The Institute of Oriental Philosophy
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Joint Symposium with the European Academy of Sciences and Arts “Life and Death”

On September 15, 2007, the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP) and SGI-Germany co-hosted a symposium on “Life and Death.” It was held at the Villa Sachsen Culture Center in Bingen City, Germany. The symposium was held to commemorate the IOP’s publication of The Humanist Principle—Compassion and Tolerance, a dialogue between IOP founder Daisaku Ikeda and Professor Felix Unger from the European Academy of Science and Art.

The Academy was founded under the spirit of promoting more humanistic science and arts. Since 1997, representatives from the IOP have attended symposiums on dialogue between Christianity and Buddhism as well as conferences among the four major religions that include Judaism and Islam, both of which were hosted by the Academy.

At the symposium, Professor Unger, a world-renowned cardiac surgeon, delivered a lecture on “Life and Death from the Medical Perspective” in which he stressed that the mission of medical science is to serve both patients themselves and humanity as a whole. He also stated that life is the most valuable treasure. He went on to argue that people can be better able to face the reality of death—which comes to everyone eventually—through religious faith and that discussing this most profound issue of life and death touches upon the very foundation of our humanity.
Also, IOP Senior Research Fellow Toshie Kurihara and IOP Research Fellow Taira Sunao attended the symposium as commentators. Among the guests from the field of education and religion was Jutta Unkart-Seifert, former undersecretary of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, the Art and Sports.

The symposium was divided into two sessions.

Session 1: “Life and Death from a Medical Perspective”
- Shinichi Kogure (IOP Research Fellow)
  “The Beginning and End of Life: A View of Life Focusing on “Respiration” 
- Doris Sattler
- Felix Unger (President of the European Academy of Sciences and Art)
 “Life and Death. From the Viewpoint of Medical Science” (German)
Session 2: “Life and Death from a Philosophical and Theological Perspective”
- Yoichi Kawada (IOP Director)
  “A Buddhist View of Life and Death—Responding to the Modern Civilization”
- Tatsuya Yamazazki (IOP Research Fellow)
  “Life Without Why: The Origin of Life in Eckhart’s Theology”
- Karl M. Woschitz (Professor of Theology of the University of Graz in Austria)
  “Life and Death: A Philosophical and Theological Study”

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