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Dialogue Builds a Civilization of Coexistence

Nichiko Niwano
President of Rissho Kosei-kai

GREETINGS

Your eminences Cardinal Etchegaray and Cardinal Gordo, honorable Mr. Pique, excellencies, and distinguished religious leaders, it is a great honor to be here in Barcelona. As a Buddhist, let me mention how pleased I am that the people of Barcelona and the Community of Saint Egidio have given us this wonderful opportunity to meet here.

I would like to share my thoughts with you on two subject: first, I would like to briefly speak about our theme, "Dialogue builds a civilization of coexistence"; second, I would like to suggest how world religious leaders can cooperate for the common good and common life.

A CIVILIZATION OF COEXISTENCE

My theme is "Dialogue builds a civilization of coexistence." Needless to say, our shared future of "coexistence" needs to be built at the global level. The question is: "How can we build a civilization of coexistence?"

We are different in nationality, ethnic background, culture, language and religion. And we humans tend to be attached to such differences, and distinguish ourselves from other peoples in accord with such differences. This attachment to differences causes various conflicts among peoples and impedes the realization of coexistence.

In my belief, recognizing our differences as they are, and at the same time not becoming attached to them, we humans should identify the common truths among us. Permit me to speak about a common truth from my Buddhist heritage. A central tenet of Buddhism is the One-Buddha Vehicle, which teaches that all living things dwell together in one large vessel of salvation, that is, the One-Buddha Vehicle. Due to his great compassion for all living beings and based on his supreme enlightenment in the Dharma, the universal truth and wisdom, the teaching of the One-Buddha Vehicle was revealed by Shakyamuni Buddha. The teaching reveals the truth that all living beings are manifestations of the buddha-nature, the potential to reach buddhahood, and that they are sustained as part of one great life. It stresses the idea that every life is sacred and irreplaceable, and encourages humans to respect each other and live together harmoniously.

HOW CAN WE BUILD A CIVILIZATION OF COEXISTENCE?

How can religious people play an even greater role in working for the common good and common life? If the religions of the world are to act together for coexistence, they first need a platform for encounter and dialogue. It must be founded on the common wisdom that all lives are sustained interdependently as part of one great life. And it must also be based on respect for differences and willingness to listen to each religious community's own authentic voice.

From this encounter and dialogue, the religious communities of the world can foster their hope for cooperation and translate their desire to cooperate into concrete action programs. I respect the Community of Saint Egidio for its tireless effort to provide such a platform of dialogue and collaboration for concrete action for the sake of the coexistence of all beings.

Rissho Kosei-kai fully shares with our friends gathering here a belief in the importance of dialogue and cooperation, and pledges to continue our humble efforts in promoting dialogue and cooperative action.

We all stand together at the dawn of a new period of history. By necessity it must be a period in which all peoples enjoy blessings of coexistence and common life. The world's religions must play their proper role in helping humanity to work together for the common good. To do so, we must learn from dialogue to collaborate without obscuring our respective differences.

Let me conclude by introducing words of Kenji Miyazawa, the Japanese Buddhist poet: "There can be no individual happiness without the happiness of the whole world."

We are members of one human family. Our lives are sustained interdependently as part of one great life. The joy and suffering of others become our own. Let us work together and build a civilization of coexistence in the name of God and the Buddha.

Thank you very much for your attention.


 

 
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