[Updated on March 28th] (English version No.19)
3rd seminar given ‘heart to heart’ in Kyoto
“Heart of Article 9 Viewed from Today” was the theme of the A9A secretariat’s 3rd Constitution Seminar given on March 17th in Kyoto
Tsurumi Shunsuke, philosopher and founding member of A9A, gave his lecture. He was followed by Arima Raitei, priest of Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji temples.
“I had only graduated from elementary school in Japan, when I became a student of Philosophy Department of Harvard University.” Mr. Tsurumi said.“Before the start of the Pacific War, I once talked with my friends Tsuru Shigeto and Mr. Schlesinger. They said, ‘No Japan-U.S. war will possibly occur,’ but I said, ’It is sure to.’ I was right in the end. I wonder why those two great intellectuals turned out to be mistaken. I returned home by ship during the war without attending Harvard’s commencement ceremony. I once had the misfortune to play a role in the killing of a foreign sailor we had captured, under orders from a soldier senior to me. I myself didn’t kill him, but I was involved in his execution. I think now, “I killed a human during the war.” Unjustifiable acts, even though they are not called murder but homicide, go unchallenged during wartime. My belief is, ‘I killed a person, and killing is wrong whatever the reason.’”
Arima Raitei spoke about his experience meeting U.S. President George Bush. “Last year the former Prime Minister Koizumi Jun’ichiro and I welcomed George Bush at Kinkakuji Temple. The president looked rather gloomy. When I said to him, ‘Mr. President, peace is the best thing.’ He answered without looking up, ‘Yes. …’ I then thought him to be the most agonized man in the world. In Buddhism there is a precept that life itself is valuable. Another precept tells us that killing or depriving persons of their life is never right under any circumstances. The bill to establish procedures for national referendum on constitutional revision will open the way to war, and revising Article 9 will lead to cooperating in wars involving the U.S. The root cause of conflicts is turbidity of mind. We should remove this turbidity.”
Comments on the 3rd Seminar
Scores of the comments were given to the secretariat. Some of them are as follows.
* I was happy to hear various ideas ranging from history to Buddhism. I’m determined to tell my friends about what I have learned today, and opposed to an adverse revision of the Constitution. (Male student, 21)
* Not making war?not killing other people but making friends with them?is our common wish. I realized philosophy in the U.S. and Buddhism pursue this common wish. (Woman, 45)
* I was moved by the two lectures because they included their live and real experiences. Mr. Tsurumi’s talk, in particular, thrilled me to the marrow. Article 9 is really the treasure of the world. We must defend it by all means. (Male student, 18)
* I was moved to tears when I heard Mr. Arima talk about Buddhist ideas linking to the Constitution. I became a little more familiar with Buddhism. We should bring many people’s ideas about peace together. (Housewife, 58)
Sixth exchange meeting of occupational A9A groups held
The A9A secretariat’s 6th exchange meeting of A9A groups was held on March 19th in Tokyo. It was attended by 22 representatives from 11 groups.
They exchanged information about their activities in the two Constitution seminars held recently in Shizuoka and Kyoto, and talked about press conferences. The groups of sportspersons, mass media persons, prose writers and others each reported on their study meetings, discussions about the bill to make procedures for national referendum on a constitutional revision, and North Korean issues. The groups of scientists and musicians talked about their gatherings and concerts to mark 1st or 2nd anniversary of their founding.