Dharma World

April-June 2013, Volume 40

April-June 2013, Volume 40(PDF)

Modern Meanings of Festivals

The Significance of Festivals for Rissho Kosei-kai by Waichiro Izumita

The Oeshiki festivals allow participating young members to be at one with the mind of the Buddha and widen their circle of close friends.

Waichiro Izumita is director of the Youth Department of Rissho Kosei-kai in Tokyo.

Chaos and Cosmos: Cultural Revival in the Wake of Natural Disasters by Minoru Sonoda

The experience of recovering unbowed from natural disasters, from which Japan has suffered many times in its history, rising again out of catastrophic chaos through a trust in the regenerative power of nature and the ties binding the community, has been handed down to us within our religious culture in the form of shrine festivals and performing arts.

Minoru Sonoda is the head priest of Chichibu Shrine, in Saitama Prefecture. He took his doctoral degree at the University of Tokyo in 1965. He was a Professor at Kokugakuin University in Tokyo and then at Kyoto University until he retired in 2000. He is now a Professor Emeritus of Kyoto University. He has published widely and has edited many collections and anthologies on Shinto.

Modern Meanings of Kagura Performances by Irit Averbuch

In the period immediately following the tsunami, most folk performers in and around the devastated areas thought it was not possible to perform in such disastrous times. However, they soon remembered that their “arts” were originally rites of spirit pacification, and they started performing wherever they could, intentionally reestablishing the original meaning of their dances.

Irit Averbuch is an Associate Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies at Tel Aviv University. She received her PhD from Harvard University in 1989. Her general fields of interest include Japanese religion, especially religious folk culture in Japan. She is the author of The Gods Come Dancing: A Study of the Japanese Ritual Dance of Yamabushi Kagura and of articles in leading academic journals.

Kagura: Dramatic Interplay between Nature and Humanity by Masataka Suzuki

Kagura has diversity – it may be a solemn ritual inviting the deities to a sacred ritual site, or equally a secular event associated with town revitalization and the promotion of the local area.

Masataka Suzuki, PhD, is a Professor in the Faculty of Letters at Keio University, Tokyo, and Vice Director of Keio Institute of East Asian Studies. He specializes in cultural anthropology and religious studies and has engaged in area studies in Japan, South India, Sri Lanka, and southwest China for more than three decades. He has written many books and articles.

The Cultivation of Memory and Invention in Contemporary Thai Festivals by Rachelle M. Scott

Some Thai festivals are reputed to have ancient origins that are based on the agricultural seasons and stories from Hindu, Buddhist, and Chinese traditions, while others are wholly new – the products of skillful tourist marketing or new cultural tastes and sensibilities.

Rachelle M. Scott is Associate Professor and Associate Head at the Department of Religious Studies of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her first book, Nirvana for Sale?: Buddhism, Wealth, and the Dhammakaya Temple in Contemporary Thailand, examines contemporary debates over monastic and lay wealth in Thailand. Her current research focuses on stories of powerful female spirits, the impact of new media on religious authority and community, and the role of the Buddhist sangha in global Buddhism.

Shugendo, Festivals, and the Performing Arts by Gaynor Sekimori

In recent years there have been efforts to embrace lost Shugendo traditions to create a distinct local culture that enriches the whole community and is attractive to visitors.

Gaynor Sekimori is a Research Associate in the Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and concurrently Visiting Professor at Kokugakuin University, Tokyo. She received her doctorate from the University of Cambridge in 2000. She was managing editor of the International Journal of Asian Studies (Cambridge University Press) and a member of the Institute of Oriental Culture at the University of Tokyo from 2001 to 2007.


The Ties That Bind Families 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).


On the Islamic View of Global Ethical Values by Anis Ahmad

How are we to determine values that can be globally acceptable? There can be at least five benchmarks for evaluating and judging global relevance, acceptability, and application of values: universality, consistency and practicality, flexibility, simplicity and understandability, impartiality.

Anis Ahmad is a Professor Emeritus of Comparative Ethics and Religion and Vice Chancellor at Riphah International University, in Islamabad, Pakistan. He is also editor of the quarterly The West and Islam, published in Islamabad. He can be contacted at anis.ahmad@riphah.edu .pk or anis@anisahmad.com.


An Ongoing Journey into Buddhism An interview with Dr. Elizabeth J. Harris

Dr. Elizabeth J. Harris, president of the European Network of Buddhist-Christian Studies, visited Rissho Kosei-kai headquarters in Tokyo on September 11, 2012, to confer with interfaith affairs directors. Dharma World interviewed her about her journey into Buddhism and her perspectives on Buddhist-Christian encounter in Europe.

Elizabeth J. Harris is an Associate Professor in the Comparative Study of Religion at Liverpool Hope University. From 1996 to 2007, she was the executive secretary for interfaith relations for the Methodist Church in Britain. Dr. Harris has been involved in Buddhist-Christian encounter for more than twenty years and serves as president of the European Network of Buddhist-Christian Studies. Her latest book is Buddhism for a Violent World (London: Epworth Press, 2010; now published by SCM Press).


Spiritual Plenty from One Cup of Tea by Sojitsu Kobori

In the Way of Tea, we constantly focus on what we ourselves should do so that our guests are satisfied. That being said, it is still impossible to learn in a short time to put others first. That is why daily practice is so important.

Sojitsu Kobori is the thirteenth Grand Master of the Enshu Sado School. He is a director of both the Tokyo Sado-kai and Gakushuin University, Tokyo, and is an honorary lecturer at the National University of Singapore. He has received Zen training at Keitoku Zen’in in Tokyo, a temple of the Daitokuji school of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. He is the author and coauthor of several books in Japanese on the Way of Tea.


Our Future Depends on “A Little” by Keibo Oiwa

The ability to enjoy “a little” is a function of great wisdom. Humanity’s future hangs on this. It depends on whether we can get back enough wisdom to stop depleting resources and start living with less energy use.

Keibo Oiwa (aka Shin’ichi Tsuji) is a cultural anthropologist, author, and environmental activist. He has a PhD in anthropology from Cornell University and lived outside Japan for sixteen years. Since 1992, he has taught in the International Studies Department of Meiji Gakuin University in Yokohama. He is the founder of the Japanese NGO Sloth Club, leader of the Slow Movement, and the author of more than fifty books in Japanese, Korean, and English.


Simple Living for Our Shared Future by Mary Pat Fisher

We seem to lack the political and personal motivation to change our living patterns. As if oblivious to the effects on our children and grandchildren – let alone other people’s children and grandchildren – we continue our patterns of overconsumption, pollution, and destruction of the natural environment.

For decades, Mary Pat Fisher has traveled the world studying and writing about the essence of religions. Since 1991 she has lived in the outskirts of New Delhi at the Gobind Sadan Institute for Advanced Studies in Comparative Religion, where people of all faiths and all social levels live, work, and worship together. Her books about the world’s religions include the acclaimed textbook Living Religions, now in its ninth edition.

Founder’s Memoirs

The Restructuring of Rissho Kosei-kai 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.

The Threefold Lotus Sutra: A Modern Commentary (112)

The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law Chapter 20: The Bodhisattva Never Despise (4) by Nikkyo Niwano

This is the 112th 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