Tenrikyo Participates in International Meeting of Prayer for Peace in Lyon

The 19th International Meeting of Prayer for Peace, organized by the Rome-based Community of Sant’Egidio, was held in the French city of Lyon from September 11 to 13. The theme of this year’s meeting was “The Courage to Forge a Spiritual Humanism of Peace.” Attending the meeting were hundreds of leaders from dozens of the world’s major faiths, including representatives from the Catholic, Anglican, Protestant, Russian Orthodox, and Greek Orthodox churches as well as from Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. Tenrikyo sent a delegation of 25 people, including Europe Centre Head Noriaki Nagao, Administrative Affairs Department Head Yoshiaki Uno, Young Men’s Association Committee Member Isaku Nishida as well as some Yoboku residing in Europe. Among the several hundred volunteers supporting the meeting were two Yoboku residing in Europe, who helped with translating documents and interpreting speeches. On the morning of the final day, the 13th, the Tenrikyo delegates joined in a sectional meeting entitled “Japan 60 Years after Hiroshima,” at which representatives from Soto Zen Buddhism, Tendai Buddhism, Oomoto, Rissho Kosei-kai, Jinja Honcho, and Tenrikyo took turns delivering addresses. Rev. Nagao, representing Tenrikyo, spoke on the horrors of war. He said that asking why war is wrong ultimately amounts to asking why killing people is wrong. “It is wrong to take a life,” he maintained, “because our lives belong to God–not to us human beings.” In support of this viewpoint, he quoted an Ofudesaki verse that introduces the Tenrikyo teaching of “a thing lent, a thing borrowed” and explained, “Because we borrow these precious and irreplaceable bodies from God, we have absolutely no right to harm either our own body or anyone else’s.” Before concluding, Rev. Nagao appealed to the audience: “The time has come for religious people around the world to sweep the dusts of hatred and anger from their minds and lead the way to world peace.” In the question-and-answer session that followed, Rev. Nagao served as one of the panelists, who were asked such questions as “What is the role of religion in educating the young?” and “Is it possible for religious organizations in Japan to cooperate with one another without confrontation?” In the early evening, the “Prayer for Peace” was conducted at various locations, according to religious traditions. Having been allocated a room in a local Catholic facility, the Tenrikyo delegates began their prayer by offering worship in the direction of the Jiba. Then, to the accompaniment of the musical instruments for the service, they performed the seated service, the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo, and the first six songs of the Dance with Hand Movements. Many members of the public and the local media came to observe the Tenrikyo prayer. Following the prayer service, the delegates answered questions raised by the visitors, and presented them with Tenrikyo pamphlets in French, Italian, English, and other languages. That evening, the participants joined the Peace Procession, in which they walked to the Gallo-Roman Theater, the venue for the Final Ceremony. During the ceremony, the Peace Appeal 2005 was proclaimed, and representatives including Rev. Nagao and Rev. Uno lit candles for peace.

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