ALL of Rissho Kosei-kai's activities are based on on the teachings in its basic scripture, the Lotus Sutra: Truth is universal and all religions are manifestations of that truth, all life springs from the same source, and thus all people are related and belong to one family.
The organization's dedication to dialogue and cooperation with other religious and nonreligious organizations is a natural corollary of the teachings. That is why, ever since its founding, Rissho Kosei-kai has sought to cooperate with other religions and work with the United Nations and a variety of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
In the late 1960s Rissho Kosei-kai began to advocate the Brighter Society Movement, a public-spirited undertaking through which the local churches of Rissho Kosei-kai cooperate with local governments, welfare organizations, and volunteer groups throughout Japan. The members render voluntary services, organize special events, cosponsor lectures for young mothers, and coordinate activities to strengthen community solidarity and improve the quality of life.
Since 1974, Rissho Kosei-kai has conducted the Donate-a-Meal Movement and the money contributed by its members through the campaign has been accumulated as the Rissho Kosei-kai Donate-a-Meal Fund for Peace and is utilized for its wide variety of activities for world peace.
In 1978, Rissho Kosei-kai established the Niwano Peace Foundation as one of the commemorative undertakings for the 40th anniversary of the organization's founding. Rissho Kosei-kai hopes that the foundation will contribute to the attainment of world peace through the encouragement of people of religion everywhere to cooperate toward this goal, as well as through the enhancement of cultural and educational activities based on the religious spirit.
Since 1980, the foundation has awarded the Niwano Peace Prize to honor remarkable religious leaders or groups that contribute to world peace through interreligious dialogue, protection of human rights, and conflict resolution. The foundation also provides financial assistance for religiously inspired research activities and projects concerning thought, culture, science, education, and related subjects.
Rissho Kosei-kai believes that true peace can come about only through cooperation among religions, organized groups, and individuals around the world. Members are dedicated to working for a world in which people of all persuasions will be linked by bonds of friendship. Therefore, the organization tries to lay the groundwork, through confidence-building measures, for mediation between those embroiled in disputes or who have conflicting interests so that they can find common ground for cooperation. Domestically, Rissho Kosei-kai promotes appealing to politicians and citizens for the need for political reform as its members' bodhisattva practice, aimed at achieving peace and prosperity in the nation and the world.
The Reason for Cooperation
We are dedicated to working for a world in which people of all persuasions will be linked by bonds of friendship. As the late Rev. Nikkyo Niwano said, "Interfaith cooperation is the mission for which Rissho Kosei-kai was destined." The organization thus has strenuously pursued interfaith dialogue and cooperation both within Japan and overseas.
Internationally, Rissho Kosei-kai is active in working with the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF), the World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP), and the Asian Conference on Religion and Peace (ACRP), and also closely cooperates with the Vatican, the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), and other religious organizations.
In Japan, Rissho Kosei-kai has been active in Shinshuren (Federation of New Religious Organizations of Japan) since 1951. Sixty-six religious organizations join with it and endeavor to achieve four main goals: implementation of interreligious cooperation, defense of religious freedom, separation of state and religion, and promotion of a religious spirit among people. In addition, Shinshuren has been taking steady steps for the abolition of nuclear weapons, the defense of human rights, and to find solutions to environmental problems.
Rissho Kosei-kai churches conduct interfaith dialogue and cooperation activities in many parts of the country throughout the year, as well as during the important Week of Prayer for World Peace in October. For example, in Setagaya, one of the 23 wards of Tokyo, the Setagaya Interreligious Association, which consists of 21 religious groups from Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Shinto, was established ten years ago at the initiative of the Setagaya Rissho Kosei-kai Church. On November 25, 2000, more than a thousand citizens came together at the association's Ninth Gathering to Pray for World Peace at the Hitomi Memorial Hall of Showa Women's College in Setagaya.
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