Man of peace walks through Greencastle to Camp David

PAT FRIDGEN
Toyoshige Sekiguchi proclaimed a message of peace as he walked through Greencastle on Monday. The Japanese Buddhist monk’s destination was Camp David, host to the 2012 G-8 Summit.

Greencastle was in the path of a Buddhist monk walking from Pittsburgh to Camp David for the G-8 Summit. Toyoshige Sekiguchi, 47, is on a peace march to elevate awareness of the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the risk that they will be used some day. He presented a letter to the Pittsburgh mayor explaining his message of harmony.

Sekiguchi is from Hokkaido, Japan, and has walked in Italy, France and Canada since 2008, always with a Summit city as his destination. He represents the Buddhist association Nipponzan Myohoji, in which members do something specific about the causes they believe in. Sometimes the kindness of strangers makes his journey easier.

On Sunday afternoon Naomi Madaras, 19, and Landis Zehrung, 21, came home and told her parents Laszlo and Enid Madaras, "We saw a holy man on the road."

Enid sent Zehrung back to see if he needed anything. Zehrung returned with the man. Immediately Enid, from her own travels, could see that Sekiguchi "was the real deal." He spent the night at their Rabbit Road home, and the next morning she dropped him off where he had been picked up, by Cedar Hill Cemetery on Route 16. Sekiguchi left his backpack behind, with plans that Enid would pick him up for lunch, however far he got, and then he would continue with all his gear.

By 11:00 he was into Hagerstown, Md. city limits on Pennsylvania Avenue. He carried a banner and chanted prayers to the beat of a flat drum as he walked. Sekiguchi planned to get as close to Camp David as he could and then would sit along the road with his message of peace. He did not know where he would sleep Monday night, but frequently churches had opened their doors if he asked. He had come to America May 2, would take a train to Chicago after the meeting of international leaders, and fly home May 22.

He was not sure if he would walk to the 2013 Summit. "I've not decided yet, but I hope."  

Members of G-8 are the world's largest economies: the United States, Canada, France, Italy, Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan. The European Union is also part of the group.