Reverend Shodo Mitomo, Seattle Nichiren Buddhist Church
The lantern floating ceremony, performed annually at this event, is an adaptation of an ancient Japanese Buddhist ritual, called Toro Nagashi, in which lanterns representing the souls of the dead are floated out to sea and prayers are offered that the souls may rest in peace. The lanterns have come to represent, not only the victims of the atomic bomb, but also those who have died in violent conflict anywhere. The lanterns have become symbols of commitment to making a more peaceful world.
From Hiroshima to Hope has been created by local peace, faith and community organizations every August 6th since 1984; this year is the 23rd anniversary. The Seattle event has become one of the largest anywhere outside of Japan, often having more than a thousand attendees. It offers the hope to resolve our conflicts without violence, and join hands together in friendship to walk the pathway of peace.