Back to listSep 15, 2007

SGI-Germany Cohosts Interreligious Symposium on "Life and Death" with European Academy of Sciences and Arts and IOP

Symposium on "Life and Death" at Villa Sachsen, Germany

On September 15, 2007, an interreligious symposium on the theme of life and death was jointly hosted by the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP) and SGI-Germany at the Villa Sachsen Culture Center in Bingen City, Germany. The event commemorated the IOP's publication of The Humanist Principle--Compassion and Tolerance, Compassion (working title), a dialogue between IOP founder Daisaku Ikeda and Professor Felix Unger, the European Academy's co-founder and president.

At the symposium, Professor Unger, a world-renowned cardiac surgeon, delivered a lecture on "Life and Death from the Medical Perspective" in which he stressed that the mission of medical science is to serve both patients themselves and humanity as a whole. He also stated that life is the most valuable treasure. He went on to argue that people can be better able to face the reality of death--which comes to everyone eventually--through religious faith and that discussing this most profound issue of life and death touches upon the very foundation of our humanity.

IOP Director Yoichi Kawada discussed the view of life and death within Nichiren Buddhism and the SGI. Former Professor of Graz University Karl Matthäus Woschitz commented on the issue from the standpoint of Catholic theology. Also other IOP researchers and Doris Sattler, a nurse, presented their research work. Among the guests from the fields of education and religion was Jutta Unkart-Seifert, former undersecretary of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, the Art and Sports.

[Adapted from an article in the September 21, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]