International Lotus Sutra Seminar Addresses Theme of Suffering
The 17th International Lotus Sutra Seminar was held March 6-11 in a convention center in the town of Ranzan, Saitama Prefecture, near Tokyo. Eleven researchers from Canada, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United States took part. Dr. Miriam Levering, an international advisor to Rissho Kosei-kai and a professor emerita at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, coordinated the seminar. Every year participants deliver papers on a different theme, and this year's theme was "Buddhism, the Lotus Sutra, and Human Suffering: Classical, Modern, and Contemporary Approaches."
The participants were Dr. Miriam Levering; Dr. Munehiro Niwano, dean of Rissho Kosei-kai's Gakurin Seminary; Dr. Michio T. Shinozaki, former director of the Chuo Academic Research Institute in Tokyo; Dr. John Strong, professor at Bates College, Lewiston; Dr. Sarah M. Strong, professor at Bates College, Lewiston; Dr. Taigen Dan Leighton, professor at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California; Ms. Jessica L. Main, instructor at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver; Ven. Dr. Yifa, former department head and dean at the University of the West, Rosemead, California; Dr. Mark Blum, professor at the State University of New York, Albany; Dr. Mark T. Unno, associate professor at the University of Oregon, Eugene; Dr. Melissa Anne-Marie Curley, assistant professor at the University of Iowa, Iowa City; Dr. Zhiru Ng, associate professor at Pomona College, Claremont, California.
On March 9, the seminar participants visited Rissho Kosei-kai's Kawagoe Dharma Center in Saitama Prefecture and attended a ritual. On March 10, they visited Rissho Kosei-kai's headquarters in Tokyo and conferred with Rev. Yasutaka Watanabe, chair of the Board of Trustees.
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