Daisaku Ikeda’s Philosophy of Peace: Dialogue, by Olivier Urbain

By Olivier Urbain

Who is Daisaku Ikeda? At one point, he's the chief of a spiritual movement--Soka Gakkai--which started in Japan, the place it nonetheless has its headquarters, yet which now claims 12 million adherents around the globe. At one other point, he's a globetrotting determine whose formal conversations with assorted writers, thinkers and diplomats--including Arnold Toynbee, Joseph Rotblat and Mikhail Gorbachev--have garnered him a world profile, in addition to educational popularity. maybe exceptionally else, Daisaku Ikeda is seen as a campaigner for peace. And it's Ikeda's particular contribution to peacebuilding, significantly throughout the relevant emphasis he has put on the importance of discussion, that this ebook explores: the 1st to take action in a concerted manner. Olivier Urbain exhibits that whereas Soka Gakkai (the ""value society"") might stem from the medieval rules of Nichiren Buddhism, below Ikeda's management it has taken those vintage wisdoms and reworked them. Now primarily classless and secularised, in addition to adaptable and delicate to fashionable demanding situations like source shortages and weather switch, this, argues the writer, is a practical method of peace which has proved either well known and eminently transportable.

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Sample text

Now there was only defeat, humiliation, poverty and the utter meaningless­ ness of it all. How were most people, including Ikeda, going to be persuaded that life still had some kind of meaning? In the collection of poems Fighting for Peace (2004b) mentioned earlier, Ikeda wrote: Eventually the sad news came – my eldest brother was dead, killed in action in Burma. While many were discharged and returned quickly to their homes, one year passed, and then another, before each of my three surviving brothers managed to return home quietly alive.

He describes himself as an ordin­ary person born poor and sickly, swept away by the war propaganda, deeply shocked at realizing the lies of the military and interested in litera­ ture and philosophy. This image, constructed through the literary vehicles of memoir, essay and novel, is consistent and matches well the documented actions of Ikeda over more than six decades. More than a literary creation, for me as a disciple, and for thousands of people who have interacted with him, the passages quoted above describe, as far as I have been able to observe, what he stands for and who he actually is.

Finally I can testify that what I have observed during my personal meetings with Ikeda, and the things I have directly heard him say, show remarkable coherence with the autobiographical information I have found in the works analyzed here. In summary, I believe that because of the internal coherence of the works, as well as the consistency with which certain themes appear, they can be considered as an important source of information for an understanding of Ikeda’s philosophy of peace. The systematization I am presenting in this book is mostly based on textual analysis of Ikeda’s works, and as a result the autobiographical writings mentioned in this chapter constitute an integral part of the material I have used to draw a coherent picture of his philosophy.

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