Dharma World

October-December 2008, Volume 35

October-December 2008, Volume 35(PDF)

The Meaning of Giving in the Contemporary World

What “Giving” Really Means by Yuji Numata

One aspect of the true nature of giving is renunciation of the ego that is at the root of suffering. Giving is necessary, however, for more than just freedom from attachments.

Yuji Numata is director of the Dharma Missions of Rissho Kosei-kai at its headquarters in Tokyo.

The Enigma of Giving by Brook Ziporyn

Do we really possess anything in the way we assume? Basic Buddhism says we do not. The act of giving turns our sense of control against itself.

Brook Ziporyn is associate professor of religion and philosophy at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. He earned his PhD in Chinese philosophy at the University of Michigan and specializes in Chinese Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. His published books in intellectual history, religion, and philosophy includeBeing and Ambiguity: Philosophical Experiments with Tiantai Buddhism.

The “Economics of Giving”: An Interface of Varying Perspectives by Lilian J. Sison and Jaime M. Jimenez

“Giving” is perhaps the expression that exemplifies social accountability and responsibility to other people regardless of their political, social, economic, and cultural background. The act of giving, however, is governed by varying motives, driven by myriad factors, and shaped by different realities.

Lilian J. Sison is the dean of and a professor at the Graduate School of the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. She holds a PhD in chemistry. She is also the secretary general of the Asian Conference of Religions for Peace in the Philippines. Jaime M. Jimenez, PhD, is associate professor of development studies, Asian studies, and political science in the Graduate School and the Faculty of Arts and Letters at the University of Santo Tomas.

The Meaning of Giving in the Contemporary World by Kenichi Otsu

Important changes have taken place in churches’ thinking about giving and receiving, with new emphasis on the causes of poverty in Asian and African nations.

Kenichi Otsu, a minister of the United Church of Christ in Japan, worked as executive secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia. From 1994 he served for nine years as general secretary of the National Christian Council in Japan; currently he is the council’s acting general secretary. He also serves as chair of the Public Relations Committee of the Japanese Committee of Religions for Peace.

Generosity in Christianity and Pali Buddhism by Elizabeth J. Harris

In this article I will explore what Christianity and Buddhism, particularly Theravada Buddhism, say about generosity and self-giving. I will do this in the light of our current global crisis, which is worsening because of our inability to share resources equitably.

Elizabeth J. Harris is a senior lecturer in the comparative study of religion at Liverpool Hope University. She has been involved in Buddhist-Christian encounter for over twenty years and has written extensively. Her latest book is Theravada Buddhism and the British Encounter: Religious, Missionary and Colonial Experience in Nineteenth Century Sri Lanka (London: Routledge, 2006).

The Concept of Giving in a Multireligious Perspective by Jacqueline Rougé

All religions stress the need to effectively attend to the needs of others. Giving is not advocated for its own sake but as a way of showing selfless love and sincere compassion to one’s neighbor.

From 1984 to 1994, Jacqueline Rougé was an active president of the International Committee of the World Conference of Religions for Peace and is now one of its honorary presidents. She is also now official Religions for Peace representative with UNESCO.

Words of Encouragement by Nichiko Niwano

Being careful in the words we use toward each other teaches consideration for the importance and value of each and every life.

Nichiko Niwano is president of Rissho Kosei-kai and the Niwano Peace Foundation, a president of the World Conference of Religions for Peace, and chairman of Shinshuren (Federation of New Religious Organizations of Japan).

Giving: Basis for a Culture of Solidarity and Foundation Stone for a Global Ethic by Günther Gebhardt

Giving can serve merely to pacify one’s conscience when actually it is necessary to do more.

Günther Gebhardt, a Christian theologian, was secretary-general of the World Conference of Religions for Peace Europe in Geneva from 1984 to 1997. Since 1998 Dr. Gebhardt has been the senior advisor at the Global Ethic Foundation in Tübingen, Germany.

Religions for Peace

Call from Sapporo: World Religious Leaders Summit for Peace

On July 2-3, the Japanese Committee of the World Conference of Religions for Peace (Religions for Peace Japan) convened the World Religious Leaders Summit for Peace in Sapporo, Hokkaido, with the cooperation of its international body of Religions for Peace. The conference was held shortly before the summit of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations (G8) held July 7-9 by Lake Toya near Sapporo. The religious summit was attended by about three hundred religious leaders, including one hundred delegates, from twenty-three countries and regions. The participants discussed pressing global issues and worked out a statement to the G8 leaders, which lists areas of concern that they requested the G8 Summit to discuss or tackle in its action plans. Following is the text of the statement, which is entitled “Call from Sapporo: World Religious Leaders Summit for Peace.”


Health, Disease, and Healing: The Buddhist Contribution by Pinit Ratanakul

Understanding health only in relation to particular parts of the human organism is unacceptable to Buddhism. In the Buddhist holistic perspective, disease is the expression of the disturbed harmony in our life as a whole.

Pinit Ratanakul, who received his PhD from Yale University, is professor of philosophy and director of the College of Religious Studies at Thailand’s Mahidol University. He is the author of Bioethics: An Introduction to the Ethics of Medicine and Life Science and coeditor of A Cross-Cultural Dialogue on Health Care Ethics. He has published widely on bioethics from Theravada Buddhist perspectives.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus… by Notto R. Thelle

Many Japanese Buddhists seem to find in the life of Jesus a radiant model of all they have dreamed of, all they have sought after, because he lived the love that freely gives its life for others.

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.


A View of Eternal 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 (95)

The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law Chapter 14: A Happy Life (1)
by Nikkyo Niwano

This is the ninety-fourth 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