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"Enjoying the Rhythm of Birth and Death: A Buddhist Perspective"

Ikeda Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts

October 18, 2008

All photos by Marilyn Humphries

Read an article on the lecture here

Bateson and KawadaThe afternoon featured Dr. Yoichi Kawada (r) and Dr. Mary Catherine Bateson. The lecture built on themes found in Daisaku Ikeda's 1993 lecture delivered at Harvard University, "Mahayana Buddhism and Twenty-first Century Civilization."

Dr. Yoichi Kawada

Dr. Kawada is the director of the Tokyo-based Institute of Oriental Philosophy. He has written widely on Buddhism. A trained immunologist, he has addressed topics such as terminal care and death with dignity.


Mary Catherine Bateson

Mary Catherine Bateson is a cultural anthropologist and author of the best-selling books Composing a Life and Willing to Learn. She also participated in the Center's February 2008 event exploring the topic "Understanding Death, Appreciating Life."



Kawada lecturingDr. Kawada's lecture communicated core Buddhist principles and practices essential to meeting and greeting death with acceptance and joy. He emphasized the concept of engi (understood in the West as interdependence) and the bodhisattva orientation (concern and actions for the welfare of others).


Kawada and GebertDr. Kawada worked with Andrew Gebert, who interpreted the lecture from Japanese into English.


Bateson speaking

Dr. Bateson explored themes from the lecture, encouraging attendees to find correspondence within our Western culture. She drew special attention to the aforementioned concept of engi as highly relevant to the tradition of Christian love.

Small group discussion

Attendees shared their impressions of the lecture and commentary during a brief dialogue session.



Virginia Benson

Center Executive Director Virginia Benson moderated a concluding plenary Q & A session.



Audience member

Questioners were especially interested in how we can best establish connection with others in our highly individualized American society.




Full panelDr. Kawada observed that, for Buddhists, self-mastery is conducive to building positive and creative interactions with others.



IOP scholars

Dr. Kawada was joined in Boston by several colleagues from the Institute of Oriental Philosophy. They spoke at a conference at Wellesley College the following day.



Audience at Kawada lecture

More than 150 students, scholars and community members attended this public event.
















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