The Institute of Oriental Philosophy Hosts Interreligious Dialogue
The Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP) hosted an interreligious dialogue about Christian and Buddhist civilizations at the University of Sofia in Bulgaria on November 25. The event coincided with the 50th anniversary of the IOP's founding.
Participants in the event included Todor Dichev, former Bulgarian ambassador to Japan; Vera Stefanova, former Minister Plenipotentiary of the Embassy of Bulgaria in Japan; Vasja Velinova, director of the Ivan Dujcev Center for Slavo-Byzantine Studies at the University of Sofia; and Assoc. Prof. Emil Vasilev Ivanov from the University of Sofia. In addition, some 100 scholars attended.
In his message to the symposium, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda stressed the importance of this meeting which brought to light the traditions of Slavo-Eastern Christian civilizations and Mahayana Buddhist civilizations. He also mentioned the concept of "Indra's net," a Buddhist metaphor for the interrelation of all phenomena.
Following a message from His Excellency Dr. Lubomir Todorov, Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to Japan, lectures on the similarities between Eastern Christianity and Mahayana Buddhism were given by noted Bulgarian art historian Dr. Axinia Djourova of the University of Sofia, Assoc. Prof. Ivanov and IOP researchers Tatsuya Yamazaki and Yumi Ninomiya.
In 1981, Mr. Ikeda delivered a commemorative lecture, titled "In Pursuit of a Harmonious Fusion of Eastern and Western Cultures" at the University of Sofia.
Mr. Ikeda has held dialogues with Zhelyu Zhelev, former president of the Republic of Bulgaria, and with Dr. Djourova. The latter dialogue, titled The Beauty of a Lion's Heart, has been published in Bulgarian.
During the event, Dr. Velinova expressed her hope for Japanese and Bulgarian youth to continue creating a history of friendship between the two countries in the footsteps of Mr. Ikeda.
[Adapted from an article in the December 2, 2011, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]