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Dharma World Buddhist magazine

January-March, Volume 41

content of this issue of Dharma World Buddhist magazine


Aging Societies and Religion

Restoring Interpersonal Ties in an Ultra-aging Society by Waichi Hoshina

Japan is becoming an ultra-aging society. According to a 2013 government estimate, one out of four people in Japan is now sixty-five years old or older.

Waichi Hoshina is head of the Social Ministry Group of Rissho Kosei-kai in Tokyo.

Buddhism and Japan's Aging Society by John W. Traphagan

If children are the ones expected to carry on ancestor rituals and the number of children is dropping precipitously, then there is an inherent problem looming in terms of the capacity to perform the rituals in the future.

John W. Traphagan is Professor of Religious Studies and faculty affiliate of the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his PhD in social anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh. His research interests revolve around three primary areas: religion and society in Japan, medical ethics and medical anthropology, and anthropological approaches to religion. He is the author and editor of a number of books and serves as secretary-general of the Japan Anthropology Workshop.

Longevity, Aging, and Meditation by Lewis Richmond

The last third of a life is an ideal time to turn toward spiritual practice, and . . . the teachings and worldview of Buddhism are particularly pertinent to the challenges of aging.

Lewis Richmond is the founder of the Vimala Sangha, a meditation group in Northern California (http://www.VimalaSangha.org). He was ordained a Buddhist priest by Soto Zen master Shunryu Suzuki in 1971 and is an authorized Zen teacher in the Suzuki lineage. Aging as a Spiritual Practice: A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and Wiser (2012) is one of his four books. His personal Web site is http://www.LewisRichmond.com.

Germany's Aging Society: What Does This Mean for Us? by Maren von der Heyde

The aging population and the fall in birthrate pose great challenges not only for Germany but for all industrialized countries. . . . Who will care for us if we need care and attention?

Maren von der Heyde was born in Hamburg and studied theology at the University of Hamburg and at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is married and a mother of three adult children. Rev. von der Heyde was ordained in 1988 and has served in a rural parish and as Asia Secretary for her church; she is now the head of diaconal services in the western part of Hamburg.

Religion and Longevity in Society by Vera Araújo

In all the great religions - Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, and so on - the older person has been placed at the center, as the bearer of values, spirituality, and wisdom; as a living witness of life; as a guardian of the cultural and religious memory of the people.

Vera Araújo is codirector of the Focolare Movement's Dialogue with Contemporaneous Cultures section and is a staff member of the movement's interdisciplinary study center, the Abbà School. She has lectured at many universities and international forums on "the economy of sharing." She studied law in Brazil, theology in Spain, and sociology in Italy.

New Lifestyles among Older Persons: Successful Aging in Japan by Haruo Sagaza

Ikigai . . . is a unique Japanese term that signifies experiencing joy and purpose in life. . . . Ikigai may be described as an essential objective for successful aging.

Dr. Haruo Sagaza specializes in demography and social statistics and is president of the Sayama Senior Community College in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. He is a professor emeritus of Waseda University, where he served earlier as a professor in the School of Human Sciences and as an executive director. He was president of the Population Association of Japan from 2000 to 2002. He has written many books and articles on demography and aging society.


The Experience of Growing Older by Nichiko Niwano

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

Seminar Report

Buddhism, the Lotus Sutra, and Human Suffering:
Classical, Modern, and Contemporary Approaches
by Stefan Grace

This is a report on the 2013 International Lotus Sutra Seminar, sponsored by Rissho Kosei-kai and held May 27-June 1, 2013, at the National Women's Education Center of Japan in Ranzan, Saitama Prefecture.

Stefan Grace is a doctoral candidate at Tokyo's Komazawa University, specializing in Buddhist studies. He is the author of "D. T. Suzuki in the Contemporary Academic Climate" (Japan Mission Journal 66) and "An Exegetical Study of D. T. Suzuki's Later-Period Japanese Works" (MA thesis). Stefan also coedited Suzuki's "Zen in T'ang and Sung" (Annual Report of Researches of the Matsugaoka Bunko 25) and Suzuki's partial translation of Biyen-lu (2012).


A Votary of the Lotus Sutra Will Meet Ordeals:
The Role of Suffering in Nichiren's Thought (1)
by Jacqueline I. Stone

Because Nichiren's sufferings bore out the predictions of the Lotus Sutra, they legitimated his course of action; identified him as a person whose advent was foretold by the Buddha, endowed with a unique destiny to spread the Lotus Sutra in the evil latter age; and even served to establish the truth of the Lotus Sutra itself.

Jacqueline I. Stone received her PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles, in East Asian Languages and Cultures, with a focus in Buddhist Studies. She is now Professor of Japanese Religions in the Religion Department of Princeton University. Her major research field is Japanese Buddhism. Her research interests include death in Buddhism; Buddhist eschatology; Buddhism and Japanese identity formation in the medieval and modern periods; and traditions related to the Lotus Sutra, especially Tendai and Nichiren Buddhism.

Founder's Memoirs

An Approach to Interreligious Cooperation 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.

Prism of the Lotus Sutra

Prism of the Lotus Sutra (3)
The Precious Seven / Sandalwood and Aloeswood / Nectar
by Atsushi Kanazawa

Atsushi Kanazawa is a Professor in the Faculty of Buddhism at Komazawa University, Tokyo. He specializes in the Indian philosophy of language and the history of Indian philosophy and culture.

The Threefold Lotus Sutra: A Modern Commentary (115)

The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law Chapter 21: The Divine Power of the Tathagata (3) by Nikkyo Niwano

This is the 115th installment of a detailed commentary on the Threefold Lotus Sutra by the founder of Rissho Kosei-kai, Rev. Nikkyo Niwano.

Dharma World Jan-Mar 2014, Aging Societies and Religion

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