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Buddhism

Back to listOct 7, 2007

University of Madras, India, Hosts Exhibition on the Lotus Sutra

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IOP Director Kawada (second from right) presents Lotus Sutra Manuscript to Governor S.S. Barnala (second from left) and Vice Chancellor S. Ramachandran (left)

On October 4-7, 2007, "The Lotus Sutra--A Message of Peace and Coexistence" exhibition showed at the University of Madras, Chennai, India. The exhibition, which was cohosted by the University of Madras, the Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP), St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG), celebrated the 150th anniversary of the founding of the University of Madras. Some 250 attended the opening ceremony, including Tamil Nadu Governor S. S. Barnala, chancellor of the University of Madras; Vice Chancellor Professor S. Ramachandran; and IOP Director Dr. Yoichi Kawada. Congratulatory messages were sent for the opening from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, founder of the IOP, and Professor M. S. Swaminathan, president of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.

In his message, Mr. Ikeda expressed his hope that viewers would grasp the Lotus Sutra's timeless message which encapsulates a philosophy of hope and happiness for humanity, and apply its wisdom to break the chains of hatred and violence and seek solutions to global issues that threaten humanity in the 21st century. Professor Swaminathan noted that the event's relevance as society was witness to growing violence in the human heart. He referred to the Lotus Sutra as the "king of sutras" that conveys a universal message of peace to humanity.

In his address at the opening ceremony, Governor S. S. Barnala said the Lotus Sutra was among the most important and influential scriptures of Buddhism, whose philosophy advocated peace, and ahimsa (non-violence). Professor Ramachandran expressed it was an honor for his university to be chosen as the venue for the exhibition of rare and valuable items related to the Lotus Sutra from along the Silk Road.

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The exhibition introduces the Lotus Sutra Manuscript Series publishd by Soka Gakkai; Ancient Uighur and Xixia versions of the Lotus Sutra; facsimile edition of Sanskrit Lotus Sutra Manuscripts from Cambridge University Library (Add. 1682 and Add. 1683); and other facsimile editions of the Lotus Sutra, presented to Mr. Ikeda by leading figures of the world. The same edition of the Lotus Sutra read by Mahatma Gandhi, which was translated by Hendrik Kern, is also displayed.

To date, the Lotus Sutra exhibition has toured several countries around the world, including Australia, Germany, Thailand, and Hong Kong. This is the second showing in India, since the first show in New Delhi in August 2003.

The opening ceremony of the exhibition was aired on Indian national TV and covered by nine newspapers including The Hindu. Some 2,000 viewed the exhibition during its four-day showing.

[Adapted from an article in the October 19, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]