Congratulatory Remarks by Most Ven. Kojun Handa
Congratulatory Remarks on the Holding of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) Forum by the Arigatou Foundation
Most Ven. Kojun Handa, Supreme Patriarch of the Tendai Buddhist Denomination
It is indeed deeply significant that we are assembled here today in Hiroshima, an international city of peace, for the hosting of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) Third Forum. I would like to extend my deepest respect to everyone who has gathered here in an expression of their devotion to the mission of ensuring a future for the children of the world. You all have my heartfelt gratitude.
It goes without saying that the very fact that the Arigatou Foundation, established under the auspices of Myochikai, is devoting its utmost efforts to ensuring the wellbeing of the children of the next generation under the distinguished guidance of our Chairman, Rev. Miyamoto, is indeed the representation of a Bodhisattva spirit. For their undertaking, we owe our deepest gratitude.
If we turn our eyes to the world around us and gaze upon the situation facing our children today, we see many regions engulfed in conflict around the world, and consequently, children are unwillingly exposed to violence resulting in casualties, deaths, and deep psychological trauma. Reports that emerge from such regions and from many developing nations depict a dire situation marked by poverty and deep economic disparities in which children are deprived of the basic necessities, including sufficient food and education.
At the same time, if we turn our eyes to those regions of the world that are considered "advanced nations," including Japan, we see a ubiquitous emphasis on excessive material wealth, a belief in the ultimate supremacy of the economy, and many negative facets of our Internet-based society in which children are corrupted through the damage inflicted upon them, increasing the likelihood that they will engage in thoughtless and heartless criminal activities. Looking at such a situation makes one wonder why there are so many words and actions that indicate a loss of our very humanity. If we are to address these issues, we must move beyond simply a point-by-point approach. I believe it is important for us to foster a sense of faith and spiritual activities that may serve as the very underlying principles of our humanity.
Under such circumstances, it is imperative that religious leaders gather together in one venue that transcends national boundaries and religious differences and formulate effective measures to ameliorate the current situation facing our children from the perspective of people of faith. As such, I have great expectations for the outcome of this gathering.
It is indeed unfortunate that I am unable to address you in person at the Forum. It is my earnest desire to ensure that mercy and salvation be extended to all children, today and in generations to come, who are suffering from conflict, hunger, abuse, and poverty, and with that in mind, I herein express my heartfelt prayer for the great success of this forum.