Buddhist peace tour arrives in Livermore

by Jeanine Benca, Valley Times, July 21, 2009

LIVERMORE, CA (USA) -- At a time when the world's eyes are turned toward the unfolding arms race between the U.S. and North Korea, a group of Japanese Buddhist monks is travelling cross-country with a message of disarmament.

"Trinity to Trident," an interfaith peace tour led by the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist monks, began July 6 near Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico. The group arrived in Livermore on Tuesday, where they were greeted by the members of the anti-nuclear community organization Tri-Valley CAREs, and walked to Lawrence Livermore Laboratory.

The goal of the tour, which also includes members of the Native American community and other faith traditions, is to promote non-violence and call attention to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference to be held in 2010, organizers say.

"The message is very simple . . . We should not be hypocritical," Senji Kanaeda, one of the tour leaders, said Tuesday of the nation's nuclear program.

Kanaeda, a Japanese Buddhist monk who moved to the United States about five years ago, and who ilves in Seattle, says he believes a greater emphasis on nonproliferation is needed to achieve world peace.

He carries with him pictures of disfigurements and radiation-linked diseases caused by the World War II atomic bomb drops on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to remind people of his mission.

The group's 15 or so members drove to the Bay Area from New Mexico last week. Since Sunday, they have walked from Berkeley to Oakland to Alameda.

As a nuclear weapons design site, the Livermore Lab is a "symbolically important place" along the tour, said Marylia Kelley, executive director of Tri-Valley CAREs. The 26-year-old activist group works to promote non-proliferation.

On Tuesday, members organized a welcoming ceremony for the peace tour at the lab.

The peace tour group will drive north later this week, then walk through parts of Washington state. It will end at the Trident nuclear submarine base in Bangor, Wash. on Aug. 10.

For more information, visit www.trivalleycares.org