Toward a Truly Prosperous Society - Beyond Nuclear Power
Because of the great earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, many local people lost loved ones, had to evacuate their hometowns, and have been forced into lives of hardship. Rissho Kosei-kai has prayed for those who lost their lives, and it has stood by the people in the disaster area and their families. It has been providing hands-on spiritual and material assistance to them. These people are struggling hard as they move along the path to rebuilding their lives, and no words can fully express the extent of their grief and suffering.
The lives of many individuals and families in Fukushima Prefecture have been particularly uprooted as a result of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station of the Tokyo Electric Power Company. The confusion and insecurity that immediately followed the accident severed close ties among people who had grown up together in local communities. Countless families now worry about the effects of radiation on their children and those still unborn. Many mothers and mothers-to-be are very concerned. This accident has also caused considerable fear among people throughout the world, especially in neighboring countries, creating an incalculable burden for future generations.
Nuclear power was once called “the energy of the future,” and the Japanese are among those who have benefited from it. But we have now directly learned the lesson that it only takes one accident to cause widespread alarm and potential physical harm. We are to blame, one and all, for believing that economic prosperity is the source of happiness, and for ignoring the negative aspects of nuclear power as we increasingly relied on it. What this lesson asks of us is to build a truly prosperous society, one that does not rely on nuclear power to generate its electricity, as rapidly as possible. To do that, we must concentrate our knowledge and wisdom on developing and using renewable energy that is safer than nuclear power. But the most important thing for us is to reconsider the values and lifestyles that have endlessly escalated our energy consumption at the cost of the sacrifices of so many. Now is the time to nurture the mindset of “knowing what is enough.” We believe we now have the best opportunity to curb our excessive consumption, and to discover the value of the happiness we can experience when we lead simpler lives.
The world today needs a transformation of contemporary civilization. If we continue with our current way of living, which seeks economic and material prosperity above all else, we will surely not be able to protect our finite global environment or leave a more livable society for future generations. Furthermore, the economy and society widespread today, which have seen a widening disparity between the rich and the poor worldwide, in no way ensure happiness for humanity at large. We must change the measure of how we live so as to bring about living together in harmony with nature and the creation of a fair “shared economy” that provides basic security for all people.
Rissho Kosei-kai esteems and cherishes all life, and we will work tirelessly to bring about a spiritually rich and peaceful society based on the harmonious coexistence of humankind and nature. We believe that doing this is a bodhisattva practice that we, as Buddhists, must undertake.
June 18, 2012