Dharma World

April-June 2009, Volume 36

April-June 2009, Volume 36(PDF)

Religion and Health

The Role of Religion in Providing Total Health Care by Moichiro Hayashi

To someone directly and officially concerned, it would see that hospitals should not only treat diseases of the baby but should deal with ailments of both mind and body.

Moichiro Hayashi, MD, is the director of Kosei General Hospital affiliated with Rissho Kosei-kai in Tokyo. He also serves as the director of its Department of Palliative Care.

Religion and HIV/AIDS – A Changing Relationship by Gunnar Stålsett

AIDS and religion have been a discordant couple, but most religions have a clear humanitarian agenda. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is one of today’s leading humanitarian challenges.

The Most Reverend Gunnar Stålsett, bishop emeritus of Oslo in the Church of Norway, is a former member of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee. He is now chair of theNiwano Peace Prize Committee. Bishop Stålsett has been actively involved in efforts for reconciliation and peace building as a president of Religions for Peace and the moderator of the European Council of Religious Leaders.

Poverty and Human Health: Strategic Challenges by Katherine Marshall

Many religious approaches to health focus on the world’s least favored citizens, especially those who are desperately poor or face exclusion, discrimination, and displacement.

Katherine Marshall is a senior fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and visiting professor in the Department of Government. As a longtime development specialist focused on the world’s poorest countries, she worked for more than thirty-five years with the World Bankand continues to serve as a senior advisor. Among other books and articles, she has written Religion and Development: Where Mind, Heart, and Soul Work Together (World Bank, 2007).

Bodyworks: Body-Mind Health and Ascetic Practices by Tullio Lobetti

There seems to be a certain continuity in the activities of ascetic practitioners that stems from a different understanding of one’s body.

Tullio Lobetti graduated with a degree in Japanese language and literature from the University of Turin in 2003. He then pursued his interest in the study of religions in Japan by obtaining an MA degree in Japanese religion from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, in 2004. In the same year he started his PhD research at SOAS on “Body and Ascetic Practices in Contemporary Japanese Religious Context.” He is now a teaching fellow in the Department of the Study of Religions at SOAS.

Compassion, Health Care, and Buddhist Monks by Pinit Ratanakul

Many Thai clerics are highly regarded by the public for their social work and deeply sympathetic attention to serious health issues.

Pinit Ratanakul, who received his PhD from Yale University, is professor of philosophy and director of the College of Religious Studies at Thailand’s Mahidol University. He is the author of Bioethics: An Introduction to the Ethics of Medicine and Life Science and coeditor of A Cross-Cultural Dialogue on Health Care Ethics. He has published widely on bioethics from Theravada Buddhist perspectives.

The Great Turning for Global Healing – An Interview with Dr. Joanna Macy

Dr. Joanna Macy is an American Buddhist teacher, writer, and activist in the campaign for environmental and social justice. When Dr. Macy was in Tokyo in November to participate in the twenty-fourth General Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, DHARMA WORLD interviewed her on the significance of the Buddha’s teachings for global healing.

Health and Poverty by Rosalina Melendres-Valenton

Despite the ambitious development goals laid out by the government, church, and other nongovernment agencies, the Philippines has not been able to sustain the economic growth required to reduce poverty.

Rosalina Melendres-Valenton is president and founder of the San Lorenzo Ruiz Academy and other private schools for tribal children in Oriental Mindoro, the Philippines. She pursued master units in child psychology at the Philippine Normal University, Manila, where she also completed her specialization course for preschool children. She has devoted her life to helping the underprivileged children of Oriental Mindoro, and she has also worked as a vocation promoter since 1987.

Religious Communities Take the Lead for Children by Stephen Hanmer, Aaron Greenberg, and Ghazal Keshavarzian

Children constitute a large percentage of the world’s poor. There is a strong consensus across most religious traditions about the importance of caring for and supporting them.

Stephen Hanmer, a UNICEF partnerships manager, supports UNICEF’s faith-based partnerships. Aaron Greenberg is a UNICEF child-protection specialist, focusing on social welfare systems and alternative care. Ghazal Keshavarzian is the senior coordinator of the Better Care Network, an interagency network that facilitates global exchange and technical guidance concerning children without adequate family care.

Religion and Health by Taye VanMerlin and Kazzrie Neval

The effect of having a strong religious foundation positively correlates with the ability to cope with and heal serious illness.

Taye VanMerlin has a master’s degree in nursing with a minor in human physiology. She is a retired nurse and former co-owner of The Uncommon Herb, an alternative health provider and herb store in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Kazzrie Neval is a hereditary herbalist and also former co-owner of The Uncommon Herb, where she trained health professionals and the general public in the safe use of herbs and in other alternative therapies.

An Interspiritual Approach for Modern Medical Care by Wataru Kaya

The author notes that he arrived at his approach through his relations with many psychologically disturbed patients and the psychoanalysis he himself has received.

Wataru Kaya, MD, is a psychiatrist and clinical psychologist. He is also the chief priest of Tanashi Shrine in Tokyo. He has been a visiting lecturer at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, and a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo, and now serves as an advisor to the Musashino Central Hospital in Koganei, Tokyo.

The Benefits of Buddhist Breathing Techniques by Akikazu Takada

A renowned physiologist and Zen practitioner describes why breathing, which is something we are always doing anyway, should be so strongly connected with our minds.

Until 2001, Akikazu Takada, MD, was a professor at the Department of Physiology of Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Shizuoka Prefecture, where he is now a professor emeritus. He is also a visiting professor at Showa Women’s University, Tokyo, and serves as a board member of the Brain Health Association of Japan. He is the author of numerous books on Buddhism and health. This essay is a translation of an article that appeared in the August 2008 issue of Daihorin (great Dharma wheel), a Japanese Buddhist magazine.


The Pleasure of Studying the Dharma by Nichiko Niwano

Life inevitably brings with it various forms of suffering. Shakyamuni teaches us how to gain the wisdom to discern the causes of this suffering.

Nichiko Niwano is president of Rissho Kosei-kai and the Niwano Peace Foundation, a president of the World Conference of Religions for Peace, and special advisor to Shinshuren (Federation of New Religious Organizations of Japan).

Buddhist Thought Can Help to Solve the Environmental Crisis by Nikkyo Niwano

This essay is part of a continuing series of translations from a volume of inspirational writings by the founder of Rissho Kosei-kai. DHARMA WORLD will continue to publish these essays because of their lasting value as guidance for the practice of one’s daily faith.

Nikkyo Niwano, the founder of Rissho Kosei-kai, was an honorary president of the World Conference of Religions for Peace and was honorary chairman of Shinshuren (Federation of New Religious Organizations of Japan) at the time of his death in October 1999.

The Threefold Lotus Sutra: A Modern Commentary

The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law Chapter 14:
A Happy Life (3) by Nikkyo Niwano

This is the ninety-seventh installment of a detailed commentary on the Threefold Lotus Sutra by the late founder of Rissho Kosei-kai, Rev. Nikkyo Niwano.

Dharma World

  1. Spring 2024, Volume 51

    Knowing Contentment

  2. Autumn 2023, Volume 50

    Religion and the Family

  3. Spring 2023, Volume 50

    Religion’s Role in Peacebuilding

  4. Autumn 2022, Volume 49

    Religion and Happiness

  5. Spring 2022, Volume 49

    The Impact of Cyberspace on a Variety of Religious Traditions and Practices

  6. Autumn 2021, Volume 48

    Religion's Potential for Advancing Sustainable Development

  7. Spring 2021, Volume 48

    What Is Prayer?

  8. Autumn 2020, Volume 47

    Religion’s Role in Building an Inclusive Society

  9. Spring 2020, Volume 47

    Violence in Buddhism

  10. Autumn 2019, Volume 46

    Manga, Anime, and Contemporary Religion

  11. Spring 2019, Volume 46

    Is Emptiness the Goal?

  12. July-December 2018, Volume 45

    The Buddhahood of Plants and Trees: The Environment and Buddha-Nature

  13. January-June 2018, Volume 45

    Buddhism’s One Vehicle in a World of Many Religions

  14. July-December 2017, Volume 44

    Religions Tackling Extremism

  15. January-June 2017, Volume 44

    Religion and Animals

  16. October-December 2016, Volume 43

    Features: Listening

  17. July-September 2016, Volume 43

    Contemporary Ideas about Karma

  18. April-June 2016, Volume 43

    Buddhism and Food

  19. January-March 2016, Volume 43

    Dual Religious Identity: Can One Practice Two Religions?

  20. October-December 2015, Volume 42

    The Modern Significance of Meditative Practices in Religions

  21. July-September 2015, Volume 42

    Religious Rituals and Their Meaning for Today

  22. April-June 2015, Volume 42

    Religion's Contributions to Society

  23. January-March 2015, Volume 42

    Cultivating Hearts That Welcome the Other

  24. October-December 2014, Volume 41

    Buddhism and Language

  25. July-September 2014, Volume 41

    Life After Death

  26. April-June 2014, Volume 41

    Building an East Asian Community: Roles of Religions

  27. January-March 2014, Volume 41

    Aging Societies and Religion

  28. October-December 2013, Volume 40

    Nuclear Power and Contemporary Religion

  29. July-September 2013, Volume 40

    Where Does the Buddha Live Now?

  30. April-June 2013, Volume 40

    Modern Meanings of Festivals

  31. January-March 2013, Volume 40

    Transforming Greed

  32. October-December 2012, Volume 39

    Religions Coping with Prejudice

  33. July-September 2012, Volume 39

    The Significance of Religious Communities

  34. April-June 2012, Volume 39

    Buddhist Teachings on Spiritual Liberation

  35. January-March 2012, Volume 39

    The Meaning of Modern Pilgrimage

  36. October-December 2011, Volume 38

    The Evolution of Funerals in Japan

  37. July-September 2011, Volume 38

    Buddhism in North America

  38. April-June 2011, Volume 38

    Religion and the Power of Women

  39. January-March 2011, Volume 38

    What Is True Wealth?

  40. October-December 2010, Volume 37

    Dialogue Draws Religions Closer

  41. July-September 2010, Volume 37

    Tackling the Question "What Is the Lotus Sutra?"

  42. April-June 2010, Volume 37

    Religion's Role in Abolishing Nuclear Weapons

  43. January-March 2010, Volume 37

    Help in Overcoming Alienation

  44. July-September 2009, Volume 36

    Religion and Prayer

  45. July-September 2009, Volume 36

    Religion and Media

  46. April-June 2009, Volume 36

    Religion and Health

  47. January-March 2009, Volume 36

    The Changing Forms of the Family and the Role of Religion

  48. October-December 2008, Volume 35

    The Meaning of Giving in the Contemporary World

  49. July-September 2008, Volume 35

    Buddhism in the Face of Environmental Crisis

  50. April-June 2008, Volume 35

    The Many Forms of the Bodhisattva Kuan-yin

  51. January-March 2008, Volume 35

    Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution

  52. October-December 2007, Volume 34

    Buddhism and Bioethics

  53. July-September 2007, Volume 34

    Respect for Ancestors

  54. April-June 2007, Volume 34

    Self-Examination and Peace Work

  55. January-March 2007, Volume 34

    Buddhism and Social Responsibility: Boddhisattva Practice Today

  56. October-December 2006, Volume 33

    Buddishm in Dialogue

  57. July-September 2006, Volume 33

    Religions Working for Peace

  58. April-June 2006, Volume 33

    Creating the World of the One Vehicle: The Centennial of the Birth of Rev. Nikkyo Niwano

  59. January-February 2006, Volume 33

    The Human Condition and Religion: A Global Future?

  60. November-December 2005, Volume 32

    Remembering Hiroshima

  61. September-October 2005, Volume 32

    Spirituality and Development

  62. July-August 2005, Volume 32

    Women in Contemporary Japanese Religion and Society

  63. May-June 2005, Volume 32

    Rissho Kosei-kai 67th

  64. March-April 2005, Volume 32

    "Thousand Buddhas," Sanbanggulsa Temple, South Korea

  65. January-February 2005, Volume 32

    Emerging Forms of Spirituality

  66. November-December 2004, Volume 31

    Peace Building Through Multi-Religious Cooperation

  67. September-October 2004, Volume 31

    The Increasing Importance of Dialogue and Cooperation

  68. July-August 2004, Volume 31

    Paths to Reconciliation

  69. May-June 2004, Volume 31

    Religion in Crisis

  70. March-April 2004, Volume 31

    Spiritual Friendship

  71. January-February 2004, Volume 31

    Resolving Conflict

  72. November-December 2003, Volume 30

    Dividing Good From Evil

  73. September-October 2003, Volume 30

    Common Truths: Cooperation Among Religions

  74. July-August 2003, Volume 30

    Niwano Peace Foundation

  75. May-June 2003, Volume 30

    Religionists United in Prayer for Peace

  76. March-April 2003, Volume 30

    Life is Larger Than Globalization

  77. January-February 2003, Volume 30

    Emerging Forms of Spirituality

  78. November-December 2002, Volume 29

    Roundtable Disscussion at the World Congress of the International Association for Religious Freedom

  79. September-October 2002, Volume 29

    Sixth Assembly of the Asian Conference on Religion and Peace, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

  80. July-August 2002, Volume 29

    The Most Reverend Samuel Ruiz Garcia, Recipient of the 19th Niwano Peace Prize

  81. May-June 2002, Volume 29

    National Treasure Tapestry Illustrating Shakyamuni Sermon to the Faithful

  82. March-April 2002, Volume 29

    Celebration of the Anniversary of Shakyamuni's Birth

  83. January-February 2002, Volume 29

    Religious Delegates Gather in New York for WCRP Symposium