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September 6, 2010

Wahid-Ikeda Dialogue Published in Japan

Wahid-Ikeda Dialogue

Japanese edition of a dialogue between former Indonesian president Wahid and Mr. Ikeda

TOKYO, Japan: On September 6, 2010, Ushio Publishing Co. released a Japanese edition of Heiwa no tetsugaku, kanyou no chie (tentative translation: A Philosophy of Peace, the Wisdom of Tolerance), a dialogue between former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid (1940-2009) and Daisaku Ikeda. Originally serialized in the Japanese literary magazine, Ushio, from October 2009 to April 2010, their exchange began at the request of former President Wahid and is, as he described, an interfaith dialogue "to bridge Islam and Buddhism."

In the work, the authors examine the role and responsibilities of religion in modernity, identify values and visions common to both religious traditions and emphasize the need for both individuals and institutions of faith to work together in order to advance peace worldwide.

Wahid-Ikeda Dialogue

Former Indonesian president Wahid (left) and Mr. Ikeda during their meeting in Tokyo in April 2002

University of Indonesia Rector Gumilar Rusliwa Somantri praised the book, noting that it set an inspiring example for others on how to conduct dialogue for peace. As long as people continue to underscore their differences with others, he concluded, peace can never be achieved.

Mr. Wahid, who passed away in December 2009, served as President of Indonesia from 1999 to 2001. He assumed leadership of the Nahdlatul Ulama, one of the largest independent Islamic organizations in the world that helps fund schools, hospitals and other initiatives to fight poverty, in 1984. The former President and his wife, Shinta Nuriyah, first met Mr. Ikeda in 2002 in Japan.

[Adapted from an article in the September 2, 2010, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan, and other reports]