The Japanese Buddhist Conference for World Federation has issued a statement in which the organization details its official stance that it believes the Tibetan people must be allowed to choose the successor of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
The Japan Buddhist Conference for World Federation represents multiple Japanese Buddhist traditions, with members in Japan and throughout the world. In an open letter, the umbrella organization expressed support for the continuation of traditional Tibetan religious practices.
Reverend Eihiro Mizutani, secretary general of the Japan Buddhist Conference for World Federation, stated: “We, the monks of Japan, believe that Tibetan people must decide upon the next successor based on their Tibetan Buddhist culture and history.” (Mint)
The letter also emphasized that matters related to religion must be carried out in accordance with religious values.
Historical ties between Japan, India, and Tibet are heavily influenced by the Buddhist teachings. Buddhism arrived in Japan from Korea in the sixth century. There was a large population of Korean immigrants in Japan at the time, who brought their traditional Buddhist practices with them.
Buddhism was first adopted by the Soga clan, which had its roots in Korea. The spiritual tradition received official government support in 587 CE from Emperor Yomei (585–587 CE).
After Buddhism was accepted by Emperor Yomei, Japanese practitioners routinely traveled to China to study Buddhism in more depth, bringing their newfound knowledge back to Japan. Today, there are 84 million Buddhists living in Japan.
Buddhism was founded in India in approximately 500 BCE. At one point, it was one of the biggest religions on the subcontinent, but the number of adherents declined steadily over time. In modern-day India, there are relatively few Buddhist adherents.
Buddhism represents a long-standing religious connection between Japan and Tibet, which causes the issue of the His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s succession to be a matter of concern to many people in Japan. An office for His Holiness was established in Tokyo in 1976.
The strong ties between His Holiness and Japan was reaffirmed last year when the Dalai Lama shared his condolences over the assassination of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, saying that he was “deeply saddened” by Abe’s death. (Hindustan Times)
His Holiness went on to say: “I very much appreciated his friendship and support of our efforts to preserve our rich Buddhist cultural heritage and identity,” adding, “Abe truly lived a meaningful life in the service of others.” (Hindustan Times)
The Japanese people have supported His Holiness in various ways during his life in exile. They have provided financial aid, promoted human rights, and given asylum to Tibetan refugees, all in the name of religious freedom. Additionally, many international organizations have partnered with the Japanese government to shine a light on the Tibetan people and speak out in support of their religious and human rights. The people of Japan are outspoken in their support of His Holiness, recognizing his work to promote a peaceful resolution in the face of ongoing tensions.
‘Tibetan must decide Dalai Lama’s successor’: Japanese Buddhist Conference (Mint)
‘My friend’: Dalai Lama’s tribute to Shinzo Abe after ex-Japan PM assassinated (Hindustan Times)
Buddhism in Japan (Asia Society)
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