another country makes us feel uneasy. Moreover, protecting your country is an extension of the desire to protect your own life and the lives of your family members, so we could say that depending on armed resistance is a part of human instinct. Even so, we certainly cannot say that it is healthy to fear an invasion by another country or have the mind of hostility and vilification. In this sense, to live truly healthy and vibrant lives, we need to protect our own countries without depending on military expansion. In other words, we must try to find and realize the means to ensure that all countries will be safe from destruction.

Just As You Love Yourself

“In the month of August— /The Sixth, the Ninth, / And the Fifteenth.” This poem, about the tragic atrocities of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Japan’s defeat in World War II, oozes with remorse and sorrow for the war and the desire to console the spirits of the dead. Seventy-eight years after the end of the war, it still moves me deeply. Therefore, I cannot help but hope, from the bottom of my heart, for our world to be one in which all people everywhere can truly live with peace of mind.

Founder Niwano said, “War and conflict arise from the mind of selfishness. They arise from the mind of discrimination. They arise from hatred and envy. Until we suppress or weaken such ugly minds, conflict will not disappear from the human world.” And he clearly stated that “Transforming the human mind through religious faith is the great, direct path toward peace.” Buddhism places the greatest value on compassion, while Christianity places it on love, and surely other religious faiths have similar teachings. According to these teachings that lead to harmony, all human beings should love and respect the lives of others as they love and respect their own irreplaceable lives. I believe that religious people have been entrusted with the mission of building such a world. The goal of collaboration and cooperation for that purpose gave birth to

Religions for Peace.

In reality, though, it is difficult for ordinary people like us to stop war. However, by improving our minds through faith, we can help move our societies and nations in a better direction. This means seeing yourself and others with the mind of compassion; expanding and broadening that mind to see that you, your local community, and your country are together forming one existence; and sharing that truth with other people. Making many more friends, whether they have faith or not—friends who love and care for the countries and people of the world as they do for their own country—leads to the realization of a world in which everyone can live with peace of mind.

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