Impressions from Religious and Spiritual Leaders

Father James Channan (OP, Catholic priest and Regional Coordinator for the United Religions Initiative in Pakistan)
Here at Fuji Sanctuary, you have brought the whole world together. Through your prayers, through the flags, the peace poles, through the large globe and other symbols of unity, you have created something unique in the world. I have not seen anything like this anywhere else in the world. Your doors are open for all, not only for the people of one nationality or one religion. Your doors are open to humanity. With the help of God, let us work together with this feeling of unity.
It is very spiritually satisfying to visit here. I never thought it would be such a peaceful, calm, and nice place. I would like to say thank you to Goi Sensei, to Masami Sensei and her family, and to all of you.

Maitreyi Amma (Spiritual leader, France)
Upon being introduced to Byakko’s 7-21 activity, consisting of prayers for peace in various countries handwritten on large 7 x 21 meter sheets of paper. After writing a prayer for peace in her home country of France, Maitreyi Amma commented: While I was writing I felt a powerful divine energy coursing through me via the crown chakra.
When introduced to the Seven Stations and the Pyramid: I feel the purity of Fuji Sanctuary everywhere, and especially so at this spot. At that time, Mount Fuji, which had been hidden behind clouds all day, unexpectedly showed itself, unfurling a majestic scene before the eyes of the onlookers. Amma continued: This beautiful Mount Fuji is a gift from God. And the Pyramid, I believe, is something God caused you to build, as a concrete way for humanity to understand the divine way.

Deepak Chopra (Indian-American author and alternative medicine practitioner)
It is good to be here and see the collective power of intention that is being harnessed through prayer and through intention for the whole world.
I could feel a lot of energy here today, a lot of peace. I can feel that a lot of people have put their intention collectively here, so you can feel the power, the presence of their consciousness. It’s a wonderful place to be.
(To the staff) It was a wonderful to be with all of you and to feel your peace, your purity, and your one-pointed intention. Now, all we need is for that intention to reach a critical mass. And if that happens, maybe we will see a transition in the world. Once again, thank you.

The Rev. Canon Charles P. Gibbs (Exec. Director, United Religions Initiative, USA)
The SOPP, for me, was just a phenomenal experience. To begin with, the physical setting is beyond description – the great physical beauty of this place combined with the energy that is created here over time, with people praying and praying and praying and praying.
I was so moved the day before the ceremony to see the written prayers and mandalas that were on display downstairs, and to see the care that people have taken in writing those prayers in each country’s national languages. That faithful prayerfulness, I think, is part of the spirit of this place.
Arriving here and seeing so many gracious, joyous volunteers greeting you, directing you so kindly and so gently wherever you need to go, and then looking out at the field as it filled little by little with people who, with all the things they might do with a day, have chosen to come sit in who knows what kind of weather – hot sun, cold, or some of both – for several hours because they care so deeply about peace in the world… that spirit for me was just phenomenal. It was a gift I will hold and cherish always.

Dr. Bawa Jain (Secretary-General of the World Council of Religious Leaders, USA)
Affirmations and signs are very important, and yesterday at the ceremony there was great sign. We had sincerely prayed and shared our prayers, and as we came off the stage, Mrs. Saionji was hugging me and thanking me for my speech, and I was thanking her for her energy. We both looked up, and saw a halo around the sun. And I said to her, “Go to the stage, and share it with everybody!” There are great signs here. Something else happened at four in the morning that day that was linked to the halo. I woke up and went to look at Mount Fuji, and I saw a ring around it, like the rings around Saturn. The first word that came into my mind was ‘halo.’ And then, just as we finished that part of the ceremony, we looked up and saw a halo. So, I believe that we have come here at a very special time, with God’s blessings, and that this is going to have special meaning as we go forward.
I also had two special moments outside of the ceremony here at Fuji Sanctuary. The first was walking to the top of the Seven Stations and finding a place where I could sit and pray. The second one was being able to write prayers in the 7-21 activity. I had just come from Iran, where I was on a very sensitive peace mission. And so, when they asked me to pray here, I was able to offer that intention here, to pray for peace in Iran. And of course, Mount Fuji is also very special – mighty and majestic.
I think that the more people who come here and experience this, the more they will be transformed. And that’s all we need – transformation. This event is a great instrument of transformation, raising people’s consciousness, and giving them inspiration and hope. So, I hope we can continue to spread this movement.

Mr. Ichiyu Shanku (Chief priest, Mino Shichimenzan Houko-ji Temple, Japan)
When I greeted Mrs. Saionji at Fuji Sanctuary, I had a vision of the Emperor praying for his people at the palace shrine.
At Fuji Sanctuary, I could feel the powerful energy of the earth. I believe that Byakko established its sanctuary here in order to accomplish a great mission for the earth and the universe. While I was at Fuji Sanctuary, a certain feeling was constantly welling up inside me, for no particular reason. It was a feeling of accepting everyone and everything, while still retaining our own individuality – of embracing one another without losing our propriety. That is to say, I ws enveloped by a utopian air of mutual affirmation. I couldn’t help but be conscious of an atmosphere just like that of the place where the Lotus Sutra was taught – where all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas resonated in sync with one another, and even the earth shook with delight. Nichiren Shonin longed to have a home sanctuary near Mount Fuji. The Lotus Sutra is often called the ‘white lotus.’ I think this is the same as Byakko’s ‘white light,’ which shines eternally in the depths of the human heart.

Ven. Chung Ohun Lee (Executive Director, United Nations and Interreligious Affairs of Won Buddhism International, Korea/USA)
Two moments deeply touched my heart. One was when the Byakko members performed the wordless prayer with deep breathing (IN). That was very powerful, as if it was connecting earth energy and universal energy, and brought all the beings in the ceremony into oneness. The second moment was Masami Saionji’s prayer. I didn’t understand the language, but her prayer energy touched my heart and generated special energy in my heart, and connected with the universal energy. Those two moments deeply struck my heart, and I was very grateful to have such spiritual moments within the ceremony.
I love this open space to pray, with a view of Mount Fuji. I was struck by the globe and world map, and by the Prayer Field. I wish that each country could have this kind of place – a prayer site where there is sacred energy and people can come together to pray. That is a very powerful way to send peace energy out to the universe.

Gurubachan Singh Khalsa (Sikh Yoga Teacher, USA)
It is a real blessing to be here. I think the prayers that emanate from here bring peace to the entire world. I feel that this is a time when Earth is very much angry and at war, and to still the drums of war, you must have the prayers of peace. And it begins here. It’s magnificent under the reign of Mount Fuji.
The work you are all doing all over the world is magnicifent, bringing the awareness to humanity that there is a price for peace – that it requires everybody to truly participate. It cannot begin with government legislation – it really begins in the heart and soul of every individual person.

Mr. John Morton (Spiritual Director MSIA, USA)
We love being here. This is a beautiful sanctuary – an oasis, a Shangri-la. In the Sanskrit language, it’s called a Kohinoor, which means ‘mountain of light.’
We feel your dedication and the beauty that’s here for all people from all walks of life, and that people who come here receive a gift in their heart. If they can breathe, they can receive the gift. It’s pure, very universal, and infinite.