Kyoto Shimbun 2007.8.4 News

Let the Sound of the Peace Bell Echo Across the World!
Religious Summit Meeting at Enryakuji Temple

The annual "Interreligious Gathering of Prayer for World Peace" was held at Enryakuji Temple in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture on August 4. The gathering is sponsored by the "Nihon Shukyo Daihyosha Kaigi," or Japanese conference of religions, and aims to foster dialogue between religions. A dedication ceremony for a peace bell was carried out and a multi-faith peace prayer session was held. After that, "A Message from Mount Hiei 2007," a joint statement affirming peaceful religious intent, was read to close the meeting.

The peace bell, measuring one meter high and about 60 centimeters in diameter, was donated to the temple to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Religious Summit Meeting on Mt. Hiei, which is located within the grounds of Enryakuji Temple. The donation came from the Tokyo-based World Peace Bell Association, which has delivered peace bells to establishments such as the United Nations Headquarters.

Surrounding the temple's bell tower, children from Hiroshima and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina prayed for world peace as the bell was first sounded. Kojun Handa, event representative and the highest priest of the Tendai Buddhist Sect, addressed the gathering, saying "We hope the sound of Peace Bell will echo within the minds of people around the world."

Wearing full ceremonial dress, representatives of world religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Islam, prayed for peace in their native languages according to their religious customs. After the prayers, "A Message from Mount Hiei 2007" was read. The statement "We believe that reconciliation and forgiveness bring about peace, and we call for action, however modest it may be, to fight climate change" was greeted with applause from nearly a thousand spectators.

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= As children from Hiroshima and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina watch, the new Peace Bell rings for the first time (Enryakuji Temple, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture)