Inauguration speech of Sakura Parc – Cognard Hanshi

Ecrit par Aikido.FR le 17 août 2017, dans Evènement, Textes

Your presences honour and fill us with joy. On behalf of France Shibu, I thank you from the
bottom of my heart.
I would like to tell you about this place, its design and its meaning, but before that, allow
me to address the Mayor, Olivier Bianchi:
Sir, I would like to thank you personally and express my admiration for your determination.
You at once understood the importance of the message which has been brought to life in
this park and you did not hesitate in uniting your voice with ours to call for peace through
this symbol. Really, thank you !

From time immemorial, men have erected standing stones to convey their messages, most
probably to signify their aspirations to spiritual elevation. They can be found across our
world, and even if, for many sites, their mystery continues, these monuments contribute to
the elaboration of a universal language, a sort of « fundamental human tongue » beyond
Here, in this park for peace, in Clermont-Ferrand, we have tried to materialize a wish
(hope) and, to achieve this; we have chosen a symbol rather than words. So some may
think that it is not appropriate to talk about it, but I still want to clarify our approach.
Consider the grove of Japanese Yoshino cherry trees surrounded by various other species
and a stone monument!
The presence of the Yoshino cherry trees could refer exclusively to Japanese culture, but
the mix of species evokes the marriage of cultures, and the way Japan and France
We could have created a stone monument according to the rules of the Zen garden or
erected a menhir, thus imitating the men of Carnac, but we chose both. Because today to
unite men in a same desire for peace we must help cultures live side by side.
We chose different stones: lava from the volcanoes of Auvergne, basalt from its meadows
and carrara marble to say that there is no risk of hybridization. A Yoshino cherry will not
change its nature because it is planted near an ash tree. It is a matter of allowing their
beauties come together so that they may enrich one another.
The ephemeral cherry blossoms express the charm of youth, and the brilliance of
something pure.
The sculptor François Desforges, whose work you can admire, has fixed their glow in the
carrara and enclosed their evanescence in the lava.
When the cherry trees bloom in spring, the people of Clermont-Ferrand will come to picnic
on this square, following the Japanese tradition of hanami. But when the harsh winter of
Auvergne sets in, the Carrara sakura will remind the passer-by of our hope and our vows
of eternal peace.In every message, regardless of language or culture, there is always the risk of seeming
arrogant. So, sheltered by the menhir, we awkwardly arranged the basalt stones to say
that however high our ideals, we wish to speak of them humbly.
Thus, artlessly aligned, they may seem insignificant. But understand: The ideal, unlike
ideology, appeals to what is best in humans. All living beings legitimately aspire to
happiness. The humble intimately feel that it is the alchemy of peace and freedom that
constitutes its essence. And they aspire to peace for the good of their children and their
loved ones.
However, the powerful must decide that peace is preferable and that peace must prevail
among us all. So this message is addressed to those who have the power to decide, that
they may choose the peaceful way, a way without violence. A way that all budo (s), that is
to say all authentic martial arts, follow today.
To conclude, I will reveal the secret of this place. As humans we know that we are never
permanently free from misfortune and suffering. In Asian traditions, the northern direction,
the one where the sun never goes, is often considered malevolent. So the three basalt
stones, aligned with the northern gate, channel this energy, take it to the ground and the
menhir purifies it.
Thus, we hope that this group, trees and stones, invested today with the power of your
gathered minds, will fulfil our expectation that beyond the simple message for the passer-
by, this park becomes a place of apotropaic invocation.
All the gestures we will now make to inaugurate this park will express our hope that peace
prevails in the world. When the Yoshino cherry trees will have bloomed over and over
again and not one of us will be left to share the secret, let us hope that our descendants
will be able to read it in this monument, and will add their voices to our own.
Thus they will understand how much we loved them before we knew them.
Thank you.