Dharma World

October-December 2012, Volume 39

October-December 2012, Volume 39(PDF)

Religions Coping with Prejudice

Prejudices of Our Own by Norio Yamakoshi

Norio Yamakoshi is a deputy director of the External Affairs Department of Rissho Kosei-kai in Tokyo.

Buddhism and Prejudice: Ancient and Modern Responses to Hatred by Christopher Queen

Over the past sixty years, Buddhists have begun to explore new approaches to overcoming prejudice. As part of a larger movement that has reverberated throughout Asia and the West, “socially engaged Buddhists” have sought to root out the many institutional forms of hatred, greed, ignorance, injustice, poverty, and environmental destruction that have magnified the scope of suffering in the world.

Christopher Queen, PhD, teaches Buddhism and Social Change and World Religions at Harvard University. He has served as board president of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and as cochair of the Symposium for Western Socially Engaged Buddhism. He is cofounder of the Dharma Chakra Mission, serving low-income communities in the Bodh Gaya area of Bihar, India. Queen is currently working on two books: The Fourth Yana: The Rise of Socially Engaged Buddhism and Ambedkar: How the Untouchables Came to Buddhism.

Religious Prejudice, Diversity, and Living Together in Europe by Stein Villumstad

Prejudice is by definition judgments made before the facts are known. Increasing knowledge about ethnicity, cultures, and religions among children and youth is of utmost importance to counter prejudice.

Stein Villumstad has been the general secretary of the European Council of Religious Leaders – Religions for Peace since January 2011. Prior to this assignment he was the deputy secretary general of Religions for Peace International for five years. He served in different functions in Norwegian Church Aid in Norway and Eastern Africa for close to twenty years before joining Religions for Peace. He is the author of a book on social reconstruction in Africa.

Religious Prejudice: What Makes It Worse and What Helps by Wakoh Shannon Hickey

Prejudice occurs along a spectrum: from negative comments and jokes, to avoiding members of a group, to discriminating against them by denying opportunities and services, to physically attacking them or damaging their property, to trying to exterminate them altogether. Stereotyping is both a cause and a consequence of prejudice.

Wakoh Shannon Hickey is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Alfred University in New York. She holds a PhD from Duke University and two Master’s degrees from the Pacific School of Religion. Her specialties are American religious history, Buddhism in the United States and East Asia, and religion and medicine. Her published articles include “Two Buddhisms, Three Buddhisms, and Racism” and “Meditation as Medicine: A Critique.” She edits the scholarly journal Buddhist-Christian Studies. She is also a priest of Soto Zen.

What a Beautiful World – So Why Do We Insist on Destroying It? by Gilya G. Schmidt

All human beings harbor prejudice – thoughts and possibly actions that are not informed by knowledge but are the result of ignorance. . . . If we are sensitized through education to the suffering that thoughtless or mindless speech and action cause, we are less likely to inflict suffering on our fellow human beings.

Gilya Gerda Schmidt, PhD, is Professor of Religious Studies and director of the Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her field of specialization is German Jewry, with related interests in Zionism, the Holocaust, and Israel. Professor Schmidt has written, edited, and translated eight books. Her latest is Süssen Is Now Free of Jews: World War II, the Holocaust, and Rural Judaism. She is currently the president of Heska Amuna Synagogue in Knoxville.

Peace Building at the Community Level through Interreligious Engagement by Jehan Perera

Faith-based efforts hold immense potential to create peace in Sri Lanka. With the moral authority to decry conflict and the social networks to mobilize support and public action, religious groups could spread the message of peace in effective and sustainable ways.

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 Sri Lankan Daily Mirror and Divaina newspapers. He was awarded the inaugural Sakai Peace Contribution Award by the Japanese city of Sakai in 2008.

Overcoming Islamophobia by A. Rashied Omar

Is there a global and hegemonic discourse that seeks to attribute violent acts committed by Muslims to Islam yet construes acts of atrocity committed by perpetrators such as [Anders] Breivik as motivated by political, economic, or cultural factors? . . . If indeed Islamophobia is a reality in the world today, how can we mitigate such prejudices against Islam and Muslims?

Imam Dr. A. Rashied Omar is a Research Scholar of Islamic Studies and Peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame. His research and teaching focus on the roots of religious violence and the potential of religion for constructive social engagement and interreligious peace building. He serves as the coordinating Imam at the Claremont Main Road Mosque in Cape Town, South Africa, and as chairperson of the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum.


Refining Our Hearts and 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).


Cross-Cultural Bridging for the Lotus Sutra by Malcolm Pearce

As an international advisor to Rissho Kosei-kai, the author gave presentations in November 2011 on Rissho Kosei-kai’s cross-cultural dissemination of the teachings of Buddhism, at the International Dharma Missions Symposium and a meeting of Rissho Kosei-kai’s International Advisory Committee, at Rissho Kosei-kai headquarters in Tokyo. The following essay is based on the two papers he presented.

Malcolm Pearce, PhD, is the founder and director of the Karuna Foundation, a lay Buddhist organization in Sydney, Australia, that seeks to promote an understanding of the Lotus Sutra in modern and accessible English. He also serves as a psychotherapist working with the New South Wales government in a supervisory capacity to improve counseling and psychotherapy services throughout that state.

Founder’s Memoirs

The Period of Skillful Means and Divine Revelation 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.

The Threefold Lotus Sutra: A Modern Commentary (110)

The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law Chapter 20: The Bodhisattva Never Despise (2) by Nikkyo Niwano

This is the 110th 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