Jodie Chiemi Ching
On the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 21, a special virtual “Ring Your Bell for Peace Day” event was held to commemorate International Peace Day. The event was a joint effort presented by the Buddhist temples of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, the United Nations Association of Hawaii and KTUH Radio.
Members of various temples, churches, schools, organizations as well as individuals were invited to join in via Zoom from around the world.
The event also featured performances by ‘ukulele virtuoso and this year’s Ambassador for Peace Day Jake Shimabukuro and vocalist-entertainer Melveen Leed.
The event started with a warm welcome from Peace Day Committee chairperson Rene Mansho. She pointed out that the highlight would be “the ringing of bells for peace by over 1,600 of you (viewers) all on Zoom … at 9:01 (a.m.) for five minutes.”
Bishop Marvin Harada from the Buddhist temples of America stated, “By ringing a bell for peace today, we remind ourselves, alert ourselves, awaken ourselves, to find a sense of peace within our own hearts and minds so that our family life can be peaceful, so that our communities can be peaceful, so that our countries and nations can be peaceful and so that our world can be peaceful.”
First Lady of Hawai‘i Dawn Amano-Ige spoke about the unique new challenges that “require us to reflect with humility and compassion and act with intention and kindness to see the change we want in our world. … Change isn’t instantaneous, it comes from our collective efforts to do small things everyday with a big vision so we can create a more equitable and sustainable future for generations to come.” Then, Amano-Ige recited a proclamation from Gov. David Ige acknowledging Sept. 21, 2021 as Peace Day.
Following the welcome speeches, Jake Shimabukuro performed a song he played for the Dalai Lama entitled “Missing Three.” It’s a song about “appreciating what you have and trying to make the most of it,” explained Shimabukuro.
To initiate the ringing of the bells, Bishop Eric Matsumoto urged all viewers to seek understanding. “If we work for peace out of anger, we will never succeed. We have to listen to everyone, especially those we consider our enemies. When we show our capacity of listening and understanding, the other person will also listen to us. This is the beginning of healing.”
At 9:01 a.m., streaming from the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, Bishop Matsumoto started the ringing of the bell followed by five minutes of viewer-participants ringing their own bells — including jingle bells, singing bowls and even a wine glass hit with a chopstick — from around the world.
Following the collective chicken-skin ringing of bells, Jake Shimabukuro presented a carefully curated “Songs of Peace” performance which included “Imagine,” “Ave Maria,” “Annon” and “Ichigo Ichie.”
Here are some scenes from this year’s “Ring Your Bell for Peace Day” event which can be viewed in its entirety on the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii YouTube channel (youtu.be/ZSX4wsMEe9Q).