A Great Speech – J. R. Jayewardene

At the same day when I met “Wicky san”, it was actually the commemoration of the first Sri Lanka president, Mr. J. R. Jayewardene’s, who was the really great president for Japan. It was his 112 birth commemoration.

After the WWII, Japan was in a crisis of dividing to four different parts governed by different countries, which were The US, The UK, Russia, and China. However, it was the year 1951, at the San Francisco conference, Mr. J. R. Jayewardene made a great speech by using Buddha’s quote: “Hatred ceases not by hatred, but by love.” Then the atmosphere of the conference had been changed by his speech, Japan could be out of woods.

His speech was the following:

“We in Ceylon were fortunate that we were not invaded, but the damage caused by air raids, by the stationing of enormous armies under the South-East Asian Command, and by the slaughter- tapping of one of our main commodities, rubber, when we were the only producers of natural rubber for the Allies, entitle us to ask that the damage so caused should be repaired. We do not intend to do so, for we believe in the words of the Great Teacher whose message has ennobled the lives of countless millions in Asia, that “hatred ceases not by hatred, but by love.” It is the message of the Buddha, the Great Teacher, the Founder of Buddhism, which spread a wave of humanism through South Asia, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Siam, Indonesia and Ceylon, and also northwards through the Himalayas into Tibet, China, and finally, Japan, which bound us together for hundreds of years with a common culture and heritage. This common culture still exists, as I found on my visit to Japan last week on my way to attend this Conference; and from the leaders of Japan, Ministers of State as well as private citizens, from their priests in the temples, I gathered the impression that the common people of Japan are still influenced by the shadow of that Great Teacher of peace, and wish to follow it. We must give them that opportunity.”

Actually, for me it was the first time to know his honorable work for Japan by anticipating his commemoration.

Thank you, Mr. J. R. Jayewardene.