The Institute of Oriental Philosophy
   IOP Director 

Message from Akira Kirigaya
Director of the Institute of Oriental Philosophy

SGI President Daisaku Ikeda announced his plans to establish the Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP) for the first time when he visited Budhagaya in 1961.

He viewed the overall activities of the IOP developing in three directions. The first point was to expand research on the Lotus Sutra, which has been constantly inspiring Buddhist practitioners in East Asia for more than a thousand years. The second point was to conduct comparative research of Buddhist thought with other religions, as well as with science. The third point was to establish Buddhist humanism and pacifism to contribute to the solution of  global issues facing humanity.

The first point of expanding research on the Lotus Sutra was realized with the creation of the exhibition “The Lotus Sutra and Its World — Buddhist Manuscripts of the Great Silk Road.” Exhibits contained many rare items that became available to the public, including a manuscript of the Lotus Sutra which belongs to the collection of the Russian Academy of Sciences. A number of Japanese and European Buddhist researchers expressed their gratitude for this rare opportunity given to them to observe the exhibition. This exhibition was also held in Austria and Germany. Moreover, another exhibition, “The Lotus Sutra—A Message of Peace and Harmonious Coexistence,” was held in Hong Kong, India, Spain, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Brazil, the UK, Taiwan, Malaysia, Argentina and Japan.

The IOP has worked on studying and producing the Lotus Sutra Manuscript Series published by the Soka Gakkai. With the support of many professionals in Japan and throughout the world, we have also made research and commentary on various original Lotus Sutra texts that are preserved at the Lushun Museum, the National Archives of Nepal, Cambridge University Library, the General Library of The University of Tokyo, the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, the Société Asiatique, the British Library and the National Archives of India.

To realize the second and third points, the IOP has held joint symposiums with various universities and research institutes all over the world. The IOP researchers have also given presentations and lectures at related institutions.

Furthermore, the IOP has initiated research related to Eastern Philosophy and promoted international academic exchanges. In order to widely contribute to society and to create a peaceful culture in the twenty-first century, we also hold free lecture series, Lotus Sutra exhibitions, and publish journals and books.

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