Monks form group to fight poverty, discrimination

Kyodo

Monks from different Buddhist schools in Japan and overseas have established a group to address poverty, discrimination and other social problems, calling themselves “monks without borders.”

“Normally, Buddhists do not have interactions with people from different schools, but I think we can unite through Buddhism. I believe we can go anywhere, like Doctors without Borders,” said Hiroaki Nakajima, 43, chief priest at Jokyoji Temple in the city of Kyoto, referring to the well-known international medical aid group.

The monk group is the brainchild of Nakajima and Eryo Sugiwaka, 53, chief priest at Hokkeji Temple in Kameoka, Kyoto Prefecture. Monks from India, Taiwan and Vietnam have reportedly expressed support for the formation of the group in Kyoto.

Sugiwaka hosts gatherings in the city of Kyoto to talk about a variety of subjects and Nakajima regularly holds discussions at his temple.