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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Zenkoji gifts Dalai Lama a Buddha statue

June 22, 2010

By Tsering Tsomo
Phayul
June 21, 2010

Nagano (Japan), June 20 -- Over 7,000 people
filled the Big Hat Stadium with loud applause and
cheers as Zenkoji priests gifted His Holiness the
Dalai Lama a statue of Gonpo O-pa-me (Amitabha
Buddha) at the conclusion of a public talk titled
‘Guide to Positive Clear Light’ today afternoon.

The Gonpo O-pa-me, called Amida in Japanese, is
the principal Buddha enshrined and worshipped at
the 7th century Zenkoji Temple at Nagano in
central Japan. Zenkoji’s most sacred image, The
Amida Triad, housed in the main temple, is also
the first Buddha image brought to Japan via
Korea. The arrival of the image also marked the
early propagation of Buddhism in Japan.

This aspect of Zenkoji’s history has a lot of
resonance to Jokhang Temple in Tibet’s capital,
Lhasa, where the arrival of Buddha Shakyamuni’s
image marked the arrival of Buddhism in Tibet,
said His Holiness the Dalai Lama in a message issued at the event.

Clear Light, His Holiness explained, reflects the
basic nature of the mind which is neutral and is
closer to positive emotions such as love,
kindness and compassion. Negative emotions like
stress, anxiety and selfishness cloud the clear
nature of the mind crippling its ability to think
and analyze without bias and anger. When we
develop a calm mind, we find self-confidence and
intelligence to see problems in a holistic manner
so we could avoid unrealistic and destructive
actions. Understanding the concept of
interdependence - that all problems have causes
traceable to actions based on ignorance and
self-centeredness - is therefore important in
developing a holistic view of all existence.

Lack of holistic view, he said, was one of the
major reasons that triggered the current global
economic crisis. It also led to the failure of
the Copenhagen Climate Change summit because more
emphasis was put on national interests than
global interests. He said the well-being of six
billion-strong global family is more important
than divisions based race, faith and countries
which are secondary concerns. “What is important is the oneness of humanity.”

For many who attended the talk, it was their
first experience listening to His Holiness‘
teachings. Although some found the initial parts
of the teachings too complex to understand, they
said they were impressed by His Holiness‘ message
to think globally. “It touched me profoundly when
he said both he and I belong to the global
family; it gave me a new perspective to see
things,” said Iwai Takamoto, 34, from Matsumoto
in Nagano Prefecture. “I feel like even I can make a difference.”

For Nami Suzuki, a 28-yr-old pharmacist from
Nagano, it was His Holiness‘ reference to
environmental issues that she found very
relevant. "I think he made a very important point
when he said environmental issue is a global concern."

Hiroko Suzuki said he had heard few spiritual
teachers encouraging people to learn new
languages and go out in the world and help less
privileged people. "I’ll probably learn English,"
said the 23-year-old who works at a production company in Nagano.

Rev. Syoryu WADA, president of Zenkoji Temple
secretariat said Japan has made great progress in
material development but spiritual development is
lacking. He said in a country confronted with
many conflicting issues of economic crisis,
social violence and widespread use of illegal
drugs, His Holiness’ teachings can have make a
huge difference. Japan’s annual suicide figure
now exceeds 30,000. “Many now realize that the
more you have, emptier your heart becomes.”

In 2008, Zenkoji Temple received a Buddha statue
from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
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