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At nearly 300 days and counting, Saanich man prays for world peace daily

Eijo Toyonaga has been a fixture on the BC Legislature steps for much of the past year
76-year-old Eijo Toyonaga chants for world peace and happiness for humanity daily at the BC Legislature. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

Eijo Toyonaga, a 76-year-old artist, photographer and Buddhist, has been praying daily at the BC legislature steps for almost 300 days now.

With plans to continue at least for the rest of the year, the Saanich resident said his prayers are meant to uplift people and bring relief to the suffering that he sees in the world.

On July 3 he prayed amongst the many shoes and toys laid on the steps in a vigil for the unmarked graves of lost Indigenous children found and yet to be found. Toyonaga said he prays for the healing of Indigenous Peoples and the restoration of culture once lost.

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“I understand that life is limited and we must totally overcome self-centeredness. Don’t do anything for your own self-satisfaction,” said Toyonaga, explaining what he feels is the key to happiness.

It is through appreciation, sincerity and ridding oneself of ego that world peace can be found, he added.

“We all have an enlightened nature, Buddha-nature, it is our highest life condition.”

Toyonaga began his meditation and prayer practice in Japan when he was young and suffering from terrible headaches. His prayer practice brought him peace and meditation put an end to his headaches for good, he said.

Based on these guiding philosophies he and his wife, Danielle Toyonaga, pray every morning and night and practice breathwork each day. They are each inspired by the ideology to be of service to the world, in both big and small ways, and encourage others to seek ways to help others that resonate.

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