Sulak Sivaraksa of Thailand Receives 28th Niwano Peace Prize

The Buddhist Channel, Jul 24, 2011

KYOTO, Japan  -- The Niwano Peace Foundation awarded the 28th Niwano Peace Prize to Sulak Sivaraksa of Thailand on July 23 in recognition of his contribution to a new understanding of peace, democracy and development and to environmental preservation based on the core principles of his Buddhist faith.

In a ceremony at Rissho Kosei-kai's Kyoto Fumon Hall in Kyoto, Sulak received an award certificate, a medal and a cash prize of 20 million yen.

Born in Thailand in 1933 to a family of Chinese ancestry, Sulak was educated in Thailand, England and Wales. He returned to Thailand in 1961. His long career has seen him use his intellectual gifts to propel the concept and movement of "engaged Buddhism." He has worked as a teacher, scholar, publisher, activist and founder of many organizations, including the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB). He has authored more than 100 books and monographs in Thai and English.

In selecting Sulak as an awardee for 2011, the Peace Prize Committee said he is "intellectual enough to persuade people to promote the importance of social awareness among Buddhists all over the world." Sulak's intelligent advocacy for the environment is another important reason to honor him, according to the committee.

Sulak said in his acceptance speech: "We must learn to respect nature and all sentient beings -- not take them to be resources to be exploited for short-term profit or gain. We must also realize that the latest scientific and technological developments may not always be appropriate as indicated clearly by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station."

Niwano Peace Prize

The Niwano Peace Prize was established in 1983 to honor individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to inter-religious understanding and cooperation, thereby furthering the cause of world peace. To avoid undue emphasis on any particular religion or region, nominations are solicited from some 700 people and organizations, representing 125 countries.

Niwano Peace Foundation

The Niwano Peace Foundation was chartered in 1978 to contribute to the realization of world peace and the enhancement of a culture of peace. The Foundation promotes research and other activities based on a religious spirit, and serves the cause of peace in such fields as education, science, religion and philosophy.