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Summary and Purpose

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Project summary, research purpose, and specialty

Through the pursuit of "Innovation and Interdependence," Ryukoku University explores the significance of the Buddhist concept of engi ─ the awareness that all beings arise and exist in interdependence and mutual support ─ in diverse fields of study. The project now underway at Ryukoku's Open Research Center furthers this aim by seeking to design a framework for education and study that ponders the nature and the support of life. It conducts this research through initiating dialogue among various disciplines, including Buddhist studies, Shin Buddhist studies, religious studies, philosophy, history, medical science, education, and psychology. Based on Buddhist views of life and death, with a focus on the understanding of the Pure Land Buddhist tradition, this research project will provide an opportunity for self-reflection on death, the meaning of mortality, and the significance of compassionate interaction with others. The Buddhist concept of shōji (samsaric existence) awakens us to the view that all things are both transient and unique. It urges us to reflect on the fact that all beings have passed through a long process of rebirth to repeat existence in anxiety and suffering, and fosters a sense of unity by making us realize that every single life is mutually related to every other throughout the bounds of space and time. Further, the concept of "transcendence" points us beyond the limits of anxiety and suffering. One facet of this research will thus reevaluate the ideals of Buddhist terminal care (vihāra), in which medical care is guided by the Buddhist view of life and death that transcends the four sufferings of birth, aging, sickness, and death. Other units will explore, through comparative study, the Buddhist intellectual traditions of Asian cultures and their significance for the contemporary global community.