Reverend Gyoro Nagase: walking and praying for peace in Chile and Portugal

Reverend Gyoro Nagase, of the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist order, is based at the Peace Pagoda in Battersea park in London.

Chile, September 2017

The following article appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of Gandhi Way, the newsletter of the Gandhi Foundation:


“In September 2017 Buddhist monk Reverend Nagase of the London Peace Pagoda went on a Peace Pilgrimage to Chile where he gave the following interview to Heidi Schmidlin. Victor Jara was a celebrated Chilean singer, poet, theatre director as well as a socialist and human rights campaigner. Shortly after the military coup of September 1973 he was detained, along with many others, and after torture was shot.

photo by Monica Oportot

1. What is the thought, intention, objective that brings you to Chile ?

Chapter 11 of the Lotus Sutra, ‘The Precious Stupa’, says: And ever wanders everywhere
For the sake of this sutra.
These precious words bring me to Chile.

2. What relates the Andean mountains to the Himalayan clusters ?

In Japan, we celebrate the Buddha’s birthday on 8 April, as the Hanamatsuri (Flower Festival).
Edmundo P. Zaldivar’s composition ‘El Humahuaqueño’ (1943) – based on Andean folk music – was introduced to Japan by Yvette Giraud. Girard’s chanson ‘La fete des fleurs’ (French release: 1953) was titled ‘Hanamatsuri’ in Japanese (1956), and it became very popular.

In the 1990s, when I went to India to participate in Peace Pagoda ceremonies, in New Delhi I found an image of the baby Buddha, and bought it. I thought this image of the baby Buddha should go to the Andes. I sent it to a friend living in Santiago. This is the very magical connection of the Andes and the Himalayas.

3. How does this particular geography help or endow your spiritual path ?

Mt. Fuji is the very symbol of Japan. The beauty of the mountain is nature’s compassionate offering, bringing joy to the people. I really wish to see the Volcano Osorno. I wish to pray for the land and the people of Chile.

DSC_3680 (1)
Orsono volcano viewed from Petrohué waterfalls, Chile. Photo by Monica Oportot

4. What is the role of voyages, of being on the road, for our personal development ?

Chanting Namumyohorengekyo, alongside beating the drum.

5. What forces are summoned when you walk as meditation?

Chanting Namumyohorengekyo, alongside beating the drum.

6. Do you have a secret, a method, to overcome exhaustion ?

Chanting Namumyohorengekyo, alongside beating the drum.

7. What do you build inside your consciousness, or look for, with the project to walk through Santiago de Compostela and southern Chile to Osorno Volcano ? What does this volcano mean to you ?

Chanting Namumyohorengekyo, alongside beating the drum.
As mentioned above, Mt. Fuji is the very symbol of Japan. The beauty of the mountain is nature’s compassionate offering, bringing joy to the people. Likewise, the Volcano Osorno (photo on page 2). I wish to pray for the land and the people of Chile.

8. How did you meet, or come to know, Victor Jara ? What does he mean to you ?

During the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese people did not lose their smiles in their daily lives, because they knew justice was on their side. Throughout the invasion by the US – the US being the strongest war machine – the Vietnamese people’s smiles stood up to American weapons. The Vietnam War proved humanity is stronger than modern weapons, and justice is stronger than violence. The great victory of Vietnam is the great history of humanity.

I saw Victor Jara’s images. He had a nice smile.

He is Victor.

On left: Joan Jara, Victor’s widow, with Rev. Nagase. who is holding a record jacket which was presented by Joan. The back cover shows a Chinese brushing ink painting of a galloping horse by a Chinese artist who was not known. Rev Nagase was able to identify it as by Xu Beihong. Photo by Monica Oportot

PS by the Editor: Further to the above, a documentary film has recently been released concerning the embargo of military aircraft engines from the Chilean air force which were used in the 1973 coup. These arrived at the Rolls Royce factory in East Kilbride near Glasgow for repair in March 1974. But four of the engines were spotted by politically aware engineers who were shop stewards and with the support of the rest of the workforce, although not the management, no repairs were carried out and they lay in the factory for 4 years – until they disappeared. The film – Nae Pasaran – has been made by Felipe Bustos Sierra, the son of a Chilean refugee who settled in Belgium.”


Portugal, 17 – 25 March 2018

In March 2018 Reverend Nagase went on a Prayer Pilgrimage to Portugal:



“In light of the ever-escalating damages caused by extraordinary natural disasters in recent years and days, we cannot be satisfied with simply devising countermeasures. We must prevent the ultimate calamity – acts of war – which inevitably follows scourges of unprecedented natural convulsion as its portent. All acts of war arise from a single thought in the heart and mind of man and are executed through the hands and feet of man. When compassion, which values the lives of others and laments their anguish, awakens in the heart and mind, acts of war will eventually cease. A mechanism to evoke compassion in the heart and mind of men needs to be built and measures taken to prevent war in our societies. People must take the initiative to cultivate compassion in their own hearts and minds.

Despite potential shortcomings or harm Buddhism may have, its essence is nothing other than to teach compassion and to provide guidance for a social life that never condones murder or destruction. This is called the precept of not taking life. If we fail to adopt radical spiritual measures at this time, I am deeply concerned that the future of world ́s humanity, might be that of destruction and annihilation.”

Excerpt from the Dharma talk `On the first anniversary of Kano River disaster ́ by the Most Ven. Nichidatsu Fujii, 10 October, 1959. Mishima Dojo, Japan

jaime_magalhaes_lima (2)
Jaime de Magalhaes Lima (1859-1936), Portuguese philosopher, poet and writer at his St. Francis Farm


On 17 June 2017, forest fires broke out in Pedrógão Grande, Portugal, resulting in the deaths of 64 people. This March, I would like to undertake a humble prayer pilgrimage from Aveiro to Pedrógão Grande, to offer my sincere prayers for the victims of the forest fires and for this planet.

On 22 August 2017, my birth prefecture of Aichi, in Japan, recorded 6,900 thunderbolts within a day. More and more forests of this planet face possible extinction.

St. Elizabeth, Queen of Portugal (1271–1336), once rode a donkey between two armies at war, shaming both sides into laying down their arms. She fulfilled such a peace mission on two occasions, bringing about a golden age of peace and prosperity.

St. Elizabeth carried out these peace missions through the power of prayer alone, not through armaments, nuclear weapons, or any other form of nuclear power. Non-violence is the only way

to bring peace to the people and to the land, the world over.

I would be grateful for your kind support (by way of accommodation and food), and for your participation to help make this pilgrimage possible.

With palms together in prayer, Rev. G. Nagase.

Tentative schedule for the Prayer Pilgrimage in Portugal 2018

Sat. 17 March: Arrive at Porto Airport from London 21:15

Sun. 18 March: Visit and pray at the grave of Princess St. Joanna, in Aveiro

Mon. 19 March: Jaime de Magalhães Lima’s statue in the park in Aveiro – Eixo (St. Francis Farm) – Agueda

Tue. 20 March: Agueda – Mealhada
Wed. 21 March: Mealhada – Coimbra (visit and pray at the grave of St. Elizabeth, Queen of Portugal) Thur. 22 March: Coimbra – Penela
Fri. 23 March: Penela – Pedrógão Grande
Sat. 24 March: Coimbra
Sun. 25 March: Depart from Porto Airport 21:15 – Arrive Stansted Airport (U.K.) 23:45


Reverend Gyoro Nagase: walking and praying for peace in Chile and Portugal

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