September 08, 2010
There's a peaceful alternative offered by New York Buddhist Church and its resident minister, Rev. Nakagaki. From the Huffington Post:
Liberals and conservatives have chosen sides over the Muslim community center near Ground Zero and plan to use the anniversary of September 11 as their battlefield. Abortion polemics are out; the debate over Islam is in. And so, come this Saturday, there will be two massive demonstrations: one protesting the Muslim community center near Ground Zero, and one supporting it and religious freedom. Every religious group in America, it seems, has chosen a side.
Instead of joining one side or the other, Rev. T.K. Nakagaki will host his annual memorial service for the dead. The service takes place at Pier 40, overlooking the Hudson River, at 6 PM. Everyone from both sides of this new conflict is invited to pray for the dead, all together.
The service is both Buddhist and interfaith. At its center is the traditional Obon ceremony for the dead, loosely translated as the Floating Lantern Ceremony. Rice paper lanterns are inscribed with the names of the dead, lit with candles, and floated out to sea (in this case the Hudson River, via the assistance of the New York Kayak Club). The United Sikhs, a social service Sikh group, will provide food as part of its spiritual practice.
Before the lanterns go out, a series of interfaith prayers will be led by the Interfaith Center of New York.
It was announced in June that Rev. Nakagaki will be leaving the New York Buddhist Church at the end of September. Tricycle wishes him well!