'Read These Parts for Hoza Participants'
In the summer of 1969 Founder Niwano visited the United States and Europe on a "peace pilgrimage" in support of the first assembly of the World Conference on Religion and Peace to be held the following year in Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital. In America, his health turned bad due to the tiring schedule and travel became difficult for him, but he continued the trip as originally planned.
When he was traveling, he almost always used to read Rissho Kosei-kai periodicals and newly published books. On this trip, as he rested on his hotel bed, he read in tears a report in the Japanese-language monthly magazine Yakushin by a young man who was leading a pious religious life while fighting a mortal disease.
In Geneva, he met with the Japanese ambassador to Switzerland at that time. During their talk, he handed the magazine to the ambassador saying, "This is a periodical of ours. I hope you will read some of it when you have the time." The cover looked a little soiled since the magazine had been taken out of his bag and put back in repeatedly during the trip. However, Rev. Niwano politely presented it to the ambassador saying, "There are some articles here I think may interest you," as he thought the contents were of value. The ambassador gladly accepted it.
In June 1978, Rev. Niwano addressed the first Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament (SSD I) on behalf of the World Conference on Religion and Peace. When he was leaving New York after completing his schedule, the local leader of Rissho Kosei-kai was in the car with him on the way to the airport. Rev. Niwano held up a book and said, "Here in this volume the essence of Buddhism is clearly and concisely explained. After I awoke early this morning, I underlined some of the important parts in red. Next time you hold a hoza counseling session, I suggest that you read those parts for the participants." Thus even in the midst of his busy schedule of meetings with important figures at UN headquarters in New York and elsewhere, he found time to read a book newly published by Kosei Publishing Company, an affiliate of Rissho Kosei-kai, and sought to convey its main points to local members of the organization.
Taking every available opportunity, he would read a great variety of things, and even recommend what he thought would be useful to others. This is one of the impressions I often received when I accompanied him on a trip - his eagerness to disseminate the teachings of the Buddha through Rissho Kosei-kai publications.
This series of articles was originally published in Japanese in 2000 under the title Kaiso Zuimonki: Egao no Ushirosugata.
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