Dharma World

April-June 2012, Volume 39

April-June 2012, Volume 39(PDF)

Buddhist Teachings on Spiritual Liberation

Our Buddha-Nature Is a Seed That Grows by Norio Sakai

Norio Sakai, former chair of the Board of Trustees of Rissho Kosei-kai in Tokyo, is a consultant to Rissho Kosei-kai and an international trustee of the World Conference of Religions for Peace.

How Buddhist Practice Grounds Social Action in a Secular World by John Makransky

Although many people in our modern, secularized world have rejected religious ways of thinking or have lost touch with spiritual resources previously available in their religious traditions, they search for a deeper grounding for living and serving that only spiritual disciplines can provide.

John Makransky is Associate Professor of Buddhism and Comparative Theology at Boston College, senior advisor to Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche’s Centre for Buddhist Studies in Nepal, and a board member of the Society of Buddhist-Christian Studies. He is guiding meditation teacher of the Foundation for Active Compassion, a socially engaged Buddhist organization, and the author of Awakening through Love (2007). His research focuses on Indian and Tibetan Buddhist thought and practice in their relation to contemporary needs and interfaith learning.

The Great Hesitation and the Great Liberation:
The Long and Short of Karmic R/Evolution by Mark Unno

Each of us individually and all of us collectively are responsible for the difficulties our species faces. That we are in this together, that we vow to take this journey together, not blaming one another but, rather, embracing our collective karmic responsibility, with a long view to its positive outcome, may be one way to approach the path to our liberation.

Mark Unno received his PhD from Stanford University and is Associate Professor of Japanese Buddhism in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Oregon. His research is in classical Japanese Buddhism, in particular key practices in Shin Buddhism, Shingon, and Zen. He also works in the areas of comparative religious thought, Buddhism and psychotherapy, and interreligious dialogue. He is the author of Shingon Refractions: Myoe and the Mantra of Light (2004), the editor of Buddhism and Psychotherapy Across Cultures (2006), as well as a writer and translator of articles in the foregoing fields.

What’s Wrong with Me? Resolving the Lack of Self by David R. Loy

Our emptiness has two sides: the negative, problematic aspect is a sense of lack. The other aspect is being open to, and an expression of, something more than I usually understand myself to be.

David R. Loy is a professor, writer, and Zen teacher in the Sanbo Kyodan tradition of Japanese Zen Buddhism. He is a prolific author whose essays and books have been translated into many languages. His articles appear regularly in the pages of Buddhist magazines, including Tricycle, Shambhala Sun, and Buddhadharma, as well as in scholarly journals. David’s most recent book is The World Is Made of Stories (Wisdom Publications, 2010). He teaches nationally and internationally on various topics, focusing primarily on the encounter between Buddhism and modernity and what each can learn from the other.

The Conception of Suffering and Lotus Sutra Faith
in Two Stories by Kenji Miyazawa by Sarah M. Strong

Miyazawa’s familiarity with the Lotus Sutra and his faith in its saving power had a discernible influence on many of his stories: on their imagery, expressed concepts, and emotional tonality.

Sarah M. Strong is Professor of Japanese Language and Literature at Bates College, Lewiston, Maine. She received her PhD in Japanese literature from the University of Chicago. As a scholar she has focused on works that portray Japan’s natural beauty and rich ecosystems. Her studies and translations of Kenji Miyazawa’s works, including Night of the Milky Way Railway (1991) and Masterworks of Miyazawa Kenji: Poems and Fairy Tales (2002), have appeared in both the United States and Japan. Her most recent book is on Ainu oral traditions, Ainu Spirits Singing: The Living World of Chiri Yukie’s Ainu Shin’yoshu (2011).>

An Answer to “What Can I Do Right Now?” by Hitoshi Jin

Rather than cling to a particular religion’s protocols, ceremonies, and doctrines, we should be like Mother Teresa and simply ask ourselves how we can best help the people we meet.

Hitoshi Jin is executive director of the Zenseikyo Foundation for Youth and Child Welfare in Tokyo, a cooperative entity of more than sixty Japanese Buddhist denominations. He is also senior research fellow at the Institute for Engaged Buddhism. He works to support young people who contemplate suicide, refuse to go to school, or have other problems. He has also been involved in activities supporting the victims of the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011.

Spiritual Liberation in Contemporary Society by Yifa

Seeking spiritual liberation in modern times does not require isolating oneself from society. . . . The whole world and our society are the arena for Buddhist practice.

Venerable Dr. Yifa is a Taiwanese Buddhist nun, scholar, and writer. She was ordained by the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order in 1979. She has a PhD in religious studies from Yale University and has served as a department head and dean of the University of the West, Rosemead, California. Yifa has participated in many interfaith dialogues and has contributed to UNESCO in Europe’s Universal Ethics Project and to UNICEF South Asia’s Safe Motherhood Project. In 2003 the United Nations presented her its Outstanding Women in Buddhism Award. She is the founder and director of Woodenfish Project, which creates many cultural exchange programs between the East and the West for college students and scholars.

Japanese Buddhist Responses to the Earthquake and Tsunami by Miriam Levering

One aspect of Japanese Buddhists’ response to the March 11 earthquake is an appreciation of its reminder that everything is impermanent. The “normal” life we take for granted is fragile, and thus not really normal.

Miriam Levering, Professor Emerita of Religious Studies and Asian Studies at the University of Tennessee, is an international advisor to Rissho Kosei-kai. She received her PhD from Harvard University in 1978. She has edited a book called Rethinking Scripture, a study of the concepts and uses of sacred texts in the major religious traditions, and has written many articles on women and gender in Chan and Zen Buddhism.

Learning the Truth through Repetition by Ryojun Shionuma

There is valuable meaning in doing the same things, in the same way, and as devotedly as you can. If you do this, the Way will most assuredly open up.

Rev. Ryojun Shionuma walks in the precincts of Yoshino Mikumari Shrine in 1991, during his Omine Thousand-Day Circumambulation Practice. The shrine is on the way from Kinpusenji on Mount Yoshino to the top of Mount Omine.

Natural Disasters and Religion:
In Search of an Alternative Way of Life by Ahangamage Tudor Ariyaratne

There are three factors at the root of all of our personal, national, and global problems. The first is greed; the second is hatred; and the third is ignorance, or delusion. These three evils within our own minds have become so well organized that they bring about all the man-made and, I believe, even natural disasters we are facing at this time.

Ahangamage Tudor Ariyaratne is president of Sarvodaya Shramadana, a rural development movement he founded in Sri Lanka in 1958, which is also involved in resettlement, reconstruction, and reconciliation activities in the war-affected north and east of Sri Lanka. The movement’s National Reawakening program aims to promote good governance and democracy. Dr. Ariyaratne has been awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize, the Niwano Peace Prize, and many other international honors for his work in peacemaking and village development.


The True Way to Liberation by Nichiko Niwano

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

Founder’s Memoirs

Telling the Rest of My Story by Nikkyo Niwano

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. He was awarded the 1979 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.

Niwano Peace Prize

Social Reform Based on Buddhist Insight – Examining Western Values
The twenty-eighth Niwano Peace Prize commemorative dialogue between Mr. Sulak Sivaraksa and Rev. Kinjiro Niwano

The twenty-eighth Niwano Peace Prize was awarded to Mr. Sulak Sivaraksa, a Thai Buddhist leader, who was honored for his contributions to promoting a new understanding of peace, democracy, and development and for his advocacy of environmental protection, firmly based on the core principles of his Buddhist faith. In this commemorative dialogue with Rev. Kinjiro Niwano, chairman of the Niwano Peace Foundation, on the theme “Social Reform Based on Buddhist Insight – Examining Western Values,” held on July 22, 2011, in Kyoto, he emphasized the necessity of becoming more humble and compassionate to others and also the importance of promoting dialogue with suffering people.

The Threefold Lotus Sutra: A Modern Commentary (108)

The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law Chapter 19: The Merits of the Teacher of the Dharma (3) by Nikkyo Niwano

This is the 108th installment of a detailed commentary on the Threefold Lotus Sutra by the founder of Rissho Kosei-kai, Rev. Nikkyo Niwano.

Dharma World

  1. Autumn 2019, Volume 46

    Manga, Anime, and Contemporary Religion

  2. Spring 2019, Volume 46

    Is Emptiness the Goal?

  3. July-December 2018, Volume 45

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

  4. January-June 2018, Volume 45

    Buddhism’s One Vehicle in a World of Many Religions

  5. July-December 2017, Volume 44

    Religions Tackling Extremism

  6. January-June 2017, Volume 44

    Religion and Animals

  7. October-December 2016, Volume 43

    Features: Listening

  8. July-September 2016, Volume 43

    Contemporary Ideas about Karma

  9. April-June 2016, Volume 43

    Buddhism and Food

  10. January-March 2016, Volume 43

    Dual Religious Identity: Can One Practice Two Religions?

  11. October-December 2015, Volume 42

    The Modern Significance of Meditative Practices in Religions

  12. July-September 2015, Volume 42

    Religious Rituals and Their Meaning for Today

  13. April-June 2015, Volume 42

    Religion's Contributions to Society

  14. January-March 2015, Volume 42

    Cultivating Hearts That Welcome the Other

  15. October-December 2014, Volume 41

    Buddhism and Language

  16. July-September 2014, Volume 41

    Life After Death

  17. April-June 2014, Volume 41

    Building an East Asian Community: Roles of Religions

  18. January-March 2014, Volume 41

    Aging Societies and Religion

  19. October-December 2013, Volume 40

    Nuclear Power and Contemporary Religion

  20. July-September 2013, Volume 40

    Where Does the Buddha Live Now?

  21. April-June 2013, Volume 40

    Modern Meanings of Festivals

  22. January-March 2013, Volume 40

    Transforming Greed

  23. October-December 2012, Volume 39

    Religions Coping with Prejudice

  24. July-September 2012, Volume 39

    The Significance of Religious Communities

  25. April-June 2012, Volume 39

    Buddhist Teachings on Spiritual Liberation

  26. January-March 2012, Volume 39

    The Meaning of Modern Pilgrimage

  27. October-December 2011, Volume 38

    The Evolution of Funerals in Japan

  28. July-September 2011, Volume 38

    Buddhism in North America

  29. April-June 2011, Volume 38

    Religion and the Power of Women

  30. January-March 2011, Volume 38

    What Is True Wealth?

  31. October-December 2010, Volume 37

    Dialogue Draws Religions Closer

  32. July-September 2010, Volume 37

    Tackling the Question "What Is the Lotus Sutra?"

  33. April-June 2010, Volume 37

    Religion's Role in Abolishing Nuclear Weapons

  34. January-March 2010, Volume 37

    Help in Overcoming Alienation

  35. October-December 2009, Volume 36

    Religion and Prayer

  36. July-September 2009, Volume 36

    Religion and Media

  37. April-June 2009, Volume 36

    Religion and Health

  38. January-March 2009, Volume 36

    The Changing Forms of the Family and the Role of Religion

  39. October-December 2008, Volume 35

    The Meaning of Giving in the Contemporary World

  40. July-September 2008, Volume 35

    Buddhism in the Face of Environmental Crisis

  41. April-June 2008, Volume 35

    The Many Forms of the Bodhisattva Kuan-yin

  42. January-March 2008, Volume 35

    Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution

  43. October-December 2007, Volume 34

    Buddhism and Bioethics

  44. July-September 2007, Volume 34

    Respect for Ancestors

  45. April-June 2007, Volume 34

    Self-Examination and Peace Work

  46. January-March 2007, Volume 34

    Buddhism and Social Responsibility: Boddhisattva Practice Today

  47. October-December 2006, Volume 33

    Buddishm in Dialogue

  48. July-September 2006, Volume 33

    Religions Working for Peace

  49. April-June 2006, Volume 33

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

  50. January-February 2006, Volume 33

    The Human Condition and Religion: A Global Future?

  51. November-December 2005, Volume 32

    Remembering Hiroshima

  52. September-October 2005, Volume 32

    Spirituality and Development

  53. July-August 2005, Volume 32

    Women in Contemporary Japanese Religion and Society

  54. May-June 2005, Volume 32

    Rissho Kosei-kai 67th

  55. March-April 2005, Volume 32

    "Thousand Buddhas," Sanbanggulsa Temple, South Korea

  56. January-February 2005, Volume 32

    Emerging Forms of Spirituality

  57. November-December 2004, Volume 31

    Peace Building Through Multi-Religious Cooperation

  58. September-October 2004, Volume 31

    The Increasing Importance of Dialogue and Cooperation

  59. July-August 2004, Volume 31

    Paths to Reconciliation

  60. May-June 2004, Volume 31

    Religion in Crisis

  61. March-April 2004, Volume 31

    Spiritual Friendship

  62. January-February 2004, Volume 31

    Resolving Conflict

  63. November-December 2003, Volume 30

    Dividing Good From Evil

  64. September-October 2003, Volume 30

    Common Truths: Cooperation Among Religions

  65. July-August 2003, Volume 30

    Niwano Peace Foundation

  66. May-June 2003, Volume 30

    Religionists United in Prayer for Peace

  67. March-April 2003, Volume 30

    Life is Larger Than Globalization

  68. January-February 2003, Volume 30

    Emerging Forms of Spirituality

  69. November-December 2002, Volume 29

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

  70. September-October 2002, Volume 29

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

  71. July-August 2002, Volume 29

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

  72. May-June 2002, Volume 29

    National Treasure Tapestry Illustrating Shakyamuni Sermon to the Faithful

  73. March-April 2002, Volume 29

    Celebration of the Anniversary of Shakyamuni's Birth

  74. January-February 2002, Volume 29

    Religious Delegates Gather in New York for WCRP Symposium