Saturday, September 22, 2001

May God Bless!

I received an e-mail message in response to my September 19th entry, "A Prayer for Love and Forgiveness", from a Japanese iving in the United States saying, "It lacks love and is too harsh a message to the Americans who are suffering so much." For a moment, couldn't believe my ears (eyes). That is because I had no intention of being offensive. But, after re-reading the words in that "prayer" again, I could see why people might misinterpret if they read this one piece only. In that respect, I feel badly for the misunderstanding. However, I would like to offer three explanations: 1. This column is too short to allow me to say all that needs to be said, 2. My personal feelings, albeit only a part, were written immediately following the tragedy, in my September 12th entry, 3. The reference to "We" in "the prayer" was used assuming that people in Japan would also offer this prayer. In other words, "We" does not mean the United States only, but rather refers to all developed nations, including Japan. That is why, my feelings are together with the United States.

Seicho-No-Ie International Headquarters has decided to donate $300,000 which will be disbursed through SNI New York Center to a non-profit organization or two in New York as the relief fund. That is not to say that donating money is everything. However, by donating what is needed at the time needed, we wanted (it was my hope) to show that Seicho-No-Ie is not insensitive nor oblivious to the tremendous suffering and sadness of the American people. I wrote my own personal thoughts and feelings about New York in my February 6th entry*, and one of the reasons I decided a couple of years ago to translate the novel, The Greatest Spiritual Secret of The Century, now running in the SNI magazine The Risosekai, is because it is set in New York. Nevertheless, there shouldn't be a war based solely on the feeling that, "I'm going to get back at and destroy the enemy because they destroyed the city that I love""

Despite the tremendous sadness and grief that people in New York are experiencing now, I understand that there were people who, after President Bush's Congressional Address, participated in "anti-war" demonstrations. I have an even greater respect for the American people than ever before. This "anti war" sentiment is probably because the United States is a country where people of many races and nationalities live, and, through their contacts abroad, know the tragedy that is brought about by war. They know that what is needed now is not retribution, but, rather, building. President Bush also said that New York should "rebuild." In the drawing that accompanied my September 12th article, I, too, wrote "Build More."

Actually, the idea behind my comment was the exchange between the two gods, Izanagi and Izanami, as described in the Japanese classic Kojiki. Izanami, the god of after life, said, "I will kill 10,000 people a day!" To this, Izanagi replied, "Then I will create 20,000 people a day!" This was not using destruction to oppose destruction, but, instead, using something greater than destruction--that is construction or building. And I believe that many New Yorkers are moving forward in that very direction to try and rebuild their lives with that same mindset. God bless New York! God bless America and everybody!

- MT

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