Italy: Focolare young people welcome a Buddhist delegation from the Rissho Kosei-kai
By Paola Pepe.
The most recent event for dialogue between the youth of Buddhist movement Rissho Kosei-kai and young people from the Focolare deepened their awareness, friendship and common commitment for world peace.
“All these years, wherever we’ve met, immediately the walls of our diversity vanished, and right away we found ourselves united with the same drive to want to work for world peace. This is also logical, since when our founder Nikkyo Niwano and Chiara Lubich originally met, right away they too found they were one, and for both it was a discovery to find someone seriously willing to work for peace in the world.” This is how Yoshie Nishi, vice director of the Rissho Kosei-kai’s youth branch, began to tell the story of symposia between young people from the Buddhist movement and the Focolare that began in 2008.This year’s edition, which happened at the Focolare’s international headquarters in Italy, had the theme “World peace starts from us: now is the time to step forward”.
“The world is divided in many places,” explained the Rissho Kosei-kai youth. “Refugees, poverty, economic difficulties, etc, and not just at a national level, but through out the small world where we live. On one hand, with the spread of the internet, you can create close links with the entire world, but on the other hand, poor relationships exist where conversations with nextdoor neighbours never happen.” There were many moments to share everyday experiences of peace: changes of lifestyle and actions that involve others and change reality positively.
“We want to move forward and always look to each other and the challenges we see in the world,” said Rita and Henrique of the Focolare to their Japanese friends, “contributing to reaching a world that is more united, fraternal, where we can have more peace. But it is a peace that does not exclude people who are outcast, but that makes other people’s needs our own in order to one day arrive at the goal of ‘No one in need.’ This is how the catchphrase that young people in the Focolare have chosen for the United World Week 2019 and for the course Pathways for a United World.” There was also real action in the symposium schedule: preparing and distributing hot meals at Rome’s Ostiense Station together with the RomAmoR ONLUS Association, which helps the homeless, elderly and immigrants. The Japanese delegation then participated in an au-dience with Pope Francis and experienced a day of sharing and in-depth study at the international centre of Loppiano, with young people at the school of for-mation and Sophia University Institute.