Panel at Turin Spirituality Event on "Wisdom of the Smile"
On September 29, SGI representatives addressed an audience of over 250 at the Teatro La Cavallerizza Reale, as part of the International Annual Conference on Spirituality in Turin, Italy, which brought together representatives of a wide range of different faiths and cultures for exchange and discussion over five days from September 26-30.
The overall theme of the 2012 event was "Wisdom of the Smile" and participants included philosophers, theologians, historians, writers, artists and scientists from throughout Italy and around the world.
Speakers on the September 29 panel on the topic "The Triumph of Humanity in the Buddha's Smile," were Vinicio Busacchi, member of SGI-Italy and researcher at the Faculty of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Cagliari and Suzanne Pritchard, representing SGI-Europe. The discussion was led by actor and director Roberta Lena who is an SGI-Italy member and a member of the board of the Turin spirituality conference. While Mr. Busacchi presented Buddhism from a philosophical perspective, Ms. Pritchard spoke from the angle of life experience.
Mr. Busacchi underlined a typical approach to problem solving in modern day society which often involves analyzing problems, seeing them as separate from our own lives, without reflecting on our personal role or responsibility in helping to find a solution. The Buddhist tradition, on the other hand, views problems or sufferings as inherent to our lives and necessary for our personal growth. The vision of the Buddha, which is that the human being is ultimately enlightened, gives us confidence that we can transform every aspect of our lives.
Ms. Pritchard stressed how consistent Buddhist practice and courageous prayer can radically transform our perceptions of the world, how we live, and our relationships with others. She also shared a quote from SGI President Ikeda as follows: "A smile is wonderful encouragement. In particular, the smiles, laughter, and vibrant voices of [people] brimming with good sense and wisdom are a wellspring of fresh vitality, inspiring others to forge ahead and win."
A question and answer session inspired participants to reflect on ways to deal with destructive elements in life and bring to the forefront the value of humanity and human potential. The conclusion was that a world based on the dignity of life would indeed be a world where everyone can smile.
[Adapted from a report from SGI-Italy; photo courtesy of SGI-Italy]