Dharma World

July-September 2012, Volume 39

July-September 2012, Volume 39(PDF)

The Significance of Religious Communities

Why We Should Join a Sangha by Yukimasa Hagiwara

Yukimasa Hagiwara is deputy director of Rissho Kosei-kai International in Tokyo.

Communities of Life and Dialogue in the Catholic Church by Brendan Leahy

It is important to underline how many of the new movements and communities in the Catholic Church are involved in dialogue with other Christians, with members of other religions, and indeed with people of nonreligious convictions but committed to peace and universal fraternity.

Professor Brendan Leahy lectures in theology at Saint Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Ireland. Both as a member of the Focolare Movement and as secretary to the Irish Bishops’ Conference Committee on Ecumenism, he has been involved for many years in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. He has written numerous publications, including Ecclesial Movements and Communities: Origins, Significance, and Issues (New York: New City, 2011).

The Muslim Community in Japan by Samir Abdel Hamid Nouh

Though the Muslim community is very small, the Japanese public of today has generally accepted it as part of Japanese society. For the most part, Japanese people accept cultural differences as colorful aspects of the world and understand that other cultures are actually not very different from their own.

Samir Abdel Hamid Nouh is a professor at the Office for Advanced Research and Higher Education, Doshisha University, Kyoto, and deputy director of the university’s Center for Interdisciplinary Study of Monotheistic Religions. He started his academic career at his alma mater, Cairo University, and received a PhD in comparative linguistics from Punjab University in 1978. Before he came to Kyoto in 2004, he was a professor at Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. His fields of research include Islamic civilization and cross-cultural understanding between Arab Islamic and Japanese cultures. He is the author of many books and articles in Arabic.

Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam: Community Responses to Conflict by Abdessalam Najjar

Dispute resolution methodologies traditionally appeal to shared values and norms that are universally accepted within a given culture. A different type of challenge is involved when it comes to approaching conflict in a multicultural society or between two separate groups who do not share a common belief system, background, or values.

Abdessalam Najjar lived in Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam (Oasis of Peace), the Arab-Jewish village in Israel, from its earliest days. In 1993 its founder, Bruno Hussar, accepted the Niwano Peace Prize on the community’s behalf. Before Mr. Najjar’s death, on March 22 of this year at the age of fifty-nine, he was director of the village’s Pluralistic Spiritual Center. He died before finishing this article, and it was completed by his neighbor and colleague Howard Shippin.

The Crucial Role of Community for Holiness and a Universal Vision by Peter Feldmeier

Community is crucial because in it you enter a great mystery that is not your own. You’re tapping into the divine but not as a separate self. You lose your separateness, and the walls between you and others and you and God get thinner.

Peter Feldmeier is the Murray/Bacik Endowed Chair of Catholic Studies at the University of Toledo, Ohio. He received his PhD in Christian spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and specializes in the study of Buddhist-Christian dialogue. He is the author of five books and coauthored, with Leo Lefebure, The Path of Wisdom: A Christian Commentary on the Dhammapada (2011).

Why the Sangha Exists, and Its Limits by Ryumyo Yamazaki

Only a true Sangha, with the light of the Buddha Dharma at its core (separate from the frameworks of government, the economy, society, and so forth), can truly confront the multiple real-world issues that we face.

Ryumyo Yamazaki, a professor at Musashino University in Tokyo, teaches the history of Japanese thought in the Middle Ages and Jodo Shin Buddhism. He also serves as vice director of the Peace Research Institute, which is affiliated with the Japanese Committee of the World Conference of Religions for Peace. He is head priest of the Jodo Shin Buddhist temple Hozenji in Tokyo.


Our Smiles Can Open Minds by Nichiko Niwano

Nichiko Niwano is president of Rissho Kosei-kai and a president of the World Conference of Religions for Peace. He also serves as special advisor to Shinshuren (Federation of New Religious Organizations of Japan).

Niwano Peace Prize

Harmony and Peace by Rosalina Tuyuc Velásquez

The Niwano Peace Foundation awarded the twenty-ninth Niwano Peace Prize on May 10 to Ms. Rosalina Tuyuc Velásquez, a human rights activist and political leader in Guatemala. It was the first time for a practitioner of an indigenous religious tradition (in her case, Mayan) to receive the prize. Ms. Velásquez was honored for her unflagging work, which has exemplified the great potential and wisdom of indigenous peoples in marking paths to peace. She also has highlighted the critical role of women’s work for peace. The presentation ceremony took place in Tokyo. In addition to an award certificate, Ms. Velásquez received a medal and twenty million yen. This is her acceptance speech.

Rosalina Tuyuc Velásquez came from a very poor, religious agricultural family in Guatemala. Mayan religion has always guided her, and since her youth she also has been part of the Christian movement. Guatemala suffered violent internal strife between 1960 and 1996. Of a population of about 10 million, over 250,000 died during the war, and 45,000 people are still missing. Over 240,000 orphans and 50,000 widows survived. In 1988 Ms. Velásquez founded the National Coordinating Organization of Widows of Guatemala (CONAVIGUA), now a leading Guatemalan human rights organization. She has served in many posts, in Guatemala and the region, including as a congresswoman in the National Congress.


The Bodhisattva Way in Rissho Kosei-kai and the Lotus Sutra by Gene Reeves

In the Lotus Sutra, a bodhisattva is one who is wise enough to know that he or she cannot be saved unless everyone is. A bodhisattva is well aware of the interconnectedness and interdependence of all things.

Gene Reeves has done research and lectured on the Lotus Sutra worldwide for more than a quarter century. He is a professor at Renmin University of China in Beijing and serves as an international advisor to Rissho Kosei-kai. Before coming to Japan in 1989, he was head of Meadville Lombard Theological School and a lecturer at the University of Chicago Divinity School. His recent works include The Stories of the Lotus Sutra (Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 2010).

Founder’s Memoirs

Rissho Kosei-kai’s Second Step Forward 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.

Seminar Report

The Lotus Sutra and Human Suffering by Stefan Grace

This is a report on the 2012 International Lotus Sutra Seminar, sponsored by Rissho Kosei-kai and held March 6-11 at the National Women’s Education Center of Japan in Musashi-ranzan, Saitama Prefecture. This year’s theme, “The Lotus Sutra and Human Suffering,” commemorated the tragic events of March 11, 2011.

Stefan Grace is a doctoral candidate at Tokyo’s Komazawa University, specializing in Buddhist studies. He is 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 the Chinese Chan classic Biyen-lu (scheduled for 2012 publication).

The Threefold Lotus Sutra: A Modern Commentary (109)

The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law Chapter 20: The Bodhisattva Never Despise (1) by Nikkyo Niwano

This is the 109th 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