World Peace Begins with Gassho ("Gratitude")

It seems that at no time in human history has there been a period of lasting peace; when there has been no conflict or war.  Recently, two Japanese men were taken  hostage by Islamic State and tragically, one of them has  been killed by beheading.  Sometimes we hear the statement that we are fighting for peace.  It is ironic that in order to achieve peace, we have to go to war.  Personally, I cannot solve this dilemma.  So what can Buddhists do?

For some time now, my annual theme has been, "World Peace Begins With Gassho".  Actually, this very phrase comes from Rev. Gyomay Kubose in one of  his writings.  Considering the fear, anger and distrust felt worldwide, his words become more meaningful with each passing day.  To truly understand that, "world peace begins with Gassho", is to realize that world peace actually begins with me.

    In our daily lives, we point fingers and blame others for our unhappiness and suffering.  And too often, without thinking we tend to argue with and  blame  those closest and dearest to us.  At such times, we might easily wonder -- if we cannot have peace and harmony within our own family, how can we possibly  hope for something as great as world peace?
In Buddhism and in Jodo Shinshu, we are encouraged to understand that peace and harmony begins with me, here and now. It begins with me.  World peace begins with my Gassho and with my peace of mind.  World peace begins with me!
Nurturing awareness in our minds and in our hearts, I wish everyone a year of peace and happiness that begins with our own life of Gassho.
Namu Amida Butsu,
Tatsuya Aoki
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