PUBLICATION: Lotus in the Nuclear Sea

Lotus bind small

by the International Buddhist ExchangeCenter (IBEC) Yokohama, Japan
(in print November 1, 2013)

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featuring Joanna Macy, David Loy, Harsha Navaratne, Pra Paisan Visalo, Rev. Taitsu Kono (chief priest of Myoshinji Rinzai Zen), Rev. Tetsuen Nakajima, Rev. Hidehito Okochi & the voices of the Buddhist priests and social activists of Fukushima

Natural disasters follow an eternal cycle of creation and destruction, and sentient life has learned how to rebuild after mother nature runs its course. Nuclear disasters, being “man made”, follow no such cycle, extending into a distant future that imprisons life and prevents it from restoring itself. Lotus in the Nuclear Sea begins with the stories of the people of Fukushima and their unending struggles amidst the neglect of the Japanese authorities. The volume then documents the slowly increasing engagement of Japanese Buddhists to confront the crisis. The final section offers deeper reflections and analysis on the problem of nuclear energy by Buddhists from both Japan and other countries. This is the first publication of such an extended analysis of nuclear energy by Buddhists, including essays by pioneer Joanna Macy, environmentalist David Loy, Asian Buddhist development leaders Harsha Navaratne and Pra Paisan Visalo as well as Japanese Buddhist activists Rev. Tetsuen Nakajima and Rev. Taitsu Kono, Chief Priest of the Myoshin-ji Rinzai Zen sect. From touching the suffering of the people of Fukushima to delving deeply into the problems of nuclear energy to “quenching” (nirvana) the greed-anger-delusion of nuclear energy through building lifestyles and cultures of “sufficiency” (samtusti), Lotus in the Nuclear Sea takes us on a journey through the Four Noble Truths of nuclear energy.


In the West, order through

In Japan, contact the Editor at

In the rest of Asia, contact the office of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists at 

Review: Nuclear Japan and the Four Noble Truths (Kyoto Journal)


Editor’s Foreword: Jonathan S. Watts

PART I: Cries from Fukushima

  1. Security for Sentient Beings: A Mother Works to Protect Children’s Health and Ensure Food Safety – Katsuko Arima
  2. Exposing the Hidden Dukkha (Disease) of Nuclear Energy: A Buddhist Priest Devoted to Children and Mothers – Rev. Michinori Sasaki
  3. An Evacuated People Work for a “Genuine” Future – Masuo Nagasho
  4. Maintaining a Vigil and Hope inside the Nuclear Exclusion Zone – Rev. Junsho Shirae
  5. Caring for the Souls of the Dead and the Living from the Triple Disaster – Rev. Taikan Hoshimi
  6. Broken Families, Broken Health: Two Grandmothers Speak of the Ongoing Effects of Evacuation – Shizuko Watanabe & Keiko Takahashi
  7. Awakening to the Secrets of a Nuclear Society and Building a Citizen’s Radiation Monitoring System – Katsuhide Sakurai & Yoichi Ozawa
  8. The Unsurpassed Wisdom of Enlightenment and the Right to Life of Cattle – Takumi Sakamoto
  9. Rebuilding Family, Community, Region, and Nation amidst Nuclear Fallout – Rev. Toku-un Tanaka

PART II: Japanese Buddhist Engagement in the Nuclear Issue: Year 2

  1. Introduction: A Buddhist Roadmap to Engaging with Nuclear Energy – Jonathan S. Watts
  2. APRIL 2012: Protecting Community and Sentient LifeJapan’s Interfaith Forum for the Review of National Nuclear Policy Holds Fukushima National Meeting
  3. MAY 2012: Religious Leaders Call on Higher Power against Oi Plant Restart – Rie Yamada
  4. JUNE 2012: Japanese Buddhists’ Increasing Involvement in Anti-Nuclear Activism – Jonathan S. Watts
  5. JULY/AUGUST 2012: Fukushima’s Children Get Hang Out Time in Hokkaido
  6. NOVEMBER 2012: The Religious and Scholarly Eco Initiative (RSE) & the Religious Based Solar Power Generators Association
  7. JANUARY 2013: First-Ever Social Contribution Mega-Solar Power Plant Project in Japan to be Installed by Buddhist University, Government, and Corporate Collaboration
  8. JANUARY 2013: Rinzai Myoshin-ji Zen Denomination Creates “No Nuclear Support” Budget & Goes Solar
  9. FEBRUARY 2013: Taitsu Kono Questions National Culture at Symposium on Disasters and Nuclear Power
  10. MARCH 2013: Promoting Health Rehabilitation, Ensuring the Rights of Refugees, and Overcoming a Confused Understanding of the Separation between Church and State
  11. MAY 2013: World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP) Conference on Revitalization in Fukushima Creates Heap of Issues
  12. MARCH-AUGUST 2013: From Fukushima to Hiroshima … and in between: On the Road with the Dhammayatra of Life – Jonathan S. Watts

PART III: Buddhist Perspectives on Nuclear Energy

  1. For the Benefit of Self, the Benefit of Other, and the Perfection of the Two: Why Buddhists Should Be Concerned about Nuclear Energy – Rev. Nakajima Tetsuen
  2. The Three Nuclear Poisons – David R. Loy
  3.  Nuclear Energy Is Actually the Establishment of Self – Rev. Hiroaki Osada
  4. Deconstructing the Myths of Nuclear Energy and Building a Pure Land without Nuclear or Military Presence – Rev. Hidehito Okochi
  5. Fukushima and the Specter of Nuclear Power in South Asia – Harsha Navaratne
  6. Care, Conscientization, and Mobilization: What Buddhist Monks Can Contribute to the Nuclear Issue – Ven. Paisan Visalo
  7. Nuclear Power Is Incompatible with the Way of the Buddha: A Declaration from Critical Self-Reflection on Past Mistakes – Rev. Taitsu Kono
  8. The Promise of Buddhism in the Nuclear Age: Guardianship of Life on Earth – Joanna Macy

Afterword: Rev. Masazumi Shojun

Go to main page on Buddhism and Nuclear Power

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