Longest Walk Speech of Gandhi's Fujii Guruji

Pictured Walking with Mahatma Gandhi is The Most Venerable
Nichidatsu Fujii (1885-1985)
From whom Gandhi took up his prayer drum and "universal medicine word to give rise to the cosmic law"
And whom Gandhi called his "Fujii Guruji."

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--- The Longest Walk Speech of Mahatma Gandhi's "Fujii Guruji"

Speech delivered at the US Capitol steps, July 16, 1978 at the conclusion of the American Indian Movement's "Longest Walk" from San Francisco. Starting from the first word of his prepared speech delivered in Japanese language and translated section by section, continuing constantly through the end of the last sentence of its English translation when it abruptly stopped, there was constant thunder in the distance of the overcast city of Washington DC rolling around the 360degree perimenter of the skies -- this date was the 33rd anniversary of the first atomic bomb test, near Alamogordo, Los Alamos, New Mexico.

"The Longest Walk Speech"

by the Most Venerable Nichidatsu Fujii

Here at Washington, D.C., in North America, the great gathering of The Longest Walk is taking place today. This walk began on February 11th this year from a small island in the San Francisco Bay. The walkers braved uninhabited deserts, slept in snow-covered mountains at 12,000 feet, walked in strong gale and pelting rain, and finally have arrived in Washington, D. C., despite overwhelming odds without a single dropout after covering 30 to 80 kilometers a day. The ancestors of the Native Americans were repeatedly forced to march westward by the violence of the European refugees who landed on the East Coast. Every single one of these forced marches left a trail of tears, a trail of blood. Women and children were slaughtered, and many died of starvation and exposure in the harsh weather. It is said that approximately 20 million people were sacrificed. The United States of America has legislated a series of unjust laws aiming to annihilate the surviving Indian population in an abuse of state power. The Indian people have appealed their just cause to the world community at large in a truly spiritual way to defend their right to survival. They have organized The Longest Walk to push aside the violence of the US government with nonviolence.

Historically, the modern state is built on the myth known as the raison d’état [reason of state]. Its supreme principle of conduct is defined by need and convenience in sustaining the state’s status quo. In this case, the state can disregard various laws and statutes, morals and religion if they are not in the interest of preserving and fortifying the state. All laws, statutes and social morals have value only to the extent that they preserve and fortify the state. The sovereign power of the state is affirmed to be sacred. The Machiavellian realism in politics, which is craftiness, duplicity and manipulation, allows laws to be disregarded and deliberately misinterpreted.

Another characteristic of the modern state is the use of Christian missionaries, who should be advocates of peace, as proxies of state power in igniting countless wars. The ill reputation of Christian missionaries was earned through their association with the state power that they served. Even the use of nuclear weapons must be condoned based on the myth of raison d’ état, the fallacious belief in the sacredness of the sovereign state. Ever since its first use of nuclear weapons in Asia, the United States of America without compunction has repeatedly blackmailed the rest of humanity by publicly threatening their use under this rationale. If there is land White America needs, everything native must evacuate. Just as hares and snakes are driven away, so are the people who reside there. This is what is known as the American pioneering spirit. This notion derived from the myth of state sovereignty leads to violent acts. Ethnic dignity and self-determination of the Native American nations were denied by the violence of state sovereignty. How could these people whose very survival is at stake not see this state as their sworn enemy?

On November 24, 1961, the United Nations General Assembly presented “The Declaration on Banning the Use of Nuclear Weapons.” It states:

“Believing that the use of weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear and thermo-nuclear weapons, is a direct negation of the high ideals and objectives which the United Nations has been established to achieve through the protection of succeeding generations from the scourge of war and through the preservation and promotion of their cultures, declares that the use of nuclear and thermo-nuclear weapons would exceed even the scope of war and cause indiscriminate suffering and destruction to mankind and civilization and, as such, is contrary to the rules of international law and to the laws of humanity; the use of nuclear and thermo-nuclear weapons is a war directed not against an enemy or enemies alone but also against mankind in general, since the peoples of the world not involved in such a war will be subjected to all the evils generated by the use of such weapons. Any state using nuclear and thermo-nuclear weapons is to be considered as violating the Charter of the United Nations, as acting contrary to the laws of humanity and as committing a crime against mankind and civilization.”

On August 6, 1945 in Hiroshima, and on August 9 in Nagasaki, humanity experienced the very first catastrophes of the atomic bombings. It was none other than this country, the United States of America, who unleashed these bombs. The then Commander-in-Chief, General MacArthur, praised the achievements of the nuclear bombing claiming that it hastened the end of the war. He later explained that the use of nuclear weapons was necessary to protect the lives of young American soldiers. No one in the United States acknowledged the criminality of the use of nuclear weapons. In reckless intoxication with the ecstasy of victory and lauding nuclear weapons as guardians of peace, the United States fervently devoted itself to the development, production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons after the war. Despite the enormity of the disaster that they cause humanity, rather, precisely because of it, nuclear weapons were sanctified with righteous justifications that they are for the sake of “national security” and “in the interest of the people.”

At the 32nd General Assembly of the United Nations in 1977, Dr. Kurt Waldheim, Secretary General of the United Nations, called for the opening of the United Nations Special Session on Disarmament, saying, “The threat of self-destruction by nuclear war is the greatest danger confronting the world. The enormous amount of stockpiling and accuracy of nuclear weapons are further enhancing the danger of the final annihilation of mankind. It has become more evident that effective security cannot be obtained by the expansion of arms. The very basis which can eliminate the cause of tension and conflicts, and establish reciprocal international cooperation, can be found in disarmament.”

The United States of America has already used nuclear weapons. Not a single human soul will praise its victory thus won in war. History shall eternally condemn the criminality of the atomic bombings by the United States. First, the United States of America violated the UN Charter. Second, it committed crimes against humanity. Third, it is an enemy to humanity that could bring calamity to the whole of humankind. Fourth, it is a criminal capable of destroying civilization. But world affairs need not be looked at only in the context of their current pessimistic circumstances. The state of affairs in the world is by no means static, but constantly changes. Today with the extreme development of nuclear weapons and humanity’s knowledge of them, the only way to prevent humanity from the catastrophe it faces is to eliminate war itself. We must work with all our might for general and complete disarmament. General and complete disarmament is no longer a mental game but is the most realistic solution. The era of war, the era of violence, the era of murder and destruction is about to be put to rest.

No measures taken in anticipation of future conflicts or war will enable us to build true peace. The issue that takes precedence in creating genuine peace is the issue of removing fear and mistrust between discordant nations. Elimination of fear and mistrust is a purely spiritual issue, which religions have consistently taught from ancient times. Fear shall disappear when we believe in the Almighty God. We believe in the omniscient, omnipotent God to dispel our fear. We fear others when we suspect they are evil. When we believe in the goodness of others, we no longer fear them. We do not believe in God because we have seen His omnipotence. We seek to see God’s omnipotence by believing in Him. We do not believe in the goodness of others because we have seen their goodness. When we believe in the goodness of others, we can dispel our own fear and become capable of amicable associations with them. Believing in the omnipotence of God whom we cannot see is a disciplinary practice of the mind and heart enabling us to believe in the goodness in others, which we cannot see.

Once we reject the belief in absolute state sovereignty, and after we eliminate all armaments including nuclear weapons and completely bring an end to war, we must create a new civilization and an era of perpetual peace. However, the people of this new era will be the same people who were dependent on self-defense through arms. The most crucial requirement for these people is a spiritual foundation for disarmament, namely, acts of conscience as human beings. Development in science served to build the civilization of materials yet incurred the crisis of annihilation of humanity. The myth of absolute state sovereignty is another spiritual ailment, a consequence of heightened arrogance and avarice. No matter how much we change systems or bring our minds together, there is no prospect in dispelling mutual fear and mistrust unless people open up the gate to spiritual change. Spiritual transformation comes without disgrace. Buddha Dharma teaches that when we free ourselves from delusions we become enlightened.

The civilization of the new era, the era of perpetual peace, will be the spiritual civilization. The civilization of religion is the universal center of the spiritual civilization. Nichiren Daishônin called this Risshô-ankoku [give rise to the True Dharma to bring peace and tranquility to the nation]. The religious faith of the Native Americans that has been carried down to this day will be the source for creating lasting peace in the future. No one visits the graves of General MacArthur or Harry Truman today, yet tens of thousands of people gather and mourn the sacrifice of Hiroshima and Nagasaki each year.

(Translation by Yumiko Miyazaki)

1/13/2007 3:32 PM


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