Sri Lanka's Religious Leaders Confer with President Niwano
Eleven members of the Sri Lanka Council of Religions for Peace visited Japan March 25-29 to meet with Japanese religious and political leaders in Tokyo. They conferred on efforts for interethnic reconciliation and peacebuilding in Sri Lanka, where a civil war lasting nearly 30 years ended in 2009. The council members were high-ranking leaders of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. Religions for Peace International coordinated the visit, and Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, its deputy-secretary-general, accompanied the delegates.
The delegates visited Rissho Kosei-kai headquarters on March 26 and conferred with President Nichiko Niwano, who is also the president of Religions for Peace Japan, and Rev. Norio Sakai, an international trustee of Religions for Peace International. Ven. Bellanwila Wimalaratana Anunayaka Thera, president of the Sri Lanka Council of Religions for Peace and chancellor of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda, explained the council's activities and organizational structure. He said that the council has 11 local prefectural councils, enabling the council to work at both the national and regional grass-roots levels. He also said that the council has been promoting interethnic reconciliation and engaged in medical and educational projects.
President Niwano said that Rev. Nikkyo Niwano, one of the cofounders of Religions for Peace, promoted interreligious cooperation in the spirit of the One Buddha Vehicle. He said he hoped to inherit the founder's spirit of magnanimity and cooperate with Sri Lanka Council of Religions for Peace in contributing to peace.
The delegates met with Mr. Yasushi Akashi, Japan's special representative to Sri Lanka, on March 27 at the International House of Japan and with Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 28.
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