Dharma World

January-March 2014, Volume 41

January-March 2014, Volume 41(PDF)

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

  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