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To commemorate the anniversary of the founding of the Soka Gakkai in Japan on November 18, 1930, Soka Gakkai International New Zealand (SGINZ) hosted a special lecture by Peter J. Lineham, professor of history at Massey University, at its Auckland culture center on November 17.
The event also aimed to celebrate humanism. Some 400 people attended the event, including representatives from Auckland Inter-Faith Council, the Peace Foundation, United Nations Association New Zealand (UNANZ) and members of the public.
Professor Lineham spoke on “New Religious Leaders and the Challenge of Religion in the Twenty-first Century.” He outlined a set of profound challenges we face today; the problems of environment, of peace, of harmony in a world with deep divisions. He argued that religious traditions in the modern world need visionary leaders who can develop new ways of responding to current realities. Offering a comparative study of three religious leaders of today; SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, Pope Francis and, from New Zealand, the Right Reverend Justin Charles Hopkins Duckworth, Bishop of Wellington, Professor Lineham demonstrated how these leaders have drawn on the riches of the past, engaged others in a commitment to peace and provided a vision of the world as a single global community.
Professor Lineham also highlighted the necessity of respect and understanding in today’s world, and for people of all religious persuasions to learn to coexist.
The event featured Maori performances from the renowned Kapahaka Group of Kowhai Intermediate School, and contemporary musical pieces from the SGINZ Brass Band. The “Seeds of Hope; visions of sustainability, steps toward change” exhibition created by SGI and Earth Charter International was also on display.
[Adapted from a report from SGI-New Zealand (SGINZ); photos courtesy of SGINZ]
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