Back to listNov 17, 2012

SGI-Spain Hosts Lecture on Religion and Utopia; Participates in Buddhist Symposium

symposiumFCBE President Florencio Serrano speaking at the Nov. 17 symposium

In November, SGI-Spain hosted two events at its culture center in Rivas-Vaciamadrid, Madrid.  

The first was a lecture titled "Utopia in Times of Crisis: Where Ethics and Religion Meet" given by Professor Juan José Tamayo, director of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. The lecture, held on November 16, was based on Professor Tamayo's recent book Invitación a la utopía: Estudio histórico para tiempos de crisis (tentative translation: Invitation to Utopia: A Historical Study of Times of Crisis).

Professor Tamayo spoke about the role of ethics and religion in bringing modern society closer to utopian ideals. He stressed that the real meaning of utopia is a society where hope and optimism prevail, and these qualities are demonstrated by people's determination to positively contribute to society. SGI-Spain General Director Enrique Caputo also introduced SGI's peace activities.

Some 150 people attended the lecture, which was co-organized by the Madrid Community Interfaith Dialogue Association (ADIM), the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and SGI-Spain.

On November 17, the second event, a Federation of Buddhist Communities of Spain (FCBE) symposium, commemorated the 5th anniversary of the recognition of Buddhism as a "well-known and deeply rooted" religion in Spain by the Ministry of Justice in 2007. SGI-Spain representatives and their counterparts from 13 other Buddhist organizations were among the 200 people who attended the symposium, which also marked the 20th anniversary of the federation's founding.

SGI-Spain General Director Enrique Caputo spoke at the symposium's opening ceremony and introduced a message from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda. In his message, Mr. Ikeda emphasized that the promotion of the dignity of life and the bringing forth of the unlimited potential of each individual, both central tenets of Buddhist teachings, are the keys to resolving many of the problems facing society today. 

FCBE President Florencio Serrano reported that some 80,000 people are currently practicing some form of Buddhism in Spain and that Buddhist values and teachings are becoming more popular. European Buddhist Union (EBU) President Jamie Cresswell spoke about the influence that Buddhism has exerted in the field of psychology in Europe. Buddhism, he asserted, is now gaining recognition as a philosophy of empowerment that can be applied in the search for creative solutions to societal issues, such as in the fields of human rights and conflict resolution. 

Foundation for Pluralism and Coexistence (FPC) Director José Manuel López Rodrigo and Ricardo García, deputy director of the Spanish Ministry of Justice's Department of Religion, also spoke at the symposium.

[Adapted from a report from SGI-Spain and an article from the November 30, 2012, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun; photo courtesy of SGI-Spain]