President-designate Kosho Niwano Addresses UUA General Assembly
President-designate Kosho Niwano attended as an international guest the fiftieth annual General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA), convened June 22-26 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. During the plenary session on June 24, Rev. Niwano gave a congratulatory address in English before some 4,000 UUA members, who had gathered from across the United States and abroad. Rev. Masahiro Nemoto, director of the External Affair Department, accompanied her.
Rev. Niwano began her address by thanking the UUA for its donation of relief aid for distribution by Rissho Kosei-kai after the earthquake and tsunami that hit northeast Japan on March 11. She said that when she witnessed the devastation of the disaster areas, she deeply felt the truth of the Buddha's teaching "All things are impermanent." She said March 11 marked a great divide in the lives of people in the disaster areas, when everything changed. On the other hand, she emphasized the importance of recognizing every person's will to survive. She stated that Rissho Kosei-kai members, many of whom are victims of the disaster, had shown kindness and consideration for fellow victims and dedicated themselves to helping them, and in doing so, found new meaning in their own lives and helped themselves.
She referred to the long friendship between Dr. Dana McLean Greeley, UUA's first president, and Rev. Nikkyo Niwano, founder of Rissho Kosei-kai. She said she was born as a granddaughter of Founder Niwano three days before the first meeting of the two great religious leaders, and that she had been fortunate to have many opportunities to witness their friendship and enthusiasm for peace. They called each other "soul mates," and formed a close bond of interreligious cooperation for world peace, which led to the founding of the World Conference of Religions for Peace in 1970. She said that as a result she now felt it had become natural for people of different faiths to respect each other and gladly join hands to work together. The legacy of interfaith cooperation, she added, was the two great predecessors' greatest legacy to future generations.
The plenary session was webcast worldwide on Livestream.
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