IOP Co-organizes Symposium with University of Malaya's Centre for Civilisational Dialogue
On October 23 and 24, the Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP) in Japan and the Centre for Civilisational Dialogue (CCDUM) at the University of Malaya (UM) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, co-organized a symposium titled "Intercivilisational Dialogue towards Peace, Harmonious Coexistence and Sustainability" held at the university's Academy of Islamic Studies. The symposium was sponsored by the Department of National Unity and Integration in the Prime Minister’s Department and was supported by Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) and UM's UNESCO Club.
The symposium explored the themes of sustainability, coexistence, gender and peace mainly from Islamic and Buddhist perspectives. Speakers emphasized that in generating solutions to the pressing issues of our times, it is necessary to uphold shared values and find common ground between civilizations.
In his keynote address, delivered in front of an audience of 400 people, former Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad noted that we live in a world where war is not a crime. He described how Malaysia has been able to avoid conflict with its neighbors through the employment of dialogue, negotiation and arbitration. He expressed his hope that the symposium would be a step toward creating an era in which war is outlawed.
In one of the sessions on peace, IOP Director Dr. Yoichi Kawada introduced Buddhism's contributions to inter-civilizational dialogue, emphasizing that individuals can contribute to lasting peace by awakening to their inherent Buddha nature and carrying out the Bodhisattva practice of non-violence and compassion. Associate Professor Dr. Syed Farid Alatas of the National University of Singapore spoke on establishing a genuinely multicultural society. He stressed the need to promote active peace as opposed to passive peace, and called for more opportunities to engage in interfaith and intrafaith (dialogue between the adherents of different denominations of the same faith) discourse.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) covering academic cooperation between the IOP and the CCDUM was signed by Dr. Kawada and Associate Professor Dr. Raihanah Abdullah, director of CCDUM. Dr. Kawada voiced his hope that this would be the first in a series of collaborations that could help lead to lasting global peace.
The Institute of Oriental Philosophy was founded in 1962 by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda and celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. It is dedicated to advancing scholarly inquiry on Buddhism and other world religions and examining social issues from the perspectives of Buddhism and other religions.
[Adapted from a report from Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM); photos courtesy of SGM]