Soka Gakkai International
Buddhism in Action for Peace
History & Philosophy
Stories and reflections on the Buddhist approach to life
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On February 22, Francesc Torradeflot, executive secretary of the UNESCO Association for Interreligious Dialogue, an initiative of the UNESCO Center of Catalonia, lectured on the Lotus Sutra from the perspective of Western culture and spirituality at the SGI-Spain Culture Center in Rivas-Vaciamadrid, near Madrid. The lecture, sponsored by the Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP), an SGI affiliate, was attended by some 150 people.
Beginning with an explanation of spirituality and religion as defined by the UNESCO Constitution, Mr. Torradeflot reported on the role of religion in Western Europe today and described the core values expounded in the Lotus Sutra and its relevance to modern society. Touching on values such as compassion and altruistic action, as well as SGI President Ikeda's philosophy of humanism based on the Lotus Sutra, he stressed the universality of the sutra as a teaching that encourages people to discover the infinite potential and dignity inherent within their lives. A question-and-answer session followed the lecture.
On March 23, also at the SGI-Spain Culture Center in Rivas-Vaciamadrid, the Madrid Community Interfaith Dialogue Association (ADIM) organized its tenth interfaith symposium to discuss religion's role in building a culture of peace. The one-day symposium, attended by some 100 people, consisted of lectures and roundtable discussions by scholars and representatives of various faith groups.
In her lecture, Manuela Mesa, director of the Center for Education and Peace Research (CEIPAZ) --part of the Madrid-based Foundation for a Culture of Peace--analyzed the root causes of violence and, through introducing women leaders who have stood up for nonviolence and peace, highlighted that creating peace begins with a single individual. Waleed Saleh, Doctor of Islamic and Arab Studies and Professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid, also lectured on peace policies.
In one of the roundtable discussions where participants shared their own faith's perspective on ways to create peaceful communities, Alicia Rius, a local young women's district leader of SGI-Spain, spoke about Nichiren's humanistic ideals and their implications in realizing world peace.
[Adapted from a report from SGI-Spain and an article in the March 28, 2013, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]
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