February 28, 2011
Mr. Sulak Sivaraksa of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists, INEB to receive Niwano Peace Prize
The Niwano Peace Foundation will award the twenty-eighth Niwano Peace Prize to Mr. Sulak Sivaraksa of Thailand.
The presentation ceremony will take place in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, May 19th, at 10:30 a.m. In addition to an award certificate, Mr. Sivaraksa will receive a medal and twenty million yen.
Sulak Sivaraksa was born in 1933 in Thailand, to a family of Chinese ancestry. Educated in Thailand, England, and Wales in law and other disciplines, he returned to Bangkok in 1961. Sulak’s long career has seen him using his intellectual gifts to propel the concept and movement of Engaged Buddhism. Sulak has worked as a teacher, scholar, publisher, activist, and founder of many organizations. He has authored more than a hundred books and monographs in Thai and English.
To avoid undue emphasis on any particular religion or region, every year the Peace Foundation solicits nominations from people of recognized intellectual and religious stature around the world. In the nomination process, some 700 people and organizations, representing 125 countries and many religions, are asked to propose candidates. Nominations are rigorously screened by the Niwano Peace Prize Committee, set up in May of 2003 on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Niwano Peace Prize. The Committee presently consists of twelve religious leaders from various areas of the world, all of whom are involved in movements for peace and inter-religious cooperation.
Here are some comments by members of the Peace Prize Committee on the selection of Mr. Sulak Sivaraksa:
-Sulak’s is a voice of reason and ethics, speaking truth to power and highlighting tangible issues that touch on human dignity. His voice carries far and has influenced thinking at many levels. (Ms. Katherine Marshall)
-He sees Buddhism as a questioning process. A Buddhist should question everything including oneself, look deeply, and then act from that insight. He is among a handful of leaders worldwide working to revive the socially engaged aspects of spirituality. (Rev. Phramaha Boonchay Doojai)
– He is a courageous Buddhist activist, also he is intellectual enough to persuade people to promote the importance of social awareness among Buddhists all over the world. He is the founder of many organizations, including the Asian Cultural Forum on Development and the International Network of Engaged Buddhists. His work and achievements certainly qualify him for the prize. (Rev. Nichiko Niwano)
The Niwano Peace Prize
The Niwano Peace Foundation established the Niwano Peace Prize to honor and encourage individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to inter-religious cooperation, thereby furthering the cause of world peace, and to make their achievements known as widely as possible. The Foundation hopes in this way both to enhance inter-religious understanding and cooperation and to encourage the emergence of still more people devoted to working for world peace.
The Prize is named in honor of the founder and first president of the lay Buddhist organization Rissho Kosei-kai, Nikkyo Niwano. For Niwano, peace was not merely an absence of conflict among nations, but a dynamic harmony in the inner lives of people as well as in our communities, nations and the world. Seeing peace as the goal of Buddhism, Niwano devoted much of the last half of his life to promoting world peace, especially through inter-religious discussion and cooperation.
Past Niwano Peace Prize recipients are:
- Archbishop Helder P. Camara (1983)
- Dr. Homer A. Jack (1984)
- Mr. Zhao Puchu (1985)
- Dr. Philip A. Potter (1986)
- The World Muslim Congress (1987)
- Rev. Etai Yamada (1989)
- Mr. Norman Cousins (1990)
- Dr. Hildegard Goss-Mayr (1991)
- Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne (1992)
- Neve Shalom/ Wahat al-Salam (1993)
- Paulo Evaristo Cardinal Arns (1994)
- Dr. M. Aram (1995)
- Ms. Marii K. Hasegawa (1996)
- The Corrymeela Community (1997)
- Ven. Maha Ghosananda (1998)
- The Community of Sant’Egidio (1999)
- Dr. Kang Won Yong (2000)
- Rev. Abuna Elias Chacour (2001)
- Rev. Samuel Ruiz Garcia (2002)
- Dr. Priscilla Elworthy (2003)
- The Acholi Religious Leaders’ Peace Initiative (2004)
- Dr. Hans Ku?ng (2005)
- Rabbis for Human Rights (2006)
- Dharma Master Cheng Yen (2007)
- His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal (2008)
- Rev. Canon Gideon Baguma Byamugisha (2009)
- Ms. Ela Ramesh Bhatt (2010)
The Niwano Peace Foundation
The Niwano Peace Foundation was chartered in 1978 to contribute to the realization of world peace and the enhancement of a culture of peace. The Foundation promotes research and other activities based on a religious spirit and serves the cause of peace in such fields as education, science, religion and philosophy. The Foundation’s endowment of about 3.8 billion yen makes possible the Niwano Peace Prize and other activities such as grants, research projects, lectures, symposia, and international exchanges. The Niwano Peace Foundation is a government-recognized charitable organization. Contributions are tax-deductible.
For further information please contact Mr. Tadashi Takatani of the Niwano Peace Foundation.