Symposium on "Modern Civilization and Philosophy" and Lotus Sutra Exhibition Held in Brazil
The Brazilian Academy of Philosophy and the Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP) held a joint symposium on "Modern Civilization and Philosophy" at the Brazilian Academy of Philosophy of Rio de Janeiro on December 1-2, 2010.
Guests at the opening ceremony included Academy President João Ricardo Moderno and former Minister of Culture Paulo Sérgio Rouanet.
In his message to the symposium, IOP founder SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, shared his view on the value of philosophical discourse that upholds the dignity of life and how this can bring forth the innate goodness in humankind, aid in resolving conflicts and bring about a lasting peace.
In his welcome address, President Moderno expressed his hope that the symposium would provide an opportunity to further strengthen exchanges between IOP and the Brazilian Academy of Philosophy.
The opening ceremony was followed by the first segment of the symposium titled "The Universe and a Vision of Nature and Environment." Emeritus Professor Barbara Freitag-Rouanet from the University of Brasília offered perspectives on modern philosophical views of humanity and the environment.
Senior Researcher Shuichi Yamamoto from IOP discussed the Buddhist principle of the oneness of self and environment and how this relates to the coexistence of humanity and the earth.
During the symposium's second segment, "A View of Life and Human Rights," Professor Nythamar de Oliveira, Jr., from Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, traced the history of the acquisition of human rights.
IOP Director Yoichi Kawada gave a talk on the shared humanism of Shakyamuni, Nichiren and the three presidents of the Soka Gakkai and how the fight for human rights, based on the dignity of life, is in essence the "Bodhisattva" path--a path for living beings aspiring to attain enlightenment.
The next day commenced with part three of the symposium, "Women in Modern Society," which featured a presentation by Professor Thereza Penna Firme, from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, on the power of women's social contributions in building an ideal society.
Following the symposium, IOP and Academy officials signed an academic exchange agreement.
On December 3, IOP and the Brazilian Academy of Philosophy co-organized at the Academy the first showing in Latin America of an exhibition on the Lotus Sutra. On display were Lotus Sutra manuscript series created by IOP and exhibit panels tracing the history of the Lotus Sutra.
Brazilian astronomer Ronaldo Maurão, Academy President Moderno and Dr. Kawada from IOP attended the exhibition opening ceremony. SGI-Brazil's Brass Band performed for the guests. Sponsors included the Brazilian Institute of History and Geography (IHGB), the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro State University (UNIRIO), the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Japan-Brazil Cultural Institute (ICBJ), the International Academic Support Center (CEI), the Folha Dirigida Newspaper and SGI-Brazil.
[Adapted from articles in the December 16 and 22, 2010, issues of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]