3rd Unit : Study Meeting

3rd Unit : Study Meeting

Study Meeting and Field Work for Multicultural Coexistence in Bhutan

3rd Unit : Study Meeting

The 3rd unit conducted the "Study Meeting and Field Work for Multicultural Harmonious Coexistence in Bhutan" from August 23 to 30. The 3rd unit, which is intended to study the basis of thought for the society of multicultural harmonious coexistence, held this event with a view to holding a study meeting in Bhutan, inviting local monks to give talks, and conducting field survey of multicultural harmonious coexistence in local communities.

There were seven participants: Miyamoto Hisayoshi, IRCP Researcher; Nagai, IRCP Researcher; Hashimoto Taigen, IRCP Researcher; Horiuchi Toshio, IRCP Research Associate; Misawa Yuji, IRCP Project Research Assistant; Saito Akira, IRCP Visiting Researcher (Professor at the Graduate School of the University of Tokyo), and Inoue Tadao, IRCP Visiting Researcher (Professor at the Japanese Red Cross Akita College of Nursing).

At the study meeting conducted in English for two days, we had the Reverends Lopen Sonam Bomden and Lopen Gembo Dorji from Trashichhoe Dzong (a temple which is the king's office and head temple of Bhutanese Buddhism led by the Drukpa Kagyu school.)

3rd Unit : Study Meeting

At the study meeting, first, Prof. Miyamoto described the profile of IRCP and explained the aim of the meeting.

The Reverend Lopen Sonam Bomden, a Bhutanese monk, gave a talk titled "Spirituality and Happiness." The talk described how monks in Bhutan were contributing to the realization of happiness in the secular world and society on the basis of the principle that happiness in Buddhism consists of inner happiness. It was extremely interesting from the viewpoint of the harmonious coexistence between religion and society.

In addition, we had the Reverend Lopen Gembo Dorji, the Secretary General of the Central Monk Body of Bhutan, give a talk on the historical background of Bhutan Buddhism. He explained first that, under the tradition of mahamudra, to which he belongs, samatha and vipassana were emphasized, and then everyone at the meeting practiced susokukan, which is a meditation method focused on breathing. Active exchanges of opinions were made in the question and answer session after his talk.

3rd Unit : Study Meeting

Participants on the Japanese side also gave talks.

Prof. Nagai discussed the philosophical significance of samatha-vipassana meditation while taking into account the conception of "phenomenology of emptiness" of Francisco Varela, a neuroscientist and phenomenologist, and the problem of reductive movement from self-consciousness to self-affection in "theological phenomenology."

Prof. Hashimoto and Prof. Inoue gave talks and entertained questions from viewpoints of harmonious coexistence in a multiethnic society and of humanity and harmonious coexistence, respectively. PRA Misawa also gave a talk describing high interest in Bhutan in Japan. Prof. Saito made a presentation titled "Religion and Peace: Focusing on Buddhism," and RA Horiuchi made a presentation on Yogacara theory in Asanga's Mahayana-sa?graha.

3rd Unit : Study Meeting

Another major objective of this study meeting in Bhutan was a field survey for examining the actual state of Bhutan, which has recently drawn attention as "a country of happiness," and obtaining knowledge for "harmonious coexistence" of multiple cultures and religions. The visit and survey were limited to three places in western Bhutan and conducted in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, Punakha, the old capital, and Paro, the only place in Bhutan that has an airport. Considerable results were obtained by visiting many lhakhang (temples), dzong (literally means "fortress" but which are now used as governmental offices and temples), nunneries, and national monk schools during the period of survey.

This study meeting and the field survey in Bhutan were quite fruitful and will contribute to the acquisition and development of an international viewpoint and network by the IRCP. Much inspiration was also obtained concerning the harmonious coexistence of multiple cultures and religions, which is the topic of the 3rd Unit.