behalf of our Soka Gakkai International-USA (SGI-USA) Buddhist community, we offer both our deep prayers and our resolve for action in response to the senseless murder of 49 precious human beings as well as those wounded in Orlando, Florida yesterday. We stand in heartfelt solidarity with the families and loved ones of those who were killed, with the residents of Orlando and with the global LGBTQ community.

We are saddened beyond words by this tragic loss of life. As President Obama noted, it was an act arising from hatred, and as Buddhists we believe that the fundamental antidote for the stream of hatred which distorts our society, is to build an even deeper stream of compassion that affirms our bonds as brothers and sisters and challenges those ideologies which would divide us into “us” against “them”.

Finally, we reflect on the shocking fact that a single heavily armed person was able to inflict this much damage and suffering on so many. We therefore call on our elected leaders to put the safety and well-being of our communities first, and to reach across the borders of party and ideology to enact common-sense, humanitarian limits on the availability of those weapons whose only purpose is to kill other human beings.