Dharma World

January-March 2014, Volume 41

January-March 2014, Volume 41(PDF)

Aging Societies and Religion

Longevity is a universal hope. Longevity myths and legends in every culture and in every time have reflected the fear of an untimely death and the hope of a long, healthful life. With the medical advances and higher living standards of the second half of the twentieth century, average human life expectancy has lengthened considerably. Longevity is no longer a privilege of the fortunate few.

Longevity has raised new problems, however, with the large and ever-increasing proportion of older people in the world population. According to the UN report “World Population Ageing 1950–2050,” developed countries’ birthrates have fallen, while the number of people sixty years old or more is projected to increase from a fifth of the population in 2000 to a third by 2050. In less developed regions, it will increase to a fifth by 2050.

As you well know, Japan is at the forefront of the aging global population. The number of people older than eighty-five is expected to reach 9.2 percent by 2035. Japan is proud of its people’s longevity. At the same time, however, it faces multiple, complicated problems that put pressure on people socially and psychologically. These problems arise from the shrinking labor force because of the lower birthrate, higher medical costs, a shortage of caregivers, the many elderly people no longer finding meaning in life, the financial burden on families with aged parents, and so on. It is sad to think that humanity is paying a heavy price to fulfill its dream of longevity.

The transition from the short lifespans of the past to the long lifespans of the present is new in the long history of religion. Religion is now challenged to offer new guidance on how people with longer lives can find purpose and support one another. Since aging societies are becoming a concern worldwide, we seek suggestion on fresh approaches for religion to take in dealing with the issues of aging societies.

Dharma World

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    Violence in Buddhism

  2. Autumn 2019, Volume 46

    Manga, Anime, and Contemporary Religion

  3. Spring 2019, Volume 46

    Is Emptiness the Goal?

  4. July-December 2018, Volume 45

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

  5. January-June 2018, Volume 45

    Buddhism’s One Vehicle in a World of Many Religions

  6. July-December 2017, Volume 44

    Religions Tackling Extremism

  7. January-June 2017, Volume 44

    Religion and Animals

  8. October-December 2016, Volume 43

    Features: Listening

  9. July-September 2016, Volume 43

    Contemporary Ideas about Karma

  10. April-June 2016, Volume 43

    Buddhism and Food

  11. January-March 2016, Volume 43

    Dual Religious Identity: Can One Practice Two Religions?

  12. October-December 2015, Volume 42

    The Modern Significance of Meditative Practices in Religions

  13. July-September 2015, Volume 42

    Religious Rituals and Their Meaning for Today

  14. April-June 2015, Volume 42

    Religion's Contributions to Society

  15. January-March 2015, Volume 42

    Cultivating Hearts That Welcome the Other

  16. October-December 2014, Volume 41

    Buddhism and Language

  17. July-September 2014, Volume 41

    Life After Death

  18. April-June 2014, Volume 41

    Building an East Asian Community: Roles of Religions

  19. January-March 2014, Volume 41

    Aging Societies and Religion

  20. October-December 2013, Volume 40

    Nuclear Power and Contemporary Religion

  21. July-September 2013, Volume 40

    Where Does the Buddha Live Now?

  22. April-June 2013, Volume 40

    Modern Meanings of Festivals

  23. January-March 2013, Volume 40

    Transforming Greed

  24. October-December 2012, Volume 39

    Religions Coping with Prejudice

  25. July-September 2012, Volume 39

    The Significance of Religious Communities

  26. April-June 2012, Volume 39

    Buddhist Teachings on Spiritual Liberation

  27. January-March 2012, Volume 39

    The Meaning of Modern Pilgrimage

  28. October-December 2011, Volume 38

    The Evolution of Funerals in Japan

  29. July-September 2011, Volume 38

    Buddhism in North America

  30. April-June 2011, Volume 38

    Religion and the Power of Women

  31. January-March 2011, Volume 38

    What Is True Wealth?

  32. October-December 2010, Volume 37

    Dialogue Draws Religions Closer

  33. July-September 2010, Volume 37

    Tackling the Question "What Is the Lotus Sutra?"

  34. April-June 2010, Volume 37

    Religion's Role in Abolishing Nuclear Weapons

  35. January-March 2010, Volume 37

    Help in Overcoming Alienation

  36. July-September 2009, Volume 36

    Religion and Prayer

  37. July-September 2009, Volume 36

    Religion and Media

  38. April-June 2009, Volume 36

    Religion and Health

  39. January-March 2009, Volume 36

    The Changing Forms of the Family and the Role of Religion

  40. October-December 2008, Volume 35

    The Meaning of Giving in the Contemporary World

  41. July-September 2008, Volume 35

    Buddhism in the Face of Environmental Crisis

  42. April-June 2008, Volume 35

    The Many Forms of the Bodhisattva Kuan-yin

  43. January-March 2008, Volume 35

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  44. October-December 2007, Volume 34

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  45. July-September 2007, Volume 34

    Respect for Ancestors

  46. April-June 2007, Volume 34

    Self-Examination and Peace Work

  47. January-March 2007, Volume 34

    Buddhism and Social Responsibility: Boddhisattva Practice Today

  48. October-December 2006, Volume 33

    Buddishm in Dialogue

  49. July-September 2006, Volume 33

    Religions Working for Peace

  50. April-June 2006, Volume 33

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  51. January-February 2006, Volume 33

    The Human Condition and Religion: A Global Future?

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  53. September-October 2005, Volume 32

    Spirituality and Development

  54. July-August 2005, Volume 32

    Women in Contemporary Japanese Religion and Society

  55. May-June 2005, Volume 32

    Rissho Kosei-kai 67th

  56. March-April 2005, Volume 32

    "Thousand Buddhas," Sanbanggulsa Temple, South Korea

  57. January-February 2005, Volume 32

    Emerging Forms of Spirituality

  58. November-December 2004, Volume 31

    Peace Building Through Multi-Religious Cooperation

  59. September-October 2004, Volume 31

    The Increasing Importance of Dialogue and Cooperation

  60. July-August 2004, Volume 31

    Paths to Reconciliation

  61. May-June 2004, Volume 31

    Religion in Crisis

  62. March-April 2004, Volume 31

    Spiritual Friendship

  63. January-February 2004, Volume 31

    Resolving Conflict

  64. November-December 2003, Volume 30

    Dividing Good From Evil

  65. September-October 2003, Volume 30

    Common Truths: Cooperation Among Religions

  66. July-August 2003, Volume 30

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  67. May-June 2003, Volume 30

    Religionists United in Prayer for Peace

  68. March-April 2003, Volume 30

    Life is Larger Than Globalization

  69. January-February 2003, Volume 30

    Emerging Forms of Spirituality

  70. November-December 2002, Volume 29

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

  71. September-October 2002, Volume 29

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

  72. July-August 2002, Volume 29

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

  73. May-June 2002, Volume 29

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  74. March-April 2002, Volume 29

    Celebration of the Anniversary of Shakyamuni's Birth

  75. January-February 2002, Volume 29

    Religious Delegates Gather in New York for WCRP Symposium

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