Russian Academy of Sciences and IOP Host Joint Symposium in Moscow
On September 11 and 12, 2008, the Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP), Japan, and the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Russia, hosted a symposium in Moscow titled "Buddhist Philosophy in Multicultural Context." Leading Russian researchers and scholars on oriental philosophies and Buddhist philosophy presented their research results and exchanged opinions with their Japanese counterparts.
Founded in 1929, and with some 280 researchers, the RAS Institute of Philosophy is central to the research of philosophy in Russia. Institute Director Abdusalam Guseynov, noted philosopher and expert in ethics, stated in his opening address that it is essential for people to grasp an understanding of Buddhism in the 21st century and emphasized the importance of research to further clarify the ethical world view expounded in Buddhism. IOP Director Yoichi Kawada introduced the IOP's current activities and as well as its philosophical foundation.
In her closing address, Marietta Stepaniants, director of the Center for Oriental Philosophy Studies at the RAS Institute of Philosophy, shared that the institute hosts the UNESCO Chair in "Philosophy in the Dialogue of Cultures." Launched in 1992, the UNESCO Chair aims to advance research, training and program development in higher education by building university networks and encouraging inter-university cooperation through transfer of knowledge across borders. Listing nonviolence, tolerance to other religions, flexibility and comprehensiveness as notable features of Buddhism, she expressed her view that many people could learn more from Buddhist philosophy, which has a unique capacity to connect people from diverse cultures and religions.
Research papers presented at the symposium included: "Lev Tolstoy's Religious View and Buddhism" by Mitsuru Eguchi, IOP research fellow; "A View on Repaying Debts of Gratitude in Nichiren Buddhism" by Masahiro Kobayashi, IOP senior research fellow; "Buddhist View of Women" by Yumi Ninomiya, IOP research fellow; "Kamakura Buddhism and the Modern World" by Kenichi Maekawa, IOP research fellow; and "Lotus Sutra and Various Issues in the Contemporary Cultures" by Dr. Margarita I. Vorobyova-Desyatovskaya, an authority on the study of the Lotus Sutra and a researcher at the RAS Institute of Oriental Manuscripts.
[Adapted from an article in the September 21, 2008 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]