“Everything begins with dialogue. Dialogue is the initial step in the creation of value. Dialogue is the starting point and unifying force in all human relationships.”
With the unshakable conviction that true peace may only be forged in the hearts and minds of the world’s ordinary citizens, Daisaku Ikeda has engaged in dialogues with representatives from all realms of human society. These dialogues represent a search for viable responses to the pressing issues facing the modern world and an effort to promote confidence in our shared humanity. I
For Ikeda, faith in human beings is the foundation of dialogue. It is such faith that is the hallmark of his philosophy, and the source of his energetic commitment to peace.
This faith in dialogue is one that Ikeda has tested and developed over the past four decades in his meetings and discussions with hundreds of individuals–principal figures from around the world in the humanities, politics, economics, science, culture, and the arts.
President Ikeda with Vice President of India, B D Jatti, discussing about the correct way of life, cultural exchange and education; 9th February 1979
Ikeda’s efforts to engage in dialogue stem from his faith in the ability of people to cast bridges of friendship and trust across the seeming chasms of our differences and from the conviction that the accumulated weight of such endeavors will tip even the global scales toward peace. Dialogue, he asserts, reaffirms and reinvigorates the shared humanity of those who engage in it. It is in commitment to dialogue that we find the essence and practice of humanism.
One of Ikeda’s first extensive dialogues was with the late British historian Arnold Toynbee and was first published as Choose Life, in 1979. In this dialogue, the authors not only explore the ageless questions of life but also the most pressing issues of the modern era. Choose Life has since been translated into 28 languages.
“While we share different values, how far can we expand a common ground for all humanity through true dialogue? The important thing is how we can use the power of dialogue to bring the world closer together and raise humanity to a new eminence. In the present highly complex world of overlapping hatreds, contradictory interests, and conflict, even attempting to do such things may seem like an idealism that will only take us in circles. But . . . I am someone who believes that a magnificent and very real challenge as we seek world peace is to allow the civilization of dialogue to flower in the twenty-first century.”
Many of Ikeda’s dialogues with numerous world leaders have been published in book form. Some of these include:
Walking with the Mahatma: Gandhi for Modern Times with Neelakanta Radhakrishnan
Songs for a New Global Civilization with Bharati Mukherjee
Green Revolution and Human Revolution with M. S. Swaminathan
Space and Eternal Life with Chandra Wickramasinghe
Choose Life with Arnold J. Toynbee
Choose Peace with Johan Galtung
Choose Hope with David Krieger
Into Full Flower with Elise Boulding
Planetary Citizenship with Hazel Henderson
Human Values in a Changing World with Bryan Wilson
Before It Is Too Late with Aurelio Peccei
Human Rights in the Twenty-first Century with Austregésilo de Athayde
The Art of True Relations with Sarah Wider