The Russian Federation has launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. There are reports that while military facilities are targeted, many people, including civilians, have lost their lives in the fighting in Kiev, the capital, and Kharkov in the eastern part of the country.
First of all, I would like to express my deepest condolences for all those who lost their lives in this tragedy, and my heartfelt sympathy to those who have lost their loved ones and friends, and to those who were injured.
For all living beings, life is equally precious and irreplaceable. There is no such thing as “life that can be killed” for any reason, including national dignity, national interest, or principle. It is also unacceptable for anyone to be deprived of a peaceful life, to lose their home or property, or to be forced to leave their place of residence.
Soto Zen adheres to the position that “neither self nor others should be harmed” and maintains a “no-war stance,” which means that we do not consent to any ideology or social behavior that may lead to the carrying out of war or to violence and destruction. We also believe that world peace can be realized through the wisdom to avoid repeating the horrors of war, and the compassion to be aware of the preciousness of life.
At the root of this belief is the spirit of pledging to make a sincere effort to build a society full of tolerance, where conflicts can be solved, relying on the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha and the teachings of Zen Masters Dogen and Keizan.
As Buddhists, the first thing we should do for the sake of people’s peace is to be attentive to the pain and suffering of those who have been caught up in the horrors of war, plunged into confusion, and deprived of a peaceful life. Furthermore, each of us needs to think and act as a concerned citizen.
With the aim of realizing a world where everyone in the world can live in peace, we will continue to practice “opening the future beyond the top of a 100-foot pole.”
Rev. Shunei Oniuda, President
The Administrative Headquarters of Soto Zen Buddhism