News & Event


Engaged Buddhist Youth Leaders Respond to Global Challenges: International Engaged Buddhist Leaders’ Forum organized by Gakurin Seminary & International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB)

[Ome, Tokyo, Japan, April 12, 2023] The Gakurin Seminary and the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) organized “International Engaged Buddhist Youth Leaders’ Forum” on 11-12 April, 2023.

The Forum convened Buddhist youth from 15 countries, including Gakurin Seminarians to shape Buddhist responses to contemporary challenges such as conflicts, environmental degradation, gender injustice, and the misuse of Buddhism to incite divisions and violence. Mr. Dexter Cohen Bohn, Youth Coordinator for INEB, joined Gakurin Seminarians in Ome.

The Forum was opened by Mr. Somboon Chungprampree, Executive Director of INEB and Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, President of Gakurin Seminary, emphasizing the convergence of “inner peace and world peace” in engaged Buddhism.  In the session on “Buddhism and Peacebuilding,” Mr. Kanon Barua, 3rd year Gakurin Seminarian in the Honka Program joined youth leaders from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Cambodia, to discuss Buddhist Muslim relations, the importance of rediscovering shared values between two religions through interreligioius education and common actions around shared concerns.

The second session focused on “Sustainable Development and Buddhist Economics.”  Ms. Amika Ishikawa, 2nd year Gakurin Seminarian, presented the “Ome Model” which stressed four integrated elements: 1) Dialogue with Nature, 2) wholistic and integral human development, 3) interaction with local communities, and 4) sustainable and circular economy and way of life.   Other panelists included a Buddhist business leader from the US/Malaysia, a Buddhist Eco-temple project leader from China, as well as a US/Japan Buddhist permaculture practitioner.

On the second day, the third session addressed “Buddhism and Gender Equity.”  Mx. Phrai from Thailand shared his LGBTQ rights advocacy work, while Gakurin International Program seminarian Ms. Atasi Talukder from Bangladesh shared her work with female Buddhist nuns and lay practitioners in her Training of Trainers’ program in Bangladesh to help people oriented in the authentic teaching of Buddhism regarding gender equality and dignity for all.

Ms. Jesslyn Metta from Indonesia, Ms. Doreen Wang, Mr. Satoshi Motozono from Gakurin Seminary led the discussion on engaged Buddhism and interfaith action.  Doreen and Jesslyn have led the young Bodhisattva program led by INEB in Taiwan and stressed the importance of expanding the community of global youth Bodhisattvas for concrete action of service to humanity.  Mr. Motozono introduced his study and practice at Gakurin, including an interfaith dialogue on “tolerance” with Bishop Emeritus Gunnar Stalsett, former vice-chair of the Noble Peace Prize Committee, as well as his involvement in care and support for Ukrainian refugees through the partnership between Rissho Kosei-kai local dharma center and Ukrainian Embassy in Tokyo.

The Forum concluded by Mr. Somboon Chungprampree and Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, celebrating this new partnership between INEB and Gakurin, and urging youth engaged Buddhist leaders from across the globe to use their imagination and creativity to put Buddhist wisdom and compassion into action and find pathways to peace when peace seems impossible.

Related News

The Gakurin Seminary is a global training center for
engaged Buddhism and interfaith action.
Please feel free to contact us It may take some time to reply to your inquiry.