Dharma World

July-September 2009, Volume 36

July-September 2009, Volume 36(PDF)

Religion and the Media

Religious Organizations and Public Relations Activities by Takeshi Kawabata

In a certain sense, all religions since their inception have engaged in public relations activities. This is because public relations are part of missionary work itself. Naturally enough, missionary work was originally based on face-to-face conversations in which one person transmitted religious teachings to another. However, as times have changed, the range of methods for transmitting religious teachings has broadened. . . .

Takeshi Kawabata is director of the General Affairs Bureau of Rissho Kosei-kai in Tokyo.

Media as Peace-Building Tool in Sri Lanka – Religions Have a Long Way to Go by Jehan Perera

The intertwining of ethnicity and religion means that the ethnic conflict also occupies a religious dimension. The politicization of religion has thus become a major impediment to peace building.

Jehan Perera is executive director of the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka, an organization that works for a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict in the country. He is also a political columnist for the Daily Mirror and Divaina newspapers. He was awarded the inaugural Sakai Peace Contribution Award by the city of Sakai, Japan, in 2008. Dr. Perera completed this essay as the Sri Lankan government announced its May victory over the separatist Tamil Tigers, ending the country’s twenty-six years of civil war.

The News Media and Religion in the Blogging Era by Peter Kenny

Many news items raise the issue of media and religion and how they intertwine in a landscape that in reality is far more complex than a robust debate between creationists and evolutionists.

Peter Kenny is editor-in-chief of Ecumenical News International, an independent news agency specializing in religious news that is backed by international church groups. He began his journalist career on South African newspapers and then worked for Agence France-Presse in southern Africa for five years. This was followed by nine years in Europe and Asia with United Press International, where he was serving as its Tokyo bureau chief when he left the wire service in 1999.

The Role of the Media in Dialogue among Religions by Michele Zanzucchi

Communication between peoples of different faiths and ethnic backgrounds has been implemented and fostered by the media, which at the same time have contributed to the conflict between civilizations.

Michele Zanzucchi is a journalist and writer who has published some thirty books. He is the editor of Città Nuova, the Italian edition of the Focolare Movement’s magazine, which is published in twenty-two languages. He teaches media at the Sophia University Institute in Loppiano, near Florence, and journalism at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

The Information Age and Religious Belief: TV Puts Its Imprint on Religion in Japan by Kenji Ishii

Is there not a need for unbiased, balanced reporting on religious organizations and for more broadcasting of quality programs on religion?

Kenji Ishii is a professor in the Faculty of Shinto Studies of Kokugakuin University in Tokyo. He specializes in religious studies and the sociology of religion. He is the author of many books on Japanese religion, including Ginza no kamigami: Toshi ni tokekomu shukyo (The gods in Ginza: Religions integrated into the cities) and Sengo no shakai hendo to jinja Shinto (Japan’s postwar social changes and Shrine Shinto).

Religion and the Media Could Raise Consideration for Others by Hajime Ozaki

Buddhism and the mass media share the potential for playing a positive social role. They can turn people’s eyes to what they cannot see for themselves and open their minds to consideration for others.

Hajime Ozaki reported mainly on global affairs and multilateral diplomacy from Israel and the United States as a Kyodo News correspondent for more than twenty years. Back in Tokyo he covered the 9/11 attacks in the United States at the foreign news desk until he was assigned to the Geneva bureau. Since December 2007, he has been serving as the Maebashi bureau chief in Gunma Prefecture.

Japan’s Spiritual Culture and Buddhism: The Religious Outlook of the Japanese as Seen through the Performing Arts by Michihiko Komine

Popular actors in the fourteenth century performed in works that richly incorporated Buddhist faith and doctrine. While being entertained, audiences simultaneously learned the ideas of Buddhism.

Michihiko Komine is head priest of Kanzo’in in Tokyo, a temple belonging to the Chisan branch of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism and president of Taisho University in Tokyo. His special fields are early Mahayana Buddhism and the Shingon Buddhist doctrine. He is the author of numerous books on esoteric Buddhist paintings.

Japanese Religions, the Media, and the Internet: A Very Special Relationship by Michael Pye

Japanese religious organizations and activists have hurried to establish their presence somehow on the Internet. However, some important distinctions about this use have to be made.

Michael Pye was professor of religious studies at the University of Marburg, Germany, until 2004. He is now a visiting professor at Otani University, Kyoto. From 1995 to 2000, Dr. Pye served as president of the International Association for the History of Religions. His books include Skilful Means: A Concept in Mahayana Buddhism and MacMillan Dictionary of Religion.

Niwano Peace Prize

Called to Be Ambassadors of Life and Peace by Canon Gideon Baguma Byamugisha

The Niwano Peace Foundation presented the twenty-sixth Niwano Peace Prize to Canon Gideon Baguma Byamugisha, an Anglican priest in Uganda. Rev. Byamugisha was honored for his endeavors to uphold the dignity and human rights of people with HIV/AIDS. The presentation took place on May 7 at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo. Because of the international swine flu alert, Rev. Byamugisha, who is HIV-positive, did not attend the ceremony. On his behalf, the Most Rev. Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu, primate of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (Anglican Episcopal Church in Japan) accepted the prize. Following are excerpts of the acceptance address that Rev. Byamugisha had prepared for the presentation ceremony.

Canon Gideon Baguma Byamugisha, who was born in 1959, learned in 1991 that he was HIV-positive. He was the first African priest to declare publicly that he was HIV-positive, breaking one of the most important barriers in the struggle against HIV, that of stigma-induced silence. Rev. Byamugisha has helped to raise public awareness of the disease in a way that has brought distinction to religious and cultural communities in his own country, Uganda, across the African continent, and on a global level. He is the canon of two cathedrals, in Uganda and Zambia, and works through many other channels to fight injustice, with a special focus on children.


The Bodhisattva Practice and Lotus Sutra-Based New Religions of Japan: The Concept of Integration by Susumu Shimazonov

New religious organizations in Japan today clearly reveal that Buddhism has retained its influence on modern Japanese society.

Susumu Shimazono is a professor in the Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology at the University of Tokyo. His special fields are the comparative study of religious movements and the history of religion in modern Japan. He has also taught as a guest professor at universities in the United States, France, Germany, and Egypt. He is the author of numerous books on religion, spirituality, and bioethics.


The Importance of Knowing One’s Self by Nichiko Niwano

When our concern about affairs outside ourselves grows, we become likely to neglect our precious inner lives.

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 One Fundamental Principle of All Religions by Nikkyo Niwano

This essay is part of a continuing series of translations from a volume of inspirational writings by the 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 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 (98)

The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law Chapter 15: Springing Up out of the Earth (1) by Nikkyo Niwano

This is the ninety-eighth 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