“The first principle of Buddhism is to revere with a warm heart and a flexible mind all things that have life. For that, it is essential to recognize the truth of transience.”
Nichiko Niwano is the President of Rissho Kosei-kai as well as the Niwano Peace Foundation. Through his work with Rissho Kosei-kai, Mr. Niwano emphasizes the practical applications of the Buddha’s teachings in daily life and engages in numerous campaigns to end hunger and poverty, support environmental activism and work for peace. He also serves as a president of the World Conference for Religions for Peace (WCRP) and the Asian Conference on Religion and Peace (ACRP).
Mr. Niwano was born in 1938 and is the eldest son of Rev. Nikkyo Niwano, the founder of Rissho Kosei-kai. In 1958, he enrolled at Rissho University, where he focused on Buddhist studies. After graduating in 1968, Mr. Niwano was appointed to lead the Dissemination Department and began his tenure as President of the Rissho Kosei-kai seminary.
At the age of 32, Mr. Niwano was chosen to succeed his father as president of Rissho Kosei-kai. He did so nearly 30 years later on November 15, 1991, after his father resigned. Since his inauguration, he has overseen the expansion of Rissho Kosei-kai: its membership has exceeded 2 million followers, and its 245 churches are found throughout the world. Mr. Niwano regularly travels to Rissho Kosei-kai centers within Japan and abroad, and works to ensure that at both the grassroots and international levels, his organization actively promotes peace and well-being through altruistic activities and collaboration with other interreligious peace organizations.
For over 25 years, Mr. Niwano has spread Buddhist teachings throughout Japan and around the world, emphasizing the necessity of enriching one’s own inner spirituality by assuming modest attitudes. He firmly believes in walking on the Buddha’s Way side-by-side with Rissho Kosai-kai’s members, and frequently lectures and delivers sermons on the wisdom of both the Lotus Sutra and the foundational teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha. Following in his father’s footsteps, Mr. Niwano strives to bring these transformative teachings to the modern world and to advance an agenda of interreligious dialogue and cooperation. To that end, he currently serves as Chairmain of Shinshuren, an interfaith organization dedicated to developing religious cooperation and freedom of faith.
Mr. Niwano is committed to interreligious cooperation through his work with the WCRP, ACRP, Shinshuren and other organizations. His writings published in English include Modern Meditations, The Inward Path, and My Father, My Teacher.