2024 Theme – Carry Peace

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CARRY PEACE

To be at peace is the heart’s deepest longing. In these challenging times, how can we all develop the qualities that lead to peace both in ourselves and in our communities? Can we set ourselves the aspiration to become carriers of peace? 

This year we are joined by Hiroki Okano, an elder from the Japanese Shinto tradition, who will be bringing the Peace Flame to our gathering  – a flame lit from the atomic fires after the nuclear attack on Hiroshima in 1945, a flame which has been kept alight to this day. 

Tatsuo Yamamoto lost his family in the attack, and on returning that day to the terrible devastation, lit the flame from the smouldering remains of his home. Initially, holding it as a symbol of anger, grief, and vengeance, over the years, as he kept the flame alight, this slowly transformed into acceptance and forgiveness.  From this was born a desire to bring a message of peace to all. As he journeyed the world carrying a living flame, it received millions of prayers and wishes for peace, undergoing its own transformation from a symbol of unimaginable terror into one of peace. 

This year’s theme “Carry Peace”,  invites us all to walk this path of transformation together. We are each asked what kind of a flame do we wish to carry in our hearts. 

Can we, like Tatsuo Yamamoto, find a way to bear and transform our conflicts so that we can become an active embodiment of peace in this world. Can we find the spirit of kindness, gentleness, compassion, and patience to support ourselves and each other as we walk this path of peace.

Artwork by Scarlet Butters 

 

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