Dharma World

January-March 2007, Volume 34

January-March 2007, Volume 34(PDF)

Buddhism and Social Responsibility: Bodhisattva Practice Today

The Buddha Encouraged His Disciples to Spread the Teaching by Norio Sakai

Buddhism is commonly understood as a religion that teaches us how to gain deliverance from delusions and suffering and to attain enlightenment. Of course, this is one of Buddhism’s aims. However, I think it would be a grievous error to assume that it is its only aim. . . .

Norio Sakai, former chairman of Rissho Kosei-kai, is now an honorary executive board member of the organization. He also serves as a trustee of the World Conference of Religions for Peace.

The Three Institutional Poisons: Challenging Collective Greed, Ill Will, and Delusion by David R. Loy

Many of our social problems can be traced back to a group ego when we identify with our own gender, race, nation, religion, and so on.

David R. Loy is Besl Professor of Ethics/Religion and Society at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. His specialty is comparative philosophy and religion, particularly comparing Buddhism with modern Western thought. His recent books include The Great Awakening: A Buddhist Social Theory.

Mount Sinai and Mount Fuji: The American Jewish Fascination with Buddhism by Harold Kasimow

Martin Buber (1878-1965), the well-known Jewish philosopher of the twentieth century, wrote a fascinating essay on Zen Buddhism and Hasidism in which he tells the tale of Rabbi Eizik, son of Rabbi Yekel, who travels from Krakow to Prague in search of treasure. He ultimately discovers, after meeting with a Christian, that the treasure is in fact buried in his family’s home in Krakow. Thus, it is a member of a different religious tradition who helps Rabbi Eizik to find the treasure in Judaism, to perceive more profoundly the depth and uniqueness of the Jewish tradition. That is precisely the point that Rabbi Greenberg, one of the outstanding rabbis of our generation, makes after meeting with the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama himself, whose strong commitment to nonviolence and belief that every human being “can develop a heart of compassion,” has played an instrumental role in attracting many Americans, including many Jews, to the study and practice of Buddhism. . . .

Harold Kasimow is the George Drake Professor of Religious Studies at Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa. His latest book is The Search Will Make You Free: A Jewish Dialogue with World Religions.

The Japanese and the Buddhist Home Altar by Kokan Sasaki

It was the grandparents who were most responsible for the culture surrounding the family altar. With the increase in the number of nuclear families, who is looking after the altar and how is it prospering?

Kokan Sasaki, Litt.D., was a professor in the Faculty of Literature at Komazawa University, where he is now professor emeritus. His specialty is religious anthropology and cultural anthropology. His recent books include Butsuriki: Seikatsu bukkyo no dainamizumu (The Buddha Power: Dynamism of Living Buddhism).

Engaged Lotus Buddhism in Medieval Japan by Lucia Dolce

The influence of Nichiren’s reading of the Lotus Sutra reached far beyond his lifetime, and in later ages his Buddhism would be taken as a model for active participation in religious, social, and political life.

Lucia Dolce is senior lecturer in Japanese religions at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where she also directs the Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions. She specializes in Japanese religions and thought, with a particular research interest in the religiosity of the medieval period.

Rissho Kosei-kai’s Social Contribution: Bodhisattva Practice Today by Masahiro Nemoto

The role played by lay religious movements is valuable, in that they offer people a way to avoid being caught up in the current prejudices about religion.

Masahiro Nemoto, formerly a deputy director of the External Affairs Department of Rissho Kosei-kai, now serves as head of the organization’s Tsuchiura Branch in Ibaraki Prefecture.

Backburner Zen at Mount Equity Zendo by Jacqueline Ruyak

Located in a tiny old Quaker settlement in Pennsylvania, this American Buddhist center is attracting increasing interest with monthly weekend retreats for adults and Dharma School for children.

Jacqueline Ruyak lived in Japan for many years. She now divides her time between Pennsylvania and Tono in northeastern Japan. Her essays on religion and Japanese arts, crafts, and social topics appear frequently in Japanese and American magazines. All photos in this article were taken by the author.

Japanese Buddhist Folktales


Protecting the Dignity of Every Human Being by Representatives of Rabbis for Human Rights and Nichiko Niwano

The 23rd Niwano Peace Prize was awarded last year to Rabbis for Human Rights, an Israeli group of ordained rabbis and rabbinical students working to defend the rights of both Jews and Palestinians. In May 2006, three representatives of the group, Rabbi Arik Ascherman, executive director, Rabbi Ma’ayan Turner, chairperson, and Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann, treasurer, exchanged views on the sanctity of all human beings in a commemorative dialogue with Rev. Nichiko Niwano, president of the Niwano Peace Foundation.

The Stories of the Lotus Sutra

Universal Sage by Gene Reeves

In chapter 28 of the Lotus Sutra, Universal Sage Bodhisattva promises that if anyone accepts and upholds the Lotus Sutra he will come to that person, mounted on a white elephant with six tusks.

Gene Reeves is currently studying, teaching, and writing on Buddhism in Tokyo. A consultant and teacher at Rissho Kosei-kai, he was recently a research fellow at Rikkyo University. Before coming to Japan in 1989, Dr. Reeves was the dean of Meadville/Lombard Theological School and professorial lecturer in the Divinity School of the University of Chicago.


The Buddha’s Path: Between Otherworldliness and Presence by Notto R. Thelle

As we hear the voices of life’s suffering and pain, the vision of unity and interconnectedness expands to become a solidarity that breaks through all barriers to embrace all that suffers.

Notto R. Thelle, D.Th., is a professor in the Faculty of Theology, the University of Oslo, Norway. Having studied Buddhism at Otani University in Kyoto, he acted as associate director of the NCC (National Christian Council) Center for the Study of Japanese Religions in Kyoto from 1974 to 1985, where he was a visiting scholar in 1999 and 2000.

Conference Report

The Lotus Sutra and Lay Buddhist Movements by Daniel Friedrich

The eleventh International Lotus Sutra Seminar was held in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China, June 26-29, 2006. The theme of the conference was “The Lotus Sutra and Lay Buddhist Movements: Past and Present.” The Lotus Sutra, as is well known, has had an incredibly vast influence upon Buddhism in East Asia, and the papers presented and the ensuing conversation reflected the great number of ways in which the Lotus Sutra has been understood in East Asia. Given this tremendous diversity, an extended overview of the papers and discussions would be ideal. . . .

Daniel Friedrich had been awarded an M.A. by the Institute of Buddhist Studies/Graduate Theological Union at the time of the Lotus Sutra seminar. He is currently furthering his studies in Sumoto, Hyogo Prefecture.


The Realm of the One Buddha Vehicle by Nikkyo Niwano

This essay is part of a continuing series of translations from a volume of inspirational writings by the late 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 late 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 (89)

The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law Chapter 12: Devadatta (1) by Nikkyo Niwano

This is the eighty-ninth 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