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Asayo Horibe Addresses the Opening Plenary

Asayo Horibe addressed the Opening Plenary at the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, USA.

On behalf of my family, my community, my city, my state, and the Buddhist Council of the Midwest, I want to welcome you to this gathering of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. It’s been my privilege to be a former trustee and a participant in this gathering since 1993.

I am so grateful for the friendships that have come my way since the beginning of this journey. While you’re here for the next five days, you will be offered the exposure to the world. You’ll have the opportunity to observe, to listen, to share, and to appreciate the many ways we have now to learn, to live, and survive in this home that we call the Earth. We’re given the ability to make choices on how our life should be.

My teachers told me that anyone can be your teacher. There are options out there and only we can know if we pick the right one. Our heroes and our heroes are Jesus, Ruth, Mohammed, the Buddha, Guru Nanak, Tick Nahan, Mother Teresa, Jane Goodall, Reddith Unberg, and many more.

We have free will and many options to choose our heroes and our heroes. In our many cultures and spiritual traditions, they have different names. Some in Buddhism, we call them bodhisattvas, ask a Buddhist what a bodhisattva is. In Christianity, we call them saints. In Sikhism, we call them gurus. In Hinduism, we call them swami. 

However, we name them. They have shown us our choices, and they’ve shown their wisdom with us. They’ve shared it with us. We always have the option to choose. We have the option to choose whichever one works for us. As the Buddha taught, there are 84,000 ways to get to the top of the mountain. We do not always know how to be respectful, kind, or compassionate. Please continue to show me how to say your name, how I may greet you, and always let me know if I’ve made a mistake and harmed you.

I may be over three-quarters of a century on this planet, but I’m still learning and practicing. Let’s all travel this journey to be one in the community, to be one in humanity, and to share the burden to save this Earth, our home. Can you be open to observe, to listen, and to share, and appreciate the treasures, the diversity and the oneness because you and I are one?

I thank you all for your kind attention. I’m sorry, I forgot Namaste. Enjoy the conference, talk to everybody, greet everybody, and go home with the treasures that you’ve received at this gathering. Be safe, take care of your life.

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