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 SGI-Spain. It was held in conjunction with an exhibition on the Lotus Sutra at the Lleida Public Library co-sponsored by the university and the IOP.

090522spain_lleida_sym.jpg Symposium at the University of Lleida, Spain

In his remarks, UNESCO Association of Lleida President Jesús Sans referred to the importance of dialogue as a means to identify and gain greater understanding of humankind's diverse spiritual values and to strengthen bonds with one another.

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 of East and West and the common ground between them. He stressed the significance of this 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 the perception of women in society espoused by SGI based on the spirit of egalitarianism expounded in Buddhism.

UdL Rector Joan Viñas Salas stated that spirituality that encourages us to explore and enrich the human mind can greatly contribute to overcoming our common challenges and help expand opportunities for dialogue.

On April 30, meanwhile, IOP and SGI-Spain representatives participated in a conference sponsored by the University of La Laguna, Tenerife, at the Economic and Management Sciences Department Auditorium. Mr. Kawada spoke about 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]