Dharma World

January-March 2009, Volume 36

January-March 2009, Volume 36(PDF)

The Changing Forms of the Family and the Role of Religion

Bringing the Four Immeasurables into the Family by Takayo Maruyama

In Japan in recent years, there has been an increase in cases of extremely vicious child abuse, parricide, and infanticide. Why should such horrendous incidents occur within families, which are the smallest units of a community, and particularly among immediate family members, who should be the most able to understand one another? No prescriptions have been discovered, either for the root causes or for a strategy to solve the problem, and it seems that both the government and those involved in education are at a loss. . . .

Restoring the Family for Today’s World by Yoshiaki Sanada

The “breakdown of the family,” about which so much is heard these days, is not a phenomenon unique to Japan; neither is it a phenomenon peculiar to our own time.

Until March 2007, Yoshiaki Sanada served as a professor of law at Chuo University in Tokyo, where he is now professor emeritus. He has also been a guest professor at the Institute of Comparative Law of the China University of Politics and Law in Beijing. He is director of the Peace Research Institute of the Japanese Committee of the World Conference of Religions for Peace.

The Role of the Family in a “Glocal” World by Michael Fuss

As families have been bearers of culture in the past, they need to become aware of their new role as heralds of peace and survival for the future of humanity.

Michael Fuss is a professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. After ordination as a Catholic priest, Dr. Fuss specialized in Buddhist studies and today is engaged in Buddhist-Christian dialogue. Among his publications is Buddhavacana and Dei Verbum (Leiden: Brill, 1991), a comparative study of scriptural inspiration in the Lotus Sutra and the New Testament.

Why Twenty-first-Century Families Need Faith Communities by Michael A. Schuler

Whatever might be said about the role of religion and citizenship, it is clear that almost two centuries later the family continues to be held in high regard.

Michael A. Schuler has served the First Unitarian Society of Madison in Wisconsin, one of the largest Unitarian Universalist congregations in North America, since 1988. In addition to a master of divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry, Berkeley, CA, he earned a PhD in the humanities from Florida State University at Tallahassee.

Putting Our Hands Together Reverently Before Our Families by Nichiko Niwano

Home is the basic place in which we practice religious discipline, a place in which we can directly contemplate the cause of suffering and free ourselves of our selfishness.

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).

The Family as Focal Point for the Restoration of Inochi by Minoru Sonoda

In contemporary society the very shape of what constitutes a “family” has been in flux in many ways.

Minoru Sonoda is the head priest of the 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, where he is now professor emeritus. He has published widely and has edited many collections and anthologies on Shinto.

The Dharma of Family by David R. Loy

Family crisis and breakdown is part of a larger issue for Buddhism: its confrontation with modernity, undoubtedly the greatest challenge it has ever faced.

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 includeDavid 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 includeandMoney, Sex, War, Karma: Notes for a Buddhist Revolution.

The Muslim Family Today: Reconciling Tradition with Modernity by Mehrézia Labidi-Maïza

The Muslim family may look as strong and immutable as a citadel, but in reality it is a fragile citadel. It depends on the emotions and attitudes of its members.

Mehrézia Labidi-Maïza is cocoordinator of Global Women of Faith Network, the women’s group working under the umbrella of Religions for Peace. She is a translator specializing in Islamic theological texts and teaches the translation of sacred texts at the European Institute for Human Sciences in Paris. She is also coauthor of school textbooks on religious culture in multireligious environments.

All Are in One Family by Carol J. Ewer

In the world of impermanence, everything changes. What we deem as traditional or normal is only a moment or period of time as transience takes place. In our Buddhist practice today, if we do not move along with the impermanence, we suffer.

Carol J. Ewer is a member of Rissho Kosei-kai Dharma Center of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. As a licensed alcohol drug counselor, she also works as an Employee Assistance Program coordinator and Intern Program coordinator at Sunbeam Family Services, one of Oklahoma City’s oldest volunteer-led and supported nonprofit agencies.

Five “Secrets” for Today’s Families by Alberto Friso

A noted Italian sociologist offers some detailed suggestions to help young couples who are starting out on married family life achieve a stable union of lasting mutual affection.

Alberto Friso is a professional sociologist. Together with his wife, Anna, he is centrally responsible for the New Family Movement of the international Focolare Movement, founded in Italy in 1943, and a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family.

Asian Conference of Religions for Peace
Peacemaking in Asia: The Declaration of the Seventh Assembly of the Asian Conference of Religions for Peace

Under the main theme, “Peacemaking in Asia,” the Seventh Assembly of the Asian Conference of Religions for Peace (ACRP) was held in Manila, the Philippines, October 17-20, hosted by the University of Santo Tomas in Manila and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. Some four hundred people from twenty countries in Asia and the Pacific region representing Asia’s principal religions took part. The participants addressed the problems facing Asia, including armed conflicts, poverty, discrimination, human rights violations, and environmental destruction, and discussed practical ways to make peace.

On the last day, the participants adopted a declaration emphasizing the importance of dialogue. The declaration includes fourteen recommendations as part of an action plan for the next five years, among which are that national chapters establish centers for dialogue at universities or other educational institutions and urge their national governments to strengthen their commitment to nuclear disarmament. Following are excerpts from the declaration with slight revisions.


Conflict and Dialogue: Peace Building in Islamic Areas and the Role of Asian Religious People by Mir Nawaz Khan Marwat

Adapted from an address delivered at the International Interfaith Seminar held in Seoul, July 17-19, 2008

Mir Nawaz Khan Marwat is an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, a former federal minister in that country, an international president of the World Conference of Religions for Peace, former moderator and an honorary president of the Asian Conference of Religions for Peace, and assistant secretary-general of the World Muslim Congress.

Toward a Larger Faith by Notto R. Thelle

Every time I have wandered around in the borderland and reached summits where I had a panoramic view of the landscape in all directions, I have been forced to ask: Can I exclude any of this? Is not this the world of my faith? Some tell me that I must reject the border zone and return home; others think that I must forget my own Christian faith in order to lead a full life on the far side of the border. This choice is impossible! If faith should demand that I forget the border zone, it would be too narrow. But if I were to cross the border for good and put down my roots in a foreign region, I would be consumed by homesickness. Faith would become rootless. . . .

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. He was also a visiting scholar at the center in 1999 and 2000.


Toward a Universal Ethic for Youth
The Twenty-fifth Niwano Peace Prize Commemorative Dialogue between H.R.H. El Hassan bin Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Rev. Nichiko Niwano

The twenty-fifth Niwano Peace Prize was awarded to H.R.H. Prince Hassan of Jordan. Prince Hassan’s tireless interfaith advocacy and leadership in the promotion of peace based on his profound faith in Islam has won him recognition around the world. In this commemorative dialogue with Rev. Nichiko Niwano, president of the Niwano Peace Foundation, on the theme “recommended peace education for young people,” held on May 7, 2008, in Tokyo, he emphasized the importance of focusing on human security and cohesion with the poor.


Causes and Conditions behind Our Roles in Life 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 (96)

The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law – Chapter 14: A Happy Life (2)
by Nikkyo Niwano

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

Dharma World

  1. Autumn 2023, Volume 50

    Religion and the Family

  2. Spring 2023, Volume 50

    Religion’s Role in Peacebuilding

  3. Autumn 2022, Volume 49

    Religion and Happiness

  4. Spring 2022, Volume 49

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

  5. Autumn 2021, Volume 48

    Religion's Potential for Advancing Sustainable Development

  6. Spring 2021, Volume 48

    What Is Prayer?

  7. Autumn 2020, Volume 47

    Religion’s Role in Building an Inclusive Society

  8. Spring 2020, Volume 47

    Violence in Buddhism

  9. Autumn 2019, Volume 46

    Manga, Anime, and Contemporary Religion

  10. Spring 2019, Volume 46

    Is Emptiness the Goal?

  11. July-December 2018, Volume 45

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

  12. January-June 2018, Volume 45

    Buddhism’s One Vehicle in a World of Many Religions

  13. July-December 2017, Volume 44

    Religions Tackling Extremism

  14. January-June 2017, Volume 44

    Religion and Animals

  15. October-December 2016, Volume 43

    Features: Listening

  16. July-September 2016, Volume 43

    Contemporary Ideas about Karma

  17. April-June 2016, Volume 43

    Buddhism and Food

  18. January-March 2016, Volume 43

    Dual Religious Identity: Can One Practice Two Religions?

  19. October-December 2015, Volume 42

    The Modern Significance of Meditative Practices in Religions

  20. July-September 2015, Volume 42

    Religious Rituals and Their Meaning for Today

  21. April-June 2015, Volume 42

    Religion's Contributions to Society

  22. January-March 2015, Volume 42

    Cultivating Hearts That Welcome the Other

  23. October-December 2014, Volume 41

    Buddhism and Language

  24. July-September 2014, Volume 41

    Life After Death

  25. April-June 2014, Volume 41

    Building an East Asian Community: Roles of Religions

  26. January-March 2014, Volume 41

    Aging Societies and Religion

  27. October-December 2013, Volume 40

    Nuclear Power and Contemporary Religion

  28. July-September 2013, Volume 40

    Where Does the Buddha Live Now?

  29. April-June 2013, Volume 40

    Modern Meanings of Festivals

  30. January-March 2013, Volume 40

    Transforming Greed

  31. October-December 2012, Volume 39

    Religions Coping with Prejudice

  32. July-September 2012, Volume 39

    The Significance of Religious Communities

  33. April-June 2012, Volume 39

    Buddhist Teachings on Spiritual Liberation

  34. January-March 2012, Volume 39

    The Meaning of Modern Pilgrimage

  35. October-December 2011, Volume 38

    The Evolution of Funerals in Japan

  36. July-September 2011, Volume 38

    Buddhism in North America

  37. April-June 2011, Volume 38

    Religion and the Power of Women

  38. January-March 2011, Volume 38

    What Is True Wealth?

  39. October-December 2010, Volume 37

    Dialogue Draws Religions Closer

  40. July-September 2010, Volume 37

    Tackling the Question "What Is the Lotus Sutra?"

  41. April-June 2010, Volume 37

    Religion's Role in Abolishing Nuclear Weapons

  42. January-March 2010, Volume 37

    Help in Overcoming Alienation

  43. July-September 2009, Volume 36

    Religion and Prayer

  44. July-September 2009, Volume 36

    Religion and Media

  45. April-June 2009, Volume 36

    Religion and Health

  46. January-March 2009, Volume 36

    The Changing Forms of the Family and the Role of Religion

  47. October-December 2008, Volume 35

    The Meaning of Giving in the Contemporary World

  48. July-September 2008, Volume 35

    Buddhism in the Face of Environmental Crisis

  49. April-June 2008, Volume 35

    The Many Forms of the Bodhisattva Kuan-yin

  50. January-March 2008, Volume 35

    Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution

  51. October-December 2007, Volume 34

    Buddhism and Bioethics

  52. July-September 2007, Volume 34

    Respect for Ancestors

  53. April-June 2007, Volume 34

    Self-Examination and Peace Work

  54. January-March 2007, Volume 34

    Buddhism and Social Responsibility: Boddhisattva Practice Today

  55. October-December 2006, Volume 33

    Buddishm in Dialogue

  56. July-September 2006, Volume 33

    Religions Working for Peace

  57. April-June 2006, Volume 33

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

  58. January-February 2006, Volume 33

    The Human Condition and Religion: A Global Future?

  59. November-December 2005, Volume 32

    Remembering Hiroshima

  60. September-October 2005, Volume 32

    Spirituality and Development

  61. July-August 2005, Volume 32

    Women in Contemporary Japanese Religion and Society

  62. May-June 2005, Volume 32

    Rissho Kosei-kai 67th

  63. March-April 2005, Volume 32

    "Thousand Buddhas," Sanbanggulsa Temple, South Korea

  64. January-February 2005, Volume 32

    Emerging Forms of Spirituality

  65. November-December 2004, Volume 31

    Peace Building Through Multi-Religious Cooperation

  66. September-October 2004, Volume 31

    The Increasing Importance of Dialogue and Cooperation

  67. July-August 2004, Volume 31

    Paths to Reconciliation

  68. May-June 2004, Volume 31

    Religion in Crisis

  69. March-April 2004, Volume 31

    Spiritual Friendship

  70. January-February 2004, Volume 31

    Resolving Conflict

  71. November-December 2003, Volume 30

    Dividing Good From Evil

  72. September-October 2003, Volume 30

    Common Truths: Cooperation Among Religions

  73. July-August 2003, Volume 30

    Niwano Peace Foundation

  74. May-June 2003, Volume 30

    Religionists United in Prayer for Peace

  75. March-April 2003, Volume 30

    Life is Larger Than Globalization

  76. January-February 2003, Volume 30

    Emerging Forms of Spirituality

  77. November-December 2002, Volume 29

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

  78. September-October 2002, Volume 29

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

  79. July-August 2002, Volume 29

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

  80. May-June 2002, Volume 29

    National Treasure Tapestry Illustrating Shakyamuni Sermon to the Faithful

  81. March-April 2002, Volume 29

    Celebration of the Anniversary of Shakyamuni's Birth

  82. January-February 2002, Volume 29

    Religious Delegates Gather in New York for WCRP Symposium