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January 30, 2021

Vietnamese Edition of Cox-Ikeda Dialogue Published

Mr. Ikeda welcomes Professor Cox at Soka University in Hachioji (Tokyo, May 1992)

HANOI, Vietnam: National Political Publishing House recently released a Vietnamese edition of The Persistence of Religion: Comparative Perspectives on Modern Spirituality, a dialogue between Harvey G. Cox, Hollis Professor of Divinity Emeritus at Harvard University, and Daisaku Ikeda. The same publisher has previously released dialogues in Vietnamese between Mr. Ikeda and other thinkers such as British historian Arnold J. Toynbee.

Dr. Cox, who played a significant role in support of the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr., served as a panelist at Mr. Ikeda’s second lecture at Harvard University in September 1993, titled, “Mahayana Buddhism and Twenty-first Century Civilization.” 

Both authors agree that the value of dialogue only increases as we become more global and that we should seek a path to promote dialogue that “embodies the fervor and compassion we all share as human beings.”

Vietnamese edition off Cox-Ikeda dialogue
Vietnamese edition off Cox-Ikeda dialogue

In their conversation, Dr. Cox relates his struggle for human rights alongside Dr. King, referring to the civil rights leader’s unflinching courage in the face of angry attacks and his ability to resolve difficult situations through non-violent resistance. Dr. Cox affirms, “Radical change in people is possible; we are not fated to remain as we are.”

Mr. Ikeda responds, referring to, the philosophy and spirit of the Lotus Sutra that elucidates the limitless possibilities inherent in the life of each individual:

“The Lotus Sutra further teaches that change in a single life can reform the whole environment. In the ways in which they lived, Gandhi, King and Mandela showed that, far from being petty creatures, human beings have the power to change the world.”

Their dialogue covers a broad range of topics for guiding global society toward peace through dialogue transcending religious worldviews including “Beyond the Clash of Civilizations,” “The Market Economy and the Role of Religion,” “Courageous Heroes of Non-Violence,” “The Age of the Internet: Interplay of Danger and Promise,” ““The Future of University Education” and more.

In recent years, Vietnam has achieved remarkable growth in their economy that has conversely given rise to concerns of widening disparities. The Persistence of Religion addresses what it means to live a life of value and aspires to convey to readers the importance of embracing a humanistic philosophy with hope in their future.

[Adapted from an article in January 30, 2021, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]

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