(TibetanReview.net, Apr19, 2014) – The Dalai Lama was given rousing welcomes during his visit to Japan from Apr 7 to 18 when he held prayer services, gave public talks and religious teachings, interacted with school children, held interdisciplinary discussions with mind scientists and met with people of both Buddhist and other faiths. His hosts during the visit were the Shinto religious organization, Koko Scientific Research Center of Kyoto and the Mind & Life Institute, and the Koyasan Monastery.
The visit began Apr 7 with the Dalai Lama joining Shinto priests for a special prayer service in Sendai for people hit by the devastating earthquake and Tsunami in Mar 2011, followed by a public talk on “Finding Wisdom and Confidence in the Face of Terrible Loss”. He called it “important to develop self-confidence to transform tragedy into self-determination and optimism to build a better future.”
He visited the Seifu Gakuen Boys School in Osaka city on Apr 9 and spoke to its more than 2,000-strong middle and high school pupils on the theme of “What one would hope for the young people to do”. He began with a reference to the Heart Sutra, which the children had recited just after he arrived. He also visited the Myodo-kai Lay Buddhist Centre where he performed a brief consecration ceremony and addressed an audience. Later in the day he visited the Rinnanji Temple of the Soto Zen tradition and spoke to devotees on “Strength through Compassion”.
Over Apr 11-12, the spiritual leader in exile of Tibet took part in a conference on “Mapping the Mind: A Dialogue Between Modern Scientists and Buddhist Science” organized by Koko Research Center of Kyoto University and the Mind & Life Institute. He also visited the Shuchi-in University where he addressed a packed hall made up of followers from all Buddhist sects in Japan.
Over Apr 13-14, the Dalai Lama gave religious teachings and an empowerment at the Koyasan University of Japan’s Shingon Buddhism founded by Kobo Daishi in 805. The sect is sometimes referred to as Esoteric Buddhism and the empowerment was on Vairocana-Abhisambodhi (namnang ngoenjang wang), one of the central tenets of the sect. Apart from Japanese, those who received the teachings included people from Korea, China and Mongolia, numbering a total of more than one thousand.
On the teachings’ sideline, the Dalai Lama had a separate meeting with some 100 Korean Buddhists who hoped the former would be able to visit them in their country. He responded by saying he was seeking a visit over the last many years but that the possibility for it had become “contingent on the Korean government’s political and economic interests and considerations.”He bemoaned that he could not visit a Buddhist country despite being a Buddhist.
The Dalai Lama gave another day-long set of religious teachings on Apr 17, with the venue being Hotel Okura in Tokyo. The 1,200 people who attended the teachings also included devotees from Mongolia, China, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea. The day before, he met with a group of 30 Indian businessmen based in the city, as well as with a group of Chinese. He also met with a group of around 250 monks and supporters of the Soto Zen tradition, a socially conscious group whose members function as chaplains to people in prison, in addition to their Buddhist practice.
In between, he gave a public talk on “How should we live our lives – Religion and Ethics in the 21st Century” on Apr 15, concluding his three-day visit to the Shingon Buddhist mountain town. A capacity crowd of 800 attended the talk, which was held in the Koyasan University Auditorium.
The Dalai Lama concluded his 13-day visit to Japan on Apr 18 with separate meetings with more than 100 Chinese from Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China, 50 Mongolians, and members of the Tibetan community in Japan.
This was the Dalai Lama’s 20th visit to Japan since his first one in 1967. The Dalai Lama’s Tokyo-based representative Mr Lhakpa Tsoko has said the visits have helped build a good rapport on Tibet with Japanese people, organizations and key government bodies and organs.