Dr. Leo D. Lefebure, professor of theology at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., and a trustee of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions, visited Rissho Kosei-kai headquarters in Tokyo on July 1 and conferred with Rev. Masahiro Nemoto, director of the External Affairs Department, and Rev. Keiichi Akagawa, the department's deputy director (interfaith) in the administration building.
Dr. Lefebure, a Catholic priest, is a researcher in comparative religion and attended the 10th annual International Lotus Sutra Seminar, hosted by the Chuo Academic Research Institute, in Beijing in 2005. This year he visited Rissho Kosei-kai after an introduction by Dr. Miriam Levering, one of Rissho Kosei-kai's international advisors, to learn more about the Lotus Sutra and how the organization promotes practice of its teachings.
On the morning of July 1, Dr. Lefebure attended two monthly ceremonies marking the Day of Uposatha (when members gather for self-examination). One was held by Rissho Kosei-kai in the Great Sacred Hall and the other by the International Buddhist Congregation, affiliated with Rissho Kosei-kai, in Fumon Hall.
At the meeting in the administration building, Rev. Nemoto referred to the Rissho Kosei-kai Members' Vow, explaining their faith and the aims of their religious practice. He also explained the organization's interreligious cooperation for world peace and other peace activities, including the Donate-a-Meal Movement. He and Dr. Lefebure also discussed the challenges faced by Japanese religious organizations, the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan in March 2011, and Rissho Kosei-kai's relief efforts.
While in Japan, July 1-9, Dr. Lefebure also conferred with Dr. Munehiro Niwano, president of Rissho Kosei-kai's Gakurin Seminary, and delivered a special lecture at the seminary. In Tokyo he also visited the Minamitama Dharma Center and the Chuo Academic Research Institute.
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