Today, there are about 96 million Buddhists which belong to 75 thousand temples, centers for worship, missionary branches of mainstream Buddhism in Japan, according to recent national census held in 1998, and majority of them belong to either of these Buddhist's groups. Japan Buddhist Federation is the only federation of mainstream Buddhism in Japan, consisting of major Buddhist denominations and all prefectural Buddhist Associations and other Buddhist groups including 59 main denominations. The members of our 104 denominations and organizations count more than 90 percent of all Buddhist organizations in Japan.
Our Federation has its origin in "Buddhist Interfaith," which was formed to oppose the state control over religion in 1900: our organization has developed through "Buddhist Confederation of Japan" to the present Japan Buddhist Federation, launched in 1957.
The organization of our Federation consists of the Board of Directors, the Acting Board of Directors and Council which are responsible for the administration of the Federation, and the General Secretariat is responsible for running daily activities, and there are special committee to review specific tasks and objects in our Federation. These functions support various activities for the entire Japanese Buddhist circles.
Our activities can be divided into two parts: daily activities for liaison/information, exchange/study and training/promotion of mutual friendship among affiliated organizations; and the assistance of people in the event of disasters in local communities. Our Federation is a member of Japan Religious League, which is formed by the federations of Shintoists, Christians and New Religious sects, and of course, Buddhists; therefore, we get in touch with other religious organizations as well as in the negotiations with nationwide and local or government officials for public affairs as a representative of Buddhists. We also affiliate with the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB), promoting exchanges among Buddhists abroad, as a sole center of Japan.
"From the view point to respect the principles of "Freedom of religion" and "Separation of religion and state," specified in the Japanese Constitution, we engage in petitioning to the government and political parties the various issues such as the revision of Religious Corporation Law; submission of our opinions on the establishment of Information Disclosure Law; and the request of maintenance of non-tax principle for the taxation on the religious corporations.
There are various problems and tasks which we confront today, such as the drastic changes brought by multimedia development, the life and ethical problems concerning the brain death/organ transplants, the ways of funerals in a changing society, which are urged by the general public how the Buddhist circles deal with them. We hold various seminars on these topics and we also address with these issues in our monthly organ paper "Zenbutu" and in our Web site on the Internet. We are endeavoring to present various opinions and views on the issues so that the general public may deepen their knowledge and understanding.
We are promoting a campaign nationwide for the elimination of inherited discrimination against certain "Buraku" groups as well as for the protection of human rights. We exchange information on the activities of the affiliated organizations, and organize meetings to enlighten people to wipe out discrimination. We also engage in the research to clarify the discrimination of such groups in relationship with Buddhist teachings.
It has taken place more than ten years since the project to restore Maya Devi Temple at Lumbini Sacred Garden, the birth place of the Buddha, was planned, and we finally come to the final phase of the project. The survey of the archaeologists dispatched from Japan Buddhist Federation has completed, and now the negotiation with the Nepal side to implement the reconstruction of Maya Devi Temple was under way, based on the recommendation of the UNESCO.
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