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Hearts of Service Luncheon


Contributed by David Haro, New York Youth Association



The Heart of Service Luncheon was celebrated at The Plaza Hotel in the heart of Manhattan. It was a wonderful opportunity to see Her Holiness Shinso Ito in person. For Shinnyo Buddhists, she is a living Buddha, our dear leader, the embodiment of peace, selflessness and compassion, the key elements of service being celebrated at this special occasion. I am sure the communal ease and smiles palpable among the speakers at the luncheon, award recipients and guests, owed much to her harmonizing presence. Not enough people get to experience her humble wisdom and disarming kindness and I am grateful to have experienced both in person as she said a few words and presented New York, the city I love, with a precious gift, a small statue of Prince Shotoku, a personified symbol of peace and harmony that her father, His Holiness Shinjo Ito, sculpted long ago to link people of good will across time and space. Resonating with her father’s original intention, Her Holiness’ gesture extended one more wonderful bridge to New York.

The luncheon also gave me a chance to reconnect with the executives, staff and fellows of the Shinnyo-en Foundation. Seeing them joyfully at work reminded me that it is also through their bridge-building efforts that Her Holiness Shinso Ito’s message of peace and interconnectedness is able to reach people of different cultures and continents. Representing different backgrounds, generations and ethnicities working together to advance the Six Billion Paths to Peace initiative, they’re a true and vivid reminder that “Kindness has no borders.”

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