和 (wa): Harmony
「和」means gentleness, harmony, and peace in English. Speaking of harmony and peace, we often emphasize the importance of being mindful and maintaining a peaceful mind in our daily life. However, in addition to our inner peace, it's also crucial to note that inner peace can be greatly affected by external factors, such as the words or body languages from other people. Words and languages are so powerful that they can ruin our moods or save our lives in a second. In this sense, today's statement reminds me of the the other statement 「和顔愛語」which means "gentle faces and loving languages". Looking at the status quo of our world, where so many hate crimes are surging against Asians globally, where there are still quite a lot of people calling covid-19 as "China virus", where most of us in the United States are still constrained at home, I think it is really pivotal for us to show our gentle faces and to speak in a gentle, uplifting, and empathetic manner to the people we don't know, to the people we just meet, and to the people we love. Gentle faces and loving languages are our weapons to fight against hates and to defend our inner peace. Love will win.
Tea students in the Urasenke Urbana-Champaign association