Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey and all revolutionaries were a part of my like moreover as a Buddhist I learned that we must show gratitude to those who came before you. Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism taught me to honor not only the living but I learned to respect the dead and give honor and libation to my deceased. In my Buddhist prayers Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and others were always a part of my Buddhist life. I request that our high Priest travel to Ghana to pay homage to the millions of Africans who died in the middle passage coming from Africa to the Americas.
Let me bring my lecture back to the 40th anniversary honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. In the Gosho the Gift of Rice the Daishonin writes; ““The gift of rice;” The true path of life lies in the affairs of this world. The Konkomyo Sutra reads, "To have a profound knowledge of this world is itself Buddhism." The Nirvana sutra reads, "All scriptures or teachings, from whatever source, are ultimately the revelation of Buddhist truth." Dr. Martin Luther King is known all over the world and is now one of America's greatest heroes. The Congress of America passed a law that honors the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr. Martin Luther King is in our American history books as a great American hero. We at our Buddhist meetings must pay the same respect. Ou temples honor Japanese culture but the omit American culture.
As ironic as this may sound, but one of the last places you will hear mention of Dr. Martin Luther or any African/American contribution to the world is at our Nichiren Shoshu Temples in America. This issue is not so much an issue of our Nichiren Shoshu Priests, but the issue is our Nichiren Shoshu members who let the Priest forget. Nichiren Daishonin writes in the Gosho paying debts of Gratitude; “
The old fox never forgets the hillock where he was born;
The way that my heart and Buddhist study teaches me to practice Buddhism is to pay my debts or Gratitude and I hold that me and my family owe a debt of Gratitude to Dr. Martin Luther King and others who struggled to bring change in America.
On Saturday April 5, 2008 our Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen held a town hall meeting and among the meeting the Congressman announced city Council men and others in attendance and surprisingly he called my name and asked me to stand up and I was proud to be among the many to honor the legacy of Dr. King.
During the meeting I had chance to learn an associate with world Giants. The person who I came to see was the legendary calypso singer Harry Bellefonte. Harry Bellefonte told of his wonderful history of his parent coming as immigrants from Jamaica and how the historic and legendary Paul Roberson helped to influence his life. He told of the struggles of Paul Roberson who could speak 14 languages, write plays, act, pay sports and who was one of the most phenomenal minds and America who was treated wrong in America, but despite his challenges he made a commitment to teach young people. I learned that Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and some of the best minds were influenced by Paul Roberson and how he was a friends to Albert Einstein the worlds most famous Scientist.
Harry Bellefonte's speech almost lead me to tears as he told of intimate conversations of he and Martin Luther King and how Martin stayed at him home the night before his famous “I have a dream speech.” Harry Bellefonte spoke of mentoring to young people and after the meeting at Rhodes College he went to Lemoyne College a Black college to lecture to gangs. I could feel the heart and spirit of Mr. Bellefonte. Also in attendance was movie actor Danny Glover who took the time to come to Memphis to try to make a difference and Danny gave a wonderful speech. I met Danny Glover 20 years ago and he was to be my guess at one of my Kickboxing events and when he came to Memphis he had asked the Congressman about me.
Also at the meeting was John Conyers who is head of our Congressional Judiciary committee. Congressman Conyers was the Congressman who introduced the bill to make Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday a holiday and he spoke about how shameful it was for Presidential candidate John McClain to come to Memphis to apologize for not supporting the bill he introduced 25 years ago.
The Gosho Embracing the Lotus Sutra reads ; “Now, if you wish to attain Buddhahood, you have only to lower the banner of your arrogance, cast aside the staff of your anger, and devote yourself exclusively to the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra. Worldly fame and profit are mere baubles of your present existence, and arrogance and prejudice are ties that will fetter you in the next one. Ah, you should be ashamed of them! And you should fear them, too!
Devoting ourselves to the vehicle of the Lotus Sutra is to devote ourselves to humanity and to the universal law. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
Anthony Elmore with Harry Belafonte & Wife Bogalech Elmore
Bogalech at the Lorraine Hotel
Anthony at the Lorraine Hotel
Anthony & Bogalech pose at Al Sharpton Rally at City Hall in Memphis, Tennessee
Posing after rain at the Hotel the reef in background is where Dr. king was slain