Hawai‘i Buddhists Host Global Services for International Day of Peace
The Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai‘i and its network of Buddhist temples across the state, along with the United Nations Association of Hawai‘i and the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa KTUH radio station will celebrate this year’s Ring Your Bell for Peace Day at 9:01am local time (7:01pm UTC) on 21 September.
Invitations to participate in the event were sent to the governors of all 50 US states, as well as mayors of all of the Hawai‘ian islands. People from around the world can also join by completing a registration form at the Honpa Hongwanji website.
In their invitation to governors and mayors, Bishop Eric Matsumoto of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission and Rene Mansho, Peace Day Committee Chair from Honpa Hongwanji said: “We envision this as an opportunity for all the people of Hawai‘i and the world to come together as one ‘Ohana to promote peace during these very-challenging times in all of our lives.”* (Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai‘i)
They continued: “It will be amazing to hear bells ringing at the same time for peace! We welcome our partners, the United Nations Association of Hawai‘i and the University of Hawai‘i KTUH radio.” (Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai‘i)
Buddhist temples in Hawai‘i, including the West Kaua‘i Hongwanji, Lihu‘e Hongwanji, and Kapa‘a Hongwanji, will participate in Peace Day by ringing their bells. People interested in taking part are encouraged to contact the temples directly for information and COVID-19 safety protocols.
“The Kaua‘i Soto Zen Temple will be participating in the Hongwanji event, just like we did last year,” said Gerald Hirata of the Kaua‘i Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji in Hanapepe. (The Garden Island)
Underscoring the interfaith nature of the event, the Immaculate Conception Church in Kapaia will join in the bell ringing. Terri Donovan Mansfield and the St. Catherine Church in Kapa‘a will also host a short in-person ceremony on the church property. The Interfaith Roundtable of Kaua‘i offered its own online event on 19 September titled “Stories of Peace,” which included featured storytellers, a puppet show, and songs about peace.
Additionally, community members around the world can join in by ringing a bell at home, school, or place of worship. Participants who wish to join in on Zoom can log in from 8:15am local time for orientation and an opening ceremony, which starts at 8:30am. There will also be a “kane ka pu,” or sounding of the conch shell, a prayer, and a minute of silence to honor those who have sacrificed in the name of peace.
At 9:01am, the online ceremony will show the ringing of bells around the world for five minutes. This will be followed by peace messages and the 2021 Ambassador for Peace Day Jake Shimabukuo, who will be performing Songs of Peace along with Melveen Leed, a celebrated Hawai‘ian singer.
Last year’s event, described as the first-ever International “Ring Your Bell for Peace” event, drew participants mostly from Hawai‘i, but Buddhists from mainland North American cities, such as Calgary, New York, Seattle, and Winnipeg, also joined in. The theme of last year’s event was “Shaping Peace Together.” The 2021 theme is "recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world." According to the United Nations:
In 2021, as we heal from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are inspired to think creatively and collectively about how to help everyone recover better, how to build resilience, and how to transform our world into one that is more equal, more just, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and healthier.
The pandemic is known for hitting the underprivileged and marginalized groups the hardest. By April 2021, over 687 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally, but over 100 countries have not received a single dose. People caught in conflict are especially vulnerable in terms of lack of access to healthcare. (United Nations)
The Honpa Hongwanji Mission and its affiliated temples have taken part in Peace Day celebrations since 2007. That year Hawai‘i became the first US state to participate, joining more than 200 countries and the United Nations General Assembly in the day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace.
* ‘Ohana is a Hawaiian word that refers to a person’s extended family, which can include friends and close community.
Peace Day 2021: Ring Your Bell For Peace Day (Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii)
Most Peace Day events are virtual next week (The Garden Island)
2021 Theme: Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world (United Nations)
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