Dreaming of a World without Conflict

For many years I have called for a world where all religions live together as one, where all races live as one, and all nations exist as one. For thousands of years, history has seen a continuous process of ever more divisions arising in the world. Each time a different religion was adopted or a new regime came into power, international boundaries were drawn and wars were fought. Now, however, we are in an age of globalism. In the future, the world must become one with the help of an international peace highway.

The international peace highway is a huge undertaking that will link Korea and Japan by undersea tunnel, and bridge the Bering Strait that separates Russia and North America. These great links can unify the world. When the highway is completed, it will be possible to travel by car from Africa's Cape of Good Hope to Santiago, Chile, and from London to New York. There will be no roadblocks; the entire world will be interconnected as if by capillary vessels.

The world will become one integrated community, and everyone will be able to travel freely across international borders. Borders that give

free passage to anyone will lose their significance as borders. Something similar will be true for religion. As the frequency of exchanges among religions increases, there will be greater mutual understanding, conflict will disappear, and the walls separating religions will crumble. When all different types of people live together in a single global community, barriers between races will come down. There will be interaction between races in spite of differences in appearance and language. A cultural revolution will bring all the world's cultures into harmony.

The Silk Road was not simply a trade route that people used in order to sell silk and buy spices. It was also a vehicle for the peoples of the east and west to meet and for Buddhism, Islam and Christianity to meet. These different cultures intermingled and gave rise to new'Culture. The international peace highway will play a similar role in the twenty-first century.

Rome could thrive because all roads led to Rome. This illustrates the importance of roads. When a road is built, people use it to travel. It is used to transport culture and ideology. That is why when a road is built it changes the course of history. When the international peace highway is completed, the world can be physically bound together as one. The road will make it so. I cannot overemphasize the importance of bringing the world together. Some may think that this is an idea ahead of its time. Religious people, however, foresee the future and prepare for it. So it is only natural that we are ahead of our time. The world may not be able to understand us and cause us to suffer, but a religious people must still lead the way in preparing for the future.

Completing the international peace highway will require the cooperation of many nations. China, which was a victim of Japanese aggression, may not welcome the idea of being connected to Japan by a highway. Japan and Korea, however, cannot connect to the rest of the world without going through China, so we need to make efforts to win China's trust Who will do this? Those of us who will take spiritual ownership over the international peace highway in the twenty-first century need to take the lead in this effort.

How about bridging the Bering Strait? It will cost an astronomical sum of money, but this also need not be a cause for concern. The amount of money that the United States spent in Iraq would be more than enough to build such a bridge. We must stop waging war and forcing people to suffer as a result. It is perverse for us to start a war and throw away trillions of dollars. The time has come for us to beat our swords into ploughshares, and our spears into pruning hooks.

The international peace highway is a project to bring the world together as one. To become one means something more than simply connecting continents by means of tunnels and bridges. It refers to an equalization of the world's standards of living. When someone monopolizes a technology and keeps the profit from that for himself, the balance of the world is upset. The international peace highway will rearrange the current inequality by creating access to existing natural and human resources, and through these resources it will bring about a leveling of wealth. Leveling means that a little is taken off of places that are high and added to places that are low so that the two come to have the same height la this process, those who possess more material possessions or knowledge will need to sacrifice. Building a world of peace cannot be done with one time charitable acts or donations. Only a sincere love, whereby a person seeks continuously to sacrifice himself and offer everything he owns, is capable of creating a world of peace.

Building the international peace highway is more than just providing the world a physical means of communication. Human beings are created so that their mind and body become one. Something similar is true for the world we live in. The world can be completely unified only when there is both physical communication and communication of heart.

The United Nations, founded after the Second World War, has done much for world peace. More than sixty years after its founding, however the United Nations is losing sight of its original purpose and becoming an organization that works for the interests of a few powerful countries. The UN was created to solve the conflicts that arise in the world, so it must put the world's interests before the interests of one side or the other. It only leads to further conflict when a powerful country insists on its own interests and uses force to pursue these. Unfortunately, the UN today is unable to do anything about such situations.

To overcome such shortcomings, the UN needs to adopt a bicameral structure, with upper and lower chambers. There needs to be a lower chamber similar to the existing one, where nations' political and diplomatic representatives gather to address the world's problems, and an upper chamber where interreligious leaders gather to discuss world peace. The interreligious leaders must be representatives of the faiths who have studied the various religions fully and who are open-minded in their outlook. Unlike the political leaders, they will not think only of the narrow interests of their own countries. These interreligious leaders will work for human happiness and world peace with hearts of love that embrace the entire human race. They must join forces with the diplomatic missions from each country for the purpose of building a world where there is no more conflict, a world that is unified in love.

Some may oppose this, saying, "Why should religious people become involved in world affairs?" The world today, however, is in a period when the participation of religious people who have achieved deep self-awareness through religious practice is crucial. It is religious people who can stand up to the unrighteousness and evil of the world and practice true love. It is only when the knowledge and experience of political leaders possessing the ability to analyze the world situation are combined with the wisdom of interreligious leaders possessing spiritual insight that the world will be able to find the path to true peace.

Today, too, I set out on my path with renewed determination to achieve that goal, and with a prayer that every person on the Earth will be reborn as a "peace-loving global citizen," transcending the barriers of religion, ideology and race.