This question is almost a Rorschach test of belief, anger and faith.
So many narratives refer to the 26 who died. In fact, 27 were slain and 28 people perished. In that town on that day. So the tally is 26, unless a self-inflicted and fatal gunshot and the killer’s mother can be seamlessly placed with the others who were murdered.
SGI Buddhism has two primary publications here in America. There is a monthly magazine and weekly newspaper. Last week, in the World Tribune, an article reflected on the tragedy in Connecticut.
During a ceremony in California, members chanted and lit incense at a table displaying 26 names together with white flowers and a teddy bear.
The most basic tenet of this faith/philosophy is that every person, and perhaps all sentient beings, possesses a Buddha nature. There is a space of virtue, patience, happiness and eternity within all of us.
How to explain the state of the world? Well, people do horrific things. But at the core, there is purity. Thus, even though people will feel the effects of evil actions, anyone can find enlightenment.
So isn’t Nancy Lanza a victim? What could be a better definition of hell than to be killed by your child who then sets off on a murderous spree of children and women protecting them?
And the young man, trapped by rage or illness or something that society couldn’t truly understand or treat. Is he not a victim as well?
There are no asterisks in the Gosho- the writings of Nichiren Daishonin. In other words, when he set forth that all can tap into inherent Buddhahood, no one was excluded. There weren’t prohibitions against a Hitler, or Pol Pot or any of the mass murderers who drip blood throughout history, from someday finding enlightenment.
It is understandable why the families affected by the tragedy would not or could not extend sympathy to the gunman and his mother.
So it becomes the role of religion to take on the task.