BIOGRAPHYDaisaku Ikeda is a Buddhist philosopher, peace-builder, educator, author and poet. He is the third president of the Soka Gakkai and the founding president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI).
President Ikeda was born in Tokyo, Japan, on January 2, 1928, the fifth of eight children, to a family of seaweed farmers. Growing up during World War II, he endured firsthand the suffering and devastation of war, including the death of his eldest brother who was killed in action in Burma (present-day Myanmar). This experience as a teenager gave birth to a lifelong passion to work for peace and root out the fundamental causes of human conflict.
Encounter with Toda
In 1947, at the age of 19, he encountered Buddhism through a meeting with Josei Toda (1900–58), educator, pacifist and leader of the Soka Gakkai. He found in Toda an open and unaffected person, a man of unshakable conviction with a gift for explaining profound Buddhist concepts in logical, accessible terms. He soon found employment at one of Toda’s companies and later completed his education under the tutelage of Toda, who became his mentor in life.
President Ikeda shared Toda’s conviction that the philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism, with its focus on the limitless potential of the individual human being, could help revive society in the devastation of post-war Japan.
A Global Lay Buddhist Organization
Although President Ikeda’s association with Toda lasted only 10 years, he describes his mentorship by Toda as the defining experience of his life and the source of everything he has done and become. In May 1960, two years after Toda’s death, President Ikeda, then 32, succeeded him as president of the Soka Gakkai. In 1975, he became the founding president of the SGI, now a global network linking over 12 million members in some 190 countries and regions.
The central tenet of President Ikeda’s thought, grounded in Buddhist humanism, is the fundamental dignity of life, a value he sees as the key to lasting peace and human happiness. In his view, global peace relies ultimately on a self-directed transformation within the life of the individual, rather than on societal or structural reforms alone.
This conviction is expressed most succinctly in the preface of The Human Revolution, President Ikeda’s novelization of the Soka Gakkai’s history and ideals: “A great inner revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.”
Peace, Culture and Education
For over 50 years, President Ikeda has worked tirelessly for promoting a culture of peace where differences are treasured and in which dialogue and exchange create bridges that link people’s hearts. Towards this he has founded various organizations which facilitate work on these ideals –
He is the founder of:
- Institute of Oriental Philosophy (http://www.iop.or.jp/)
- Soka education system (http://www.soka.ac.jp/en/index.html, http://www.soka.edu/)
- Min-On Concert Association (http://www.min-on.org/)
- Tokyo Fuji Art Museum (http://www.fujibi.or.jp/en/index.html)
- Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue (http://www.ikedacenter.org/)
- Toda Peace Institute (http://www.toda.org/)
He is a prolific writer who has published more than 250 translated works, ranging from commentaries on Buddhism to biographical essays, poetry and children’s stories.
For his leadership of such efforts, President Ikeda received the UN Peace Medal in 1983 and the UNHCR Humanitarian Award in 1989.
President Ikeda also began to engage in dialogue with political figures during the 1970s. This was a time of deep tensions between the superpowers, with the threat of nuclear annihilation hanging over humanity. During 1974 and 1975, he visited China, the (then) USSR and the USA, meeting with Zhou Enlai, Soviet Premier Aleksey Kosygin and US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in turn, in an effort to break deadlock and open channels of communication in order to help prevent the outbreak of war.
Among the individuals with whom President Ikeda has published dialogues are the British historian Arnold Toynbee, former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, theologian Harvey J. Cox, futurist Hazel Henderson, Brazilian champion of human rights Austregésilo de Athayde, Chinese literary giant Jin Yong and Indonesian Muslim leader Abdurrahman Wahid.
President Ikeda has been awarded over 377 academic honors (doctorates and professorships) from various universities across the world. He has in some years composed over a thousand poems alone–includes dialogues, essays, peace proposals, university lectures, poetry, children’s literature and articles. As of September 2017, President Ikeda has been awarded over 790 honorary citizenships from 29 countries and territories.
Daisaku Ikeda has authored or co-authored over 100 books. As considerable as his literary achievements are on their own terms, they are, in a broader sense, a reflection of his energetic engagement and accomplishment as a philosopher, an active proponent of peace and an educator. These are roles which President Ikeda has pursued amidst his responsibilities as founding president and leader of the Soka Gakkai International, one of the largest, most engaged and diverse lay Buddhist movements in the world today.
President Ikeda’s body of work–he has in some years composed over a thousand poems alone–includes dialogues, essays, peace proposals, university lectures, poetry, children’s literature and articles. “Writing is as precious to me as life itself,” he says. “My only wish is to provide a glimmer of hope, to light the torch of courage, for as many readers as possible.”
In 1965, President Ikeda published the first volume of The Human Revolution, which is regarded as his magnum opus (released in Japan as a 12-volume series; and in six volumes in the English edition). A novelized account of the founding and development of the Soka Gakkai lay Buddhist association in Japan, it contains this passage that describes the core of President Ikeda’s philosophy: “A great revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a society, and further, will enable a change in the destiny of humankind.”
President Ikeda has also engaged in dialogues on the pressing issues facing the modern world with leading thinkers, activists and leaders in a variety of fields, including Linus Pauling, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ba Jin, and Hazel Henderson, among others. “Choosing dialogue is itself the triumph of peace and humanity,” he writes. “That is why I have met, as one human being to another, with all kinds of people, transcending differences of nationality, ethnicity, religion, ideology, generation, gender and social position.”
One of President Ikeda’s first extensive dialogues of this sort was with the late British historian Arnold Toynbee and was first published as Choose Life, in 1979. In it, 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.
Another of President Ikeda’s literary focuses has been literature for young children–a genre in which he first honed his writing talents as editor of a children’s magazine while in his early twenties. President Ikeda’s children’s stories have been translated into numerous languages, having been introduced to the world outside Japan through the talents of acclaimed artists such as British illustrator of children’s literature Brian Wildsmith. Several have been made into animated films and applauded for their positive influence on young viewers.
President Ikeda has also earned recognition for his poetry. In 1981, he was awarded the title of “Poet Laureate” by the World Academy of Arts and Culture. One collection of poetry translated into English, Fighting for Peace, was also a finalist in the 2005 Benjamin Franklin Awards’ Poetry and Literary Criticism category. The World Poetry Society Intercontinental awarded him the title, “World People’s Poet” in October 2007.
As a young teenager amidst the turmoil following Japan’s defeat in 1945, President Ikeda read voraciously, searching for answers to the spiritual void rent by the war. It was through poetry that he began to express his quest and to give voice to his emotions. He joined a reading circle comprised of some 20 other youths on a similar quest for truth. It was through this group that he encountered Toda in 1947 and through him, Nichiren Buddhism.
“I had long cherished the dream of becoming a journalist and writing a great novel myself, and I wanted to work in a field related to writing, which led me to my job at Mr. Toda’s [publishing] company,” he recalls.www.daisakuikeda.org
Some of his major works (in alphabetical order) that have been translated into English are:
- Discussions on Youth (World Tribune Press, 2010)
- The Flower of Chinese Buddhism (Middleway Press, 2009)
- Buddhism, the First Millennium (Middleway Press, 2009)
- Embracing the Future (The Japan Times, 2008)
- The Living Buddha (Middleway Press, 2008)
- Fighting for Peace (Creative Arts Book Company, 2004)
- One by One (Dunhill Publishing, 2004)
- Unlocking the Mysteries of Birth and Death (Middleway Press, 1982, 2003)
- For the Sake of Peace—Seven Paths to Global Harmony: A Buddhist Perspective (Middleway Press, 2001)
- Soka Education: A Buddhist Vision for Teachers, Students and Parents (Middleway Press, 2001)
- The Way of Youth (Middleway Press, 2000)
- A Youthful Diary: One man’s journey from the beginning of faith to worldwide leadership for peace (World Tribune Press, 2000)
- The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra I -VI (World Tribune Press, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003)
- Kanta and the Deer (Weatherhill, 1997)
- The Cherry Tree (Alfred A. Knopf, 1992)
- Life: An Enigma, a Precious Jewel (Kodansha International, 1982)
- The New Human Revolution (an ongoing series) (World Tribune Press, 1995-)
- Over the Deep Blue Sea (Treasure Tower Books, 2013)
- The Princess and the Moon (Alfred A. Knopf, 1991)
- The Snow Country Prince (Alfred A. Knopf, 1991)
- Glass Children and Other Essays (Kodansha International, 1979)
- Songs from My Heart (Weatherhill, 1978, rept 1997)
- The Human Revolution Vol. 1-6 (Weatherhill, 1972-1999)
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 the representatives of all realms of human society.
For President 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 President 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’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 endeavours 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 President 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.” — Daisaku Ikeda
Read more: www.daisakuikeda.org
President Ikeda has since carried out discussions with leaders of various fields around the world, many of which have been published. A few of them are:
- Choose Peace with Johan Galtung (Pluto Press, 1995)
- Space and Eternal Life with Chandra Wickramasinghe (Journeyman Press, 1998)
- Choose Hope: Your Role in Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age with David Krieger (Middleway Press, 2002)
- Global Civilization: A Buddhist-Islamic Dialogue with Majid Tehranian (British Academic Press, 2003)
- On Being Human: Where Ethics, Medicine, and Spirituality Converge, with René Simard and Guy Bourgeault (Middleway Press, 2003)
- Planetary Citizenship: Your Values, Beliefs and Actions Can Shape a Sustainable World with Hazel Henderson (Middleway Press, 2004)
- Revolutions: to Green the Environment, To Grow the Human Heart with M. S. Swaminathan (EastWest Books, [Madras] 2005)
- Moral Lessons of the Twentieth Century: Gorbachev and Ikeda on Buddhism and Communism with Mikhail Gorbachev (I.B. Tauris, 2005)
- Choose Life: A Dialogue with Arnold J. Toynbee (Oxford University Press, 1976; I.B. Tauris, 2007)
- Dawn After Dark with René Huyghe (Weatherhill, 1991; I.B. Tauris, 2007)
- A Quest for Global Peace: Rotblat and Ikeda on War, Ethics and the Nuclear Threat with Joseph Rotblat (I.B. Tauris, 2007)
- Human Values in a Changing World: A Dialogue on the Social Role of Religion with Bryan Wilson (Lyle Stuart, 1987; I.B. Tauris, 2008)
- Search for a New Humanity: A Dialogue with Josef Derbolav (I.B. Tauris, 2008)
- A Dialogue between East and West — Looking to a Human Revolution with Ricardo Díez-Hochleitner (I.B. Tauris, 2008)
- A Lifelong Quest for Peace: A Dialogue with Linus Pauling (Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 1992; I.B. Tauris, 2009)
- A Passage to Peace: Global Solutions from East and West with Nur Yalman (I.B. Tauris, 2009)
- Ode to the Grand Spirit with Chingiz Aitmatov (I.B. Tauris, 2009)
- Human Rights in the Twenty-first Century with Austregésilo de Athayde (I.B. Tauris, 2009)
- Creating Waldens: An East-West Conversation on the American Renaissance with Ronald A. Bosco and Joel Myerson (Dialogue Path Press, 2009)
- The Persistence of Religion: Comparative Perspectives on Modern Spirituality with Harvey G. Cox (I.B. Tauris, 2009)
- Buddhism: A Way of Values with Lokesh Chandra (Eternal Ganges Press, 2009)
- Before It Is Too Late: A Dialogue with Aurelio Peccei (I.B. Tauris, 2009)
- Into Full Flower: Making Peace Cultures Happen with Elise Boulding (Dialogue Path Press, 2010)
- New Horizons in Eastern Humanism: Buddhism, Confucianism and the Quest for Global Peace with Tu Weiming (I.B. Tauris, 2011)
- America Will Be! Conversations on Hope, Freedom and Democracy with Vincent Harding (Dialogue Path Press, 2013)
- The Inner Philosopher: Conversations on Philosophy’s Transformative Power with Lou Marinoff (Dialogue Path Press, 2012)
- The Art of True Relations: Conversations on the Poetic Heart of Human Possibility with Sarah Wider (Dialogue Path Press, 2014)
- Reaching Beyond: Improvisations on Jazz, Buddhism, and a Joyful Life with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter (World Tribune Press in association with Dialogue Path Press, 2017)
- Living As Learning: John Dewey in the 21st Century with Jim Garrison and Larry Hickman (Dialogue Path Press, 2014)
- Walking with the Mahatma: Gandhi for Modern Times with Neelakanta Radhakrishnan (Eternal Ganges Press, 2015)
Awards and Commendations
IFUNA Peace Award
23 October 2010
The Indian Federation of United Nations Associations (IFUNA) conferred its first Peace and International Understanding Award on President Ikeda at a ceremony held at Hotel Ashok in New Delhi on 23 October 2010. SGI Representative in India, Dr Akash K Ouchi, received the award on behalf of President Ikeda. The award was conferred on President Ikeda for his “innumerable contributions to global peace and unflagging support to the UN, apart from his efforts to foster a culture of peace through building ties of friendship and solidarity amidst countries across the globe based on respect and mutual dialogue.”
Jamnalal Bajaj International Award
4 November 2005
President Ikeda was conferred the award by the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation in recognition of his efforts to promote Gandhian values outside India. The accolade was conferred in a ceremony held at the Yashwantrao Chavan Centre in Mumbai. Nobel Economics Prize laureate Prof. Amartya Sen delivered the citation and award trophy to Bharat Soka Gakkai Deputy Director-General Dr Akash Ouchi, who accepted the honor on President Ikeda’s behalf.
Mahavira-Mahatma Award, Times Foundation
20 April 2005
The “Oneness Forum” of the Times Foundation bestowed the award on President Ikeda at a special function in Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi. Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda received the award on behalf of President Ikeda from Ms Ind u Jain, Chairperson of the Times Foundation. Mr Hiromasa Ikeda read out Dr Daisaku Ikeda’s acceptance speech and said, “Given the greatness of the two giants whose names adorn this award, its recipient bears an enormous weight of expectation for he or she must be actively engaged in the worthiest of endeavors to establish lasting peace for humanity.” The purpose of the Oneness Forum is to unite global humanitarian organizations for collective actions to save and transform mankind by social, political and spiritual awakening.
Mahatma Award from Soka Ikeda College, Chennai
16 September 2001
The award was presented by the College President Sethu Bhaskaran and Chairman Sethu Kumanan at an alumni gathering of the Tokyo Soka Junior and Senior High School campus in Kodaira, Tokyo. President Ikeda was cited for his dedication to opening new horizons for the future by emphasising human rights and the sanctity of life. At the conferral ceremony, Dr Kumanan read a poem extolling President Ikeda’s untiring pursuit of peace and his spirit of tolerance and love for humanity. He also presented a memento to Mrs Ikeda at the ceremony to express appreciation on behalf of the school. Dr Kumanan was been inspired to make President Ikeda his mentor of life after reading his poem ‘Mother’. Wishing to dedicate something to his mentor, he founded the Soka Ikeda College for Arts and Science for Women, because of President Ikeda’s high praise for, and unstinting support of women.
VBS Purvanchal University Confers Award of Honour
1 March 2001
President Ikeda was conferred the award in recognition of his wide-ranging efforts for education. This presentation was made in conjunction with the university’s graduation ceremony officiated by Uttar Pradesh Governor and University Chancellor Mr Vishnu Kant Shastri, in the presence of Vice Chancellor Prem Chand Patanjali and distinguished guests. Prof. Takagi of Soka University accepted the honor on behalf of SGI President Ikeda.
Tagore Peace Award
23 October 1997
The Asiatic Society of India presented the award to President Ikeda at a special ceremony at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. President Ikeda is the first recipient of the award and was honored for his creative contribution to the development of human understanding towards peace.
The award was presented by Asiatic Society General Secretary Amalendu De and Vice President Manabend Bannerjee. The Asiatic Society has instituted the Tagore Peace Award to promote peace based on the lofty ideals of humanism and pacifism upheld by the esteemed Bengali poet and first Asian recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Rabindranath Tagore. Accepting the citation and statuette, President Ikeda expressed his heartfelt resonance with the philosophy and spirit of Tagore and pledged to perpetuate the poet’s legacy and create bonds of friendship throughout the world and plant seeds of peace in the hearts of youth.
Gandhi Peace Award
12 August 1995
President Ikeda was conferred the Gandhi Peace Award by the Mahatma Gandhi People’s Welfare Trust on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Soka Gakkai Vice President Yoichi Kawada received the award on behalf of President Ikeda at a ceremony at Ramachandran Memorial Hall, Neyyattinkara, Kerala. Director of the Trust, Dr N Radhakrishnan said, “President Ikeda, whose activities for global peace arise from his humanistic convictions, has inherited the spirit of Gandhi and [Gandhi’s disciple] Dr Ramachandran in this age.” Managing Trustee Dr Mythili presented the Gandhi Peace Award, a copper plaque engraved with the Mahatma’s image.
ICDO Commemorative Shield
3 August 1994
In recognition of President Ikeda’s outstanding contribution to the promotion of India-Japan friendship and bilateral cultural exchange, the International Cultural Development Organisation conferred its Commemorative Shield on President Ikeda. Soka Gakkai Vice President Yoichi Kawada accepted the shield from the Union Minister of Planning and Program Implementation, Giridhar Gomango, on behalf of President Ikeda. The ceremony was held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. ICDO Secretary General RS Varma said President Ikeda is a citizen of the world who has made remarkable efforts to promote exchange between youth in India and Japan.
First Global Peace Award for International Understanding
19 September 1993
Priyadarshini Academy, an Indian socio-cultural and educational organization, conferred this award on President Ikeda for his tireless contributions to world peace. President Ikeda is the first non-resident recipient of this award from the Indian academy. The award certificate and trophy was accepted by Soka Gakkai Vice President Yoichi Kawada on behalf of President Ikeda at a ceremony at Oberoi Towers, Mumbai. In his message, President Ikeda praised the vital contributions the academy has made in the fields of culture and education, and pledged to continue his efforts to promote international understanding and cultural exchange towards the creation of lasting world peace.
Bharat Mitra Award
22 November 1992
The International Cultural Development Organisation (ICDO) presented the award to President Ikeda at Soka International Friendship Centre in Tokyo. The award was conferred in recognition of his efforts to promote goodwill and closer relations with India.
Global Consciousness Award
16 February 1992
President Ikeda received the Global Consciousness Award from the International Centre for Science, Culture and Consciousness at a ceremony at the Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi. In his acceptance speech President Ikeda said that to create a new world we have to stop focusing on ideologies, political structures of ethnic groups, and return to the point of origination, that is, the human being. The award is conferred on individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of global awareness.
Prof. Raghuvira Award
7 December 1990
The International Academy of Indian Culture conferred the Prof. Raghuvira Award on President Ikeda at Nehru Memorial Auditorium. On behalf of President Ikeda, Mr Hiromasa Ikeda received the award from Dr Karan Singh and read out President Ikeda’s message. In 1963, Prof. Raghuvira – an internationally recognized authority on Sanskrit and the Vedas – founded the International Academy of Indian Culture, the nation’s most prestigious institute for the study of Buddhism. His son, Dr Lokesh Chandra, instituted the award in memory of his father. The award is conferred on individuals who have enhanced the values of the Lotus Sutra in the contemporary world.
Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial ICDO International Award
6 December 1990
At a special ceremony held in the Parliament Annex, New Delhi the International Cultural Development Organisation conferred the award on President Ikeda. On behalf of President Ikeda, Mr Hiromasa Ikeda received the award from Vice President SD Sharma and read out the message. The award is bestowed on persons who are recognized for their unwavering commitment to the promotion of culture and the enhancement of moral and ethical values.
Anuvrat Award for International Peace
6 December 1988
In recognition of his untiring efforts to promote world peace in accordance with the universal principle of the dignity of life, the Anuvrat Global Organisation conferred the Anuvrat Award on President Ikeda. The Anuvrat Global Organisation was established in 1983 to promote world peace. The Anuvrat Award, first conferred in 1987, is bestowed on persons recognized internationally for their firm commitment to nonviolence and peace.
G Ramachandran Award
7 January 1987
The National Centre for Development Education presented the G Ramachandran Award for International Understanding to President Ikeda. The award was conferred in recognition of President Ikeda’s endeavors to promote world peace, culture and education.
SGI President Daisaku Ikeda has been the recipient of over 377 academic honors from 58 countries. The awards from India are as follows:
St. Stephens College Confers a Citation of Merit on President Ikeda, New Delhi
07 December 2017
On 7th of December, 2017 on the occasion of its Founder’s Day, the prestigious St Stephens College of Delhi University conferred a Citation of Merit on SGI President Dr Daisaku Ikeda. The citation praised President Ikeda’s sustained efforts to “improve the quality of human life” create “a better world,” “fostered and encouraged through education”, dialogue for peace, “respect for spiritual values” and most of all “as exemplified in his own life”. It also recognised Sensei’s efforts to build “a partnership between St Stephens College and Soka University and promote a better understanding of India in Japan”. Read More…
Barkatullah University, Bhopal
22 January 2016
On 22 January 2016, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda was conferred the Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) by Bhopal’s Barkatullah University. The conferral took place at the Central Tower of Soka University in Japan. The award was conferred by the Vice Chancellor of Barkatullah University, Prof. M.D. Tiwari, who had come to Japan especially for this occasion. The conferral of the honorary doctorate, comes in recognition of President Ikeda’s outstanding contribution to world peace and the development of education and culture. The degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) was presented to Prof. Baba, President of Soka University, who received the award on behalf of President Ikeda and also read out President Ikeda’s acceptance speech. Read More…
Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal
28 November 2015
Jagran Lakecity University (JLU), Bhopal, conferred the Honorary Doctorate Humane Letters (Humanity and Arts) to Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhist philosopher and President, Soka Gakkai International (SGI). The award was conferred in recognition of President Ikeda’s untiring pursuit of peace and love for humanity and accepted on his behalf by Soka Gakkai President, Minoru Harada.The citation expressed appreciation for President Ikeda’s 2015 Peace Proposal and his emphasis on dialogue across differences for the sake of mutual co-existence as well as the self-directed transformation within the individual that leads to social transformation. Read More…
Madurai Institute of Social Sciences, Madurai
18 April 2015
The Madurai Institute of Social Sciences (MISS) awarded the title of Honorary Professor in Social Sciences to SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, founder of Soka University, “for his outstanding and valuable contribution for the cause of world peace”, on 18 April 2015. The conferral ceremony was held in conjunction with the 46th College Day celebrations and inauguration of the Centre for Thiruvalluvar Studies. Dr. Akash Ouchi, BSG’s honorary deputy chairperson, Ms. Bharati Ramachandran, BSG’s director and all-India deputy WD chief, and Mr. S. Seshadri, BSG’s general area chief of Tamil Nadu-Kerala General Area, accepted the award on behalf of SGI President Daisaku Ikeda from Dr. (Capt) D.V.P. Raja, founder and chairman of MISS. Read More…
Satyendra Narayan Sinha Institute of Business Management, Ranchi
19 March 2014
The S.N. Sinha Institute of Business Management in Ranchi, Jharkhand, conferred an Honorary Professorship on President Ikeda. The conferral took place as part of a Round Table Conference on Gandhian Philosophy and Global Leadership on 19 March 2014 at the Chinmaya Mission Auditorium on Lodhi Road, Delhi. Chairman of the institute, Prof. N.P. Singh, said at the conferral, “Dr Ikeda is a great social scientist and a great ideologist of global human peace.” In attendance were SGI representatives from Japan and representatives from Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG). Read More…
Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan
29 May 2006
Viswa-Bharati University in Santiniketan, West Bengal, bestowed the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature (Deshikottama) on President Ikeda in a ceremony held on 29 May at the Soka International Friendship Centre in Sendagaya, Tokyo. University Vice Chancellor Sujit K. Basu, his wife Prof. Subhasree Basu, Prof. Somendranath Bandyopadhyay and Registrar Sunil Kumar Sarkar travelled from India to confer the accolade. They were accompanied by S.K. Mandal, Charge’ d’Affaires ad interim at the Indian Embassy in Tokyo. Also in attendance were Soka Gakkai divisional representatives and a delegation of visiting representatives from BSG.
Symbiosis International Educational Centre, Pune
21 December 2005
The Symbiosis International Educational Centre (SIEC), Pune, conferred the first Doctor of Literature, honoris causa on Dr Daisaku Ikeda. The award was presented by Dr S.B. Majumdar, Chancellor of SIEC, in a ceremony held at the campus in Pune. Expressing his heartfelt appreciation for the honor, President Ikeda said in his acceptance speech: “The concept of symbiosis advocated by SIEC provides the world with the philosophical perspective and solution it so desperately seeks to resolve the strife, hatred and violence that haunt us.” The award was accepted by Dr Akash K. Ouchi, SGI Representative in India.
Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata
24 February 2004
In recognition of his efforts to promote Indo-Japan friendship and spread the philosophy of humanism for the sake of peace, Vice Chancellor Bharti Mukherjee and Registrar Santosh Kumar Ghorai presented the honorary Doctorate of Literature on President Ikeda in a ceremony held at the Soka International Friendship Hall in Sendagaya, Tokyo. In her presentation speech Prof. Mukherjee referred to President Ikeda as a scholar, writer, teacher and organizer and asserted that the SGI leader is above all a visionary world citizen dedicated to the cause of peace, happiness, and upholding basic human values, human rights and dignity. She pointed out that Tagore and Mr Ikeda share similarities in their approaches to life, philosophy and humanism.
Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli
18 January 2003
Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Literature on President Ikeda. The honor was presented by Vice Chancellor Muthiah Mariappan at the Makiguchi Memorial Hall, Tokyo. Dr Mariappan stated: “Dr Ikeda is a person worth the highest respect for his contribution to philosophy and humanitarian projects globally. With his interests ranging from philosophy, literature, music and photography, Dr Ikeda is a literary genius.” In his acceptance speech President Ikeda remarked, “The essence of humanistic education lies in fostering people so that they will have the courage to stand for justice.”
Himachal Pradesh University
26 Aug 2002
University Vice Chancellor Shruti Datt Sharma presented the honorary degree to President Ikeda during a ceremony held at the Soka Gakkai Nagano Training Centre in Nagano Prefecture. Chancellor of the University, Dr Suraj Bhan, in his congratulatory message, praised President Ikeda for his actions aimed at developing education, world peace, human rights, and Buddhist culture. Vice Chancellor Dr Sharma observed that President Ikeda is the author of many works infused with creative insight that clearly express the Buddhist ideals of compassion, equality, freedom, and hope, emphasizing that they possess the potential to enrich the movement for human rights. Dr Sharma called the SGI President “a peerless champion for the people who has put all his energy into revitalizing Buddhism.”
Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University, Kanpur
27 April 2002
President Ikeda was presented the honorary degree Doctor of Letters by Vice Chancellor of the university Prof. Sarvagya Singh Katiyar at the Seikyo Shimbun Building in Tokyo. In his presentation address, the professor noted that President Ikeda has established numerous academic, research and cultural institutions dedicated to promoting peace and fostering a spirit of tolerance and respect for diversity. He also lauded the SGI leader for making exemplary contributions to world peace and towards the spread of humanism.
VBS Purvanchal University Honorary Doctorate of Letters
20 January 2001
VBS Purvanchal University awarded President Ikeda an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in recognition of his efforts to promote global peace. The presentation was made on 20 January 2001 by Vice Chancellor Prem Chand Patanjali at a special ceremony held at the Central Tower of Soka University in Hachioji, Tokyo. Dr Patanjali shared that he first became acquainted with President Ikeda in 1992, when the SGI leader was named a Most Distinguished Fellow of the Delhi School of Nonviolence in New Delhi. The educator characterized President Ikeda as a ‘Modern Gandhi’, and also described him as a ‘young man of 70 years’ and as ‘topmost’.
Bundelkhand University Honorary Lifetime Professor
15 October 2000
At a function at Soka University in Tokyo, Bundelkhand University Vice Chancellor Ramesh Chandra presented an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters to President Ikeda. The delegation especially travelled to Tokyo to present the degree to President Ikeda. President Ikeda was also made Honorary Lifetime Professor from Bundelkhand University’s Ambedkar School of Social Sciences in recognition of his “outstanding contributions in opening society based on the philosophy of Buddhism, which firmly stands for equality and respect for life and peace in the world.” Rolls of honor were also presented to President Ikeda and Mrs Ikeda on the occasion.
Bundelkhand University, Doctor of Letters
26 August 2000
At a special ceremony held at Jhansi, President Ikeda was conferred the degree of Doctor of Letters. The citation lauds President Ikeda for generating the hope to create “the kind of society in which the individual human being re-emerges as a focus of value and as an agent of creative transformation of society.” He was described as an “accomplished philosopher, a frontline social reformer, founder of educational and peace institutions, and a humanitarian responsible for east-west cultural fusion.” It further states that in awarding the honorary degree to the SGI leader, the university is “honoring a Buddhist educationist who has made ceaseless endeavors in pursuit of peace.”
Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath Institute, Kolkata
24 April 2000
This noted Sanskrit institution conferred the degree of ‘Mahamahopadhyaya’, Doctor of Literature, on President Ikeda in recognition of his “significant contribution to enrichment of the stock of human knowledge, particularly in the field of Buddhist studies.” Vice Chancellor Mr Mukherjee and university officials presented the award to President Ikeda at a special ceremony held at Soka University.
University of Delhi
13 December 1998
Vice Chancellor Vrajendra Raj Mehta of the University of Delhi presented President Ikeda the Degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa. The conferral was held at the 30th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting in Makiguchi Memorial Hall, Tokyo. In his conferral speech Vice Chancellor Mehta hailed President Ikeda as “one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century, a great human being, who has been able to concretize the philosophy of King Ashoka’s dharma and Mahatma Gandhi’s ahimsa as a strategy of conflict resolution in the modern world.” Citing the words of Machiavelli, Prof. Mehta said, “Some people take their luster from honors and institutions; others, greater still, add their luster to them. In accepting our honorary degree, Prof. Ikeda has added his luster to this honor, like he has to all those countless others he has received. This is one of the rare instances where our recipient honors us more than we honor him.”
Dr Daisaku Ikeda is a thinker, philosopher, photographer and the author of dialogues, essays, university lectures, children’s literature and books. He has composed more than a thousand poems alone, and has received 25 literary awards from around the world.
The five literary awards Dr Ikeda has received from India are as follows:
World Peace Poet Award
7 August 2010
President Ikeda was conferred the World Peace Poet Award for his “outstanding achievements, particularly in espousing peace among peoples and nations” by the World Poetry Society Intercontinental. The award was jointly conferred by Justice S. Tamilvanan, Judge at Madras High Court and Dr A. Padmanabhan, former Governor of Mizoram and President of WPSI. At the awards ceremony, distinguished poets paid rich tributes to President Ikeda. In their compositions the poets focused on President Ikeda’s passion for world peace and courage to uphold humanistic values. WPSI President Dr A. Padmanaban praised President Ikeda as a “relentless fighter for culture, peace and harmony” whose poems “sparkle, awakening men and women.” Dr Padmanaban noted that President Ikeda “sees agony and gives relief.”
World People’s Poet
5 October 2007
The title of World People’s Poet was conferred on President Ikeda by the World Poetry Society Intercontinental. A symposium titled ‘Poetry of World Peace, Harmony and Humanism’ was organised by WPSI, Soka Ikeda College of Arts and Science for Women, the Institute of Oriental Philosophy and Bharat Soka Gakkai. The award was presented by Dr Krishna Srinivas and Dr A. Padmanaban of WPSI and accepted by Institute of Oriental Philosophy Director Yoichi Kawada.
Prophet of Peace
24 September 2000
The International Poets Academy (IPA) awarded President Ikeda the title of “Prophet of Peace” in a ceremony in Chennai. The new facility of the IPA, Dr Daisaku Ikeda International Poetry Centre for World Peace, was inaugurated on the same occasion.
World Poet Laureate Award
8 August 1995
In recognition of his meritorious contributions to the world of brotherhood and efforts to promote peace through poetry, the World Poetry Society conferred the World Poet Laureate Award on President Ikeda. Soka Gakkai Vice President Dr Kawada received the award from Society’s President Dr Krishna Srinivas. Dr Srinivas expressed understanding of Dr Ikeda’s efforts to promote peace through Buddhism by stating, “a sound human revolution — carried within ourselves — alone will create an atmosphere of peace, founded on the strong bedrock of philosophy and belief in each individual.” In the acceptance speech read by Dr Yoichi Kawada, President Ikeda noted, “The cosmos within the self; the self as cosmos. More than anything, a poem is that which links and bridges these two infinite and eternal entities — cosmos and self.” President Ikeda also cited the poetic mind for its ability to connect the universe, society and humankind.
International Eminent Poet
17 August 1991
The International Poet’s Academy bestowed the title of “International Eminent Poet” and “Fellow membership” status on President Ikeda. The award is bestowed on individuals recognized for their distinguished achievements in the realm of poetry.
Most Outstanding Literary Work of the 20th Century Writers Forum for Harmony of India
18 January 2003
President Ikeda’s work, The Human Revolution, was named the most outstanding literary work of the 20th century by Writers Forum for Harmony, India. The award was presented by Dr A. Padmanaban of the WFFH on President Ikeda at a special ceremony held in Tokyo. The citation notes: “The Human Revolution vividly chronicles the heroic efforts of motivated and dedicated followers of Nichiren Daishonin towards worldwide kosen-rufu and the travails and persecutions they undergo. The work reveals amazing literary qualities that make it a work of all times.” It further describes the author as “a literary genius of exceptional ability to portray social changes most poignantly and with epic grandeur and beauty”.
Honorary Advisor, Indian Science Congress Association
1 December 2001
President Ikeda was appointed honorary advisor by the noted Indian institution in recognition of his efforts to bridge the gap between science and spirituality through humanistic dialogue.
“Man of the Millennium” International Poets Academy
31 January 2000
At a special ceremony in Chennai coinciding with the 39th anniversary of President Ikeda’s first visit to India in 1961, the IPA presented this special title on SGI President Ikeda for his unstinting efforts to promote world peace through poetry. The certificate and accompanying plaque were accepted by BSG Deputy Chief Secretary Akash Ouchi on behalf of SGI President Ikeda.
Plaque of Special Commendation Sethu Bhaskara School
13 November 1999
On 13 November 1999 Sethu Bhaskara Matriculation Higher Secondary School of Chennai, bestowed upon President Ikeda a Plaque of Special Commendation. The presentation was made at the Soka Junior and Senior High Schools in Kodaira, Tokyo. On 13 August 2001 President and Mrs Ikeda were made the honorary founder and honorary principal of the Soka Ikeda College of Arts and Science for Women, respectively. Sethu Bhaskara School appointed President and Mrs Ikeda as honorary founder and principal on 16 September 2001.
Most Distinguished Honorary Member International Academy of Indian Culture
29 November 1998
The International Academy of lndian Culture bestowed the title Most Distinguished Honorary Member on President Ikeda in a ceremony held on 29 November at the Seikyo Shimbun building in Shinanomachi in Tokyo. The honor was presented by Dr Lokesh Chandra, director of the academy. In his greetings, he praised President Ikeda for his actions in bringing peace and harmony to humankind based on the teachings of the Lotus Sutra and for advocating “soft power”.
“Patron” of BN Pande Peace Foundation
11 October 1998
President Ikeda was honored as “Patron” of the Bishambhar Nath Pande Peace Foundation at a function held at the Constitution Club in New Delhi. The foundation is dedicated to promoting the ideals of nonviolence upheld by the late Dr Pande, a direct disciple of Mahatma Gandhi. Also named as patrons on this occasion were Vice President of India Krishan Kant and former president Shankar Dayal Sharma. President Ikeda sent a message in which he said that Dr Pande’s existence itself was symbol of nonviolence, harmony and peace. And he expressed his sincere wish that the organization would foster many youth to carry on the indomitable spirit of Dr Pande.
Most Distinguished Fellowship Delhi School of Nonviolence
15 February 1992
President Ikeda was bestowed the Most Distinguished Fellowship status by the Delhi School of Nonviolence at a special award ceremony in New Delhi. The school, established in 1966, is a non-governmental organization that seeks to promote Gandhian philosophy and world peace. The fellowship is awarded to leaders of world stature who have made significant contributions to the integration of science and spirituality.
Honorary Doctorates and Awards
AWARDED OVER 377 ACADEMIC HONOURS FROM NUMEROUS ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS
As of September 2017, Daisaku Ikeda had been awarded a total of over 377 academic honors, mainly honorary doctorates and honorary professorships, from academic institutions in some 50 countries and territories in recognition of his efforts to promote peace, educational and cultural exchange.
|USA||DePaul University||Honorary Doctorate||2016|
|Thailand||Thammasat University||Honorary Doctorate||2013|
|Malaysia||University of Malaya||Honorary Doctorate||2010|
|China||Tsinghua University||Honorary Professorship||2010|
|Canada||Université Laval||Honorary Doctorate||2010|
|Indonesia||Universitas Indonesia||Honorary Doctorate||2009|
|Jordan||University of Jordan||Honorary Doctorate||2004|
|Australia||University of Sydney||Honorary Doctorate||2000|
|Korea||Jeju National University||Honorary Doctorate||1999|
|India||University of Delhi||Honorary Doctorate||1998|
|Mongolia||National University of Mongolia||Honorary Doctorate||1997|
|Hong Kong, China||University of Hong Kong||Honorary Doctorate||1996|
|USA||University of Denver||Honorary Doctorate||1996|
|UK||University of Glasgow||Honorary Doctorate||1994|
|Italy||University of Bologna||Honorary Doctorate||1994|
|Brazil||Federal University of Rio de Janeiro||Honorary Doctorate||1993|
|Kenya||University of Nairobi||Honorary Doctorate||1992|
|Turkey||Ankara University||Honorary Doctorate||1992|
|Philippines||University of the Philippines||Honorary Doctorate||1991|
|Argentina||University of Buenos Aires||Honorary Doctorate||1990|
|China||Peking University||Honorary Professorship||1984|
|Peru||National University of San Marcos||Honorary Professorship||1981|
|Russia||Moscow State University||Honorary Doctorate||1975|
Other awards include:
- UN Peace Award (1983)
- UNHCR Humanitarian Award (1989)
- Rosa Parks Humanitarian Award (1993)
- Simon Wiesenthal Center International Tolerance Award (1993)
- Tagore Peace Award (1997)
- Rizal International Peace Award (1998)
- PRIO Prize (International Peace Research Institute, Oslo) (2002)
Ikeda has also been decorated with national orders from 23 countries around the world.
- Honorary member of the Club of Rome
- Honorary adviser of the World Federation of United Nations Associations
- Honorary senator of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts
- Advisory board member of the World Centers of Compassion for Children
- Honorary life member of the Thoreau Society
- Honorary member of the Russian Academy of Arts
- Nonresident member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters
As of September 2017, Ikeda has been awarded a total of 795 honorary citizenships from 29 countries and territories.
At the heart of Buddhism lies the ideal of the sanctity of life and the empowerment of the individual. War, environmental degradation, poverty and nuclear armament strip away the rights and dignity of the individual.
President Ikeda’s commitment to peace grows from his experience as a young teenager of World War II. His interactions with second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda in the aftermath of the war helped shape his antiwar sentiments into a philosophy that supports a multifaceted peace movement. What sustains President Ikeda’s energetic engagement is his Buddhist belief in the sanctity of life and the creative potential of individual human beings, and his faith in the power of dialogue to bridge the distances between people.
For President Ikeda, peace is far more than the mere absence of war. Rather, it points to a set of conditions in which cultural differences are embraced and appreciated and in which dialogue is firmly established as the means of choice for resolving conflict. In recent years, the idea of a “culture of peace” has gained widespread currency in the world. From his writings and actions, it is clear that President Ikeda has been a pioneering practitioner of this concept.
Since 1983, every year, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda publishes a peace proposal which explores the interrelation between core Buddhist concepts and the diverse challenges global society faces in the effort to realize peace and human security. In addition, he has also made proposals touching on issues such as education reform, the environment, the United Nations and nuclear abolition.
A unique feature of the Peace Proposals is that they emphasize the importance and role of individual action in resolving global issues.
A central and consistent focus of these proposals has been on ways of revitalizing and strengthening the role of the UN. “The United Nations must serve as the key venue and focus for our efforts,” President Ikeda asserts. “Humanity faces a range of complex issues that show no regard for national borders–threats such as terrorism, armed conflict, poverty, environmental degradation, hunger and disease. A reformed and strengthened UN is essential to mustering effective responses to the global challenges of the new era.
Ikeda himself has held dialogues with Secretary Generals Kurt Waldheim, Javier Peréz de Cuellar and Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and is recipient of the United Nations Peace Medal and the UNHCR Humanitarian Award.
In August 2006, the SGI President met with UN Under-Secretary-General Anwarul K. Chowdhury and presented a proposal entitled “Fulfilling the Mission: Empowering the UN to live up to the world’s expectations.”
- Toward an Era of Human Rights: Building a People’s Movement (2018)
- The Global Solidarity of Youth: Ushering In a New Era of Hope (2017)
- Universal Respect for Human Dignity: The Great Path to Peace (2016)
- A Shared Pledge for a More Humane Future: To Eliminate Misery from the Earth (2015)
- Value Creation for Global Change: Building Resilient and Sustainable Societies (2014)
- Compassion, Wisdom and Courage: Building a Global Society of Peace and Creative Coexistence (2013)
- Human Security and Sustainability: Sharing Reverence for the Dignity of Life (2012)
- Toward a World of Dignity for All: The Triumph of the Creative Life (2011)
- Toward a New Era of Value Creation (2010)
- Toward Humanitarian Competition: A New Current in History (2009)
- Humanizing Religion, Creating Peace (2008)
- Restoring the Human Connection: The First Step to Global Peace (2007)
- A New Era of the People: Forging a Global Network of Robust Individuals (2006)
- Toward a New Era of Dialogue: Humanism Explored (2005)
- Inner Transformation: Creating a Global Groundswell for Peace (2004)
- A Global Ethic of Coexistence: Toward a “Life-Sized” Paradigm for Our Age (2003)
- The Humanism of the Middle Way: Dawn of a Global Civilization (2002)
- Creating and Sustaining a Century of Life: Challenges for a New Era (2001)
- Peace through Dialogue: A Time to Talk Challenges for a New Era (2000)
Nuclear Abolition Proposal
Daisaku Ikeda has delivered lectures on topics relevant to education and civilization at over 30 universities and academic institutions around the world, starting with the University of California at Los Angeles in April 1974, and spanning 18 countries from the U.S.A. to Italy, China, Russia, Cuba and Turkey.
Selected Universities Lectures
|Apr. 1, 1974||USA||University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)||Toward the Twenty-First Century|
|May 27, 1975||USSR||Moscow State University||A New Path to East-West Cultural Exchange|
|Apr. 22, 1980||China||Peking University||Toward a New Vision of “The People”: Observations on China|
|Mar. 5, 1981||Mexico||University of Guadalajara||On the Mexican Poetic Spirit|
|May 21, 1981||Bulgaria||University of Sofia||A Harmonious Fusion of the Cultures of East and West|
|June 7, 1983||Romania||University of Bucharest||Standing at the Crossroads of Civilizations|
|June 5, 1984||China||Peking University||The Great Path to Peace: A Personal Observation|
|June 9, 1984||China||Fudan University||People as the Protagonists of History|
|June 14, 1989||France||L’Institut de France||Art and Spirituality in East and West|
|Mar. 1, 1990||Argentina||University of Buenos Aires||The Cosmopolitan Spirit in a Land of Cultural Fusion|
|May 28, 1990||China||Peking University||The Path of Education, the Bridge of Culture: A Personal Observation|
|Jan. 30, 1991||Macau||University of Macau||A New Global Awareness|
|Apr. 10, 1991||Philippines||University of the Philippines||Peace and Business: Toward a Universal Spirit of Fairness and Justice|
|Sept. 26, 1991||USA||Harvard University||The Age of “Soft Power” and Inner-Motivated Philosophy|
|Jan. 30, 1992||Hong Kong||Chinese University of Hong Kong||The Chinese Humanist Tradition|
|Feb. 11, 1992||India||Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti||Toward a World without War: Gandhism and the Modern World|
|June 24, 1992||Turkey||Ankara University||A New Silk Road from the Cradle of Civilization|
|Oct. 14, 1992||China||Chinese Academy of Social Sciences||The Twenty-First Century and East Asian Civilization|
|Jan. 29, 1993||USA||Claremont McKenna College||In Search of New Principles of Integration|
|Feb. 12, 1993||Brazil||Brazilian Academy of Letters||The Hopeful Dawn of a Humanistic Civilization|
|Sept. 24, 1993||USA||Harvard University||Mahayana Buddhism and Twenty-First Century Civilization|
|Jan. 31, 1994||China||Shenzhen University||The Infinite Horizons of Humanism|
|May 17, 1994||Russia||Moscow State University||The Human Being: A Magnificent Cosmos|
|June 1, 1994||Italy||University of Bologna||Leonardo’s Universal Vision and the Parliament of Humanity|
|Jan. 26, 1995||USA||East-West Center, University of Hawai’i||Peace and Human Security: A Buddhist Perspective for the Twenty-First Century|
|June 26, 1995||Spain||Ateneo de Santander||Toward the Dawn of Twenty-First Century Civilization*|
|Nov. 2, 1995||Nepal||Tribhuvan University||Homage to the Sagarmatha (Everest) of Humanism: The Living Lessons of Gautama Buddha|
|Jun. 4, 1996||USA||Simon Wiesenthal Center||Makiguchi’s Lifelong Pursuit of Justice and Humane Values|
|June 13, 1996||USA||Teachers College, Columbia University||Thoughts on Education for Global Citizenship|
|June 25, 1996||Cuba||University of Havana||Building a Great Spiritual Bridge to the New Century|
|Oct. 21, 1997||India||Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies||A New Humanism for the Coming Century|
|Mar. 23, 2007||Italy||University of Palermo||From the Crossroads of Civilization: A New Flourishing of Humanistic Culture*|
Selected Quotes from Lectures
University of Havana – “Building a Great Spiritual Bridge to the New Century” 1996
The transformation in the inner awareness or state of life of an individual is intrinsically connected to the flowering of the poetic spirit. An expansion in this inner realm of life encourages empathy for others and strengthens the desire to contribute to society; it brings forth the “sun” of wisdom and compassion from within the depths of one’s life. . . . This process of “human revolution”—bringing forth the light of an inner sun—has the potential to strengthen human solidarity and bring about the flourishing of society. It can serve as the certain basis for creating a world of peace.
Moscow State University – “The Human Being: A Magnificent Cosmos” 1994
I am one who believes that absolute and indestructible happiness in life lies only in working selflessly for others, while expanding one’s inner realm from the “lesser self” caught up in the snares of egotism to the “greater self” fused with universal life.
University of Bologna – “Leonardo’s Universal Vision and the Parliament of Humanity” 1994
“The great man is. . . a man without whom the world would seem to us incomplete.” This aptly describes Leonardo da Vinci, who illuminates the Italian Renaissance with undying light. As we stand amid the chaos of the fin de siècle, I can think of no other period of time more in need of people as lofty and independent as Leonardo than today. The creation of a new world order, centered on the United Nations, will depend finally on how many such true cosmopolitans we can summon to carry out that daunting task.
Harvard University – “Mahayana Buddhism and Twenty-First Century Civilization” 1993
If the tragedies of this century of war and revolution have taught us anything, it is the folly of viewing the reform of external factors, such as social systems, as the sole determinant of human happiness. I am convinced that in the coming century, foremost importance must and will be placed on an inward-directed reformation, inspired by a new understanding of life and death.
Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti – “Toward a World Without War: Gandhism and the Modern World” 1992
Gandhi’s optimism was absolute and not relative. It was never contingent on his analysis of objective conditions. . . . His belief in nonviolence and justice grew out of his absolute trust in humanity. This was an unconditional faith which he came to through a rigorous process of introspection, probing the very depths of his being. The indestructible conviction which he thus gained was something which not even death could take from him.
Ankara University – “A New Silk Road from the Cradle of Civilization” 1992
Only those with farsighted open-mindedness can aspire to globalism. The ability to strike a balance between one’s own interests and those of other nations—or, at a deeper level, between the individual and the universal—is the mark of the world citizen
Harvard University – “The Age of ‘Soft Power’ and Inner-Motivated Philosophy” 1991
We must seek harmony on a deeper level―a level where it is truly possible to “kill the will to kill.” More than objective awareness, we must achieve a state of compassion transcending distinctions between self and other. We need to feel the compassionate energy that beats within the depths of all people’s subjective lives where the individual and the universal are merged.
L’Institut de France – “Art and Spirituality in East and West” 1989
The creative life makes a new breakthrough, achieves self-renewal, every day, always attuned to the original rhythm of the universe, and by so doing it brings about a complete transformation.
University of Sofia – “A Harmonious Fusion of the Cultures of East and West” 1981
What I’d like to point out now is that politics and religion should try to commit themselves jointly to a common concern, and that concern is none other than the human being. Needless to say, both politics and religion can fulfill their own original purposes only when they stick to the cause of the human being, not to their own causes.