Back to listApr 30, 2009

"Dialogue between East and West" Symposium Held in Spain

On April 29, 2009, representatives of the Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP) of Japan participated in a symposium entitled "A Dialogue between East and West –Towards Social Cohesion and Harmonious Coexistence”, that was held at the University of Lleida (UdL: Universitat de Lleida), Catalonia, Spain. The event was organized by UdL and the UNESCO Association of Lleida, and sponsored by Soka Gakkai of Spain.

090522spain_lleida_sym.jpg Symposium at Lleida University, Spain

In his remarks, UNESCO Association of Lleida President Jesús Sans referred to the importance of dialogue in order to identify and gain greater understanding of humankind's spiritual values and to form bonds with each other.

Francesc Torradeflot, executive secretary of UNESCO Centre of Catalonia and head of the Department of Interreligious Dialogue, said that the Lotus Sutra exhibition was pointing the way for exploring the spirituality and the common ground of the East and the West. That was very significant in the modern world where the need for dialogue among religions was growing.

IOP Director Yoichi Kawada spoke about Shakyamuni's enlightenment and the ideas pulsating throughout the Lotus Sutra. He also talked about the role of Buddhism in creating harmonious coexistence among human beings. IOP Senior Research Fellow Toshie Kurihara spoke about women in society based on egalitarianism expounded in Buddhism and espoused by SGI.

UdL Rector Joan Viñas Salas stated that spirituality that encourages us to look into and deepen the human mind can greatly contribute to overcoming our common challenges and expand the wave of dialogue.

On April 30, IOP and Soka Gakkai of Spain representatives participated in a conference sponsored by the University of La Laguna at the Economic and Management Sciences Department Auditorium. Mr. Kawada spoke about the SGI within the historical context of Buddhism and also about SGI's activities for the promotion of peace, culture and education.

[Adapted from an article in the May 22, 2009 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]