Rev. Yasutaka Watanabe, chair of Rissho Kosei-kai's Board of Trustees, conferred with the Bangladeshi prime minister, Mrs. Sheikh Hasina, on July 4 in her office in Dhaka. Rev. Watanabe was accompanied by Rev. Shoko Mizutani, director of Rissho Kosei-kai International, and Rev. Norimasa Aritomi, minister of Rissho Kosei-kai of Bangladesh.
In February 2011 the Bangladeshi government sent Mrs. Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, deputy leader of the parliament, to address the youth conference of Rissho Kosei-kai of Bangladesh, held in the southern state of Cox's Bazar. The Bangladeshi government is well acquainted with Buddhism and Rissho Kosei-kai.
During their meeting, Rev. Watanabe thanked Mrs. Hasina for the Bangladeshi government's support and understanding of Rissho Kosei-kai. In reply, Mrs. Hasina said that her country has a cordial relationship with Japan and is grateful for the various kinds of assistance it has received from Japan. She also said the Bangladeshi government has protected the country's religious minorities, including Buddhists, and that in fact the commerce minister is a Buddhist. She said all religions are treated equally in Bangladesh and that she works for the happiness of all Bangladeshis.
Referring to the fact that the symbol of the Bangladesh Awami League, the ruling party, is a boat, Mrs. Hasina explained that since Bangladesh has many rivers, boats are vital to the people's livelihood. She quoted an Islamic saying that the world is like a boat for all people. In reply, Rev. Watanabe said Mahayana Buddhism teaches that all the people are passengers in the One Vehicle, and he emphasized the importance of the spirit of the One Vehicle.
Bangladeshi media covered their meeting.
[back to News Archive]