Speech at the Winter Solstice

21. December 2023

by Shodo Harada Roshi


The sangha who have joined here for doing these two excellent sesshins consecutively, this very excellent effort, the Roshi acknowledges thoroughly. This effort is what will bring rebirth to all beings. And you all know that and that is why you are here. It is not about Buddhism. For humans who are always so confused. We look at that clearly. Seeing ourselves among that and then we can see how important in this world where there are two large wars between Ukraine and Russia, Israel and Hamas, other wars over the world as well. There are wars forming many places. Many, many countries have wars and all of this is a result of the dregs of the ego, not just one person's, but the whole globe is involved in this.

How are humans to become something which is going beyond this but this is not something that can be done. Even with a 100 year view. Our lives are limited. How can we offer that short life to be able to grab guns and kill each other? As the Buddha has said: How precious it is to be born as a human being, how rare it is. That we are now born as a human being.

It is happening all over the place we are born as human beings but why doesn't this energy get used for the conditions of the best future for all of us? It is not about doing it for ourselves only, but for the minds full of overexcited ideas and opinions. If we could align those, then we would have great amounts of security with each other and influence more and more people.

The world is getting fuller and fuller of weapons and disagreements. And we are unable to live safely as humans in this way. It needs to have something where we put our energy and our intention into living safely. That would make 180 degree turn in just the opposite direction of what we're going right now. For that reason, everyone here has come here to work on that very purpose and align ourselves in our countries that are represented here, as well is as with all of our energy gathering together from the places we've come from. Those who have come from so far. Those who have come before those who have come for the first time, a great gathering of energy has been held toward the learning on the direction humans need to head towards, everyone looks for an answer. But to move forward is what we have to do.

That is why we need to see clearly how many billions of years it took to create this planet, and now 7,7 billion people are destroying it. Everyone here knows that. And this is not something we haven't heard before. But it is nothing that has happened only during this time, or because of us. All the people that have been here, it is a chance now to be able to see in this way that we have realized the efforts that are coming forward from everyone. This is what is most necessary now.

The month of December in Buddhism is a deepest darkness. Days of the deepest darkness extreme Yin, night is long day short. For Buddhists, this is a new year. Buddhism sees this as the time for the ending of delusion and welcoming of clarity and light. This is from the almanac stance and for the world of mind, this is also the time to clear our mind from all delusions. Only then is it a true New Year.


In Buddhism all the sects join in this celebration at the same time, it is that important. And with that meaning, which is happening even now as we are still struggling with our yet to be resolved delusions and ego dregs, for the efforts we have been making, we celebrate and tonight we celebrate together for what we have done together. And with that strong energy we go through to our new day of beginning our training again is a new year. To do this completely for that operation of celebrating this night, anything and everything goes, for all of us to enjoy and have this time together to celebrate what we have to do and then get back to the hard work.