The socially engaged Japanese Nichiren Buddhist organization, the Soka Gakkai, held a memorial service at the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Tokyo on November 23 for the pioneering Buddhist philosopher, educator, author and peace activist Daisaku Ikeda, who died at his home on the 15th. November at 95.*
Ikeda, who served as the third president of the Soka Gakkai Buddhist movement from 1960 to 1979 and the founding president of Soka Gakkai International (SGI), was instrumental in spreading Buddhist thought across the world through Soka Gakkai, and was an influential leader of the socially engaged Buddhist movement.
“After reciting portions of the Lotus Sutra and the song of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the appreciation was expressed by Soka Gakkai Senior Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda on behalf of the Ikeda family, and National Women's Leader Kimiko Nagaishi and Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada paid tribute “, Soka Gakkai told BDG. " Harada said the messages of condolence received from personalities around the world attested to Ikeda's greatest achievement: "forging bonds, bringing people together and connecting the inherent goodness in their hearts, transcending race, ideology and religion ".
During the ceremony, Harada also emphasized that Soka Gakkai members are committed to continuing Ikeda's legacy of paving the way for peace, as the organization heads toward its 100th anniversary in 2030. This time, Nagaishi expressed his gratitude towards Ikeda and expressed his determination to fulfill his wish. so that gardens of peace flourish throughout the world.
In his own tribute to Ikeda for the occasion, Bangladeshi diplomat Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, former UN deputy secretary-general and high representative and himself a prominent advocate for sustainable peace and development, wrote: “(Ikeda ) gave humanity hope and direction to courageously face the complexity and challenges of today's world. I pay tribute to his creative energy and intellectual breadth in elaborating and articulating the dimensions of human values and ideals to bring out the best in each of us.
Born in Tokyo in 1928, Ikeda was the fifth of eight children. His experiences in Japan during World War II would play a central role in Ikeda's view of violence and conflict and his lifelong commitment to peace. In 1947, at the age of 19, Ikeda met Josei Toda (1900-1958), educator and leader of the Soka Gakkai. He was inspired by Toda's conviction and gift for explaining profound Buddhist concepts in order to embrace Nichiren Buddhism, taking Toda as his mentor.
At the age of 32, Ikeda succeeded Toda as Soka Gakkai's third president in 1960, heralding a period of innovation and dynamic growth, including overseas expansion. Ikeda dedicated himself to developing initiatives in the areas of peace, culture and education based on Buddhist ideals. Soka Gakkai International (SGI) was founded in 1975 as the umbrella organization for the growing network of Soka Gakkai member organizations around the world, and Ikeda became its president.
Over the next few years, Ikeda traveled extensively, visiting more than 50 countries and meeting with world leaders such as former Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.
“The central tenet of Ikeda's thought and Buddhism is the fundamental dignity of life, a value he considers the key to lasting peace and human happiness,” Soka Gakkai noted on its website . “World peace, he believes, ultimately rests on a self-directed transformation of the individual's life, rather than on societal or structural reforms alone. This idea is expressed very succinctly in a passage from his work Human revolutionIkeda's fictionalized account of the history and ideals of the Soka Gakkai: "A great human revolution led by a single individual will contribute to a change in the destiny of a nation and, furthermore, enable a change in the destiny of all humanity. » (Soka Gakkai)
Founded in 1930, Soka Gakkai (the Value Creation Society) is a Japanese Buddhist movement based on the teachings of the 1222th century Buddhist priest Nichiren (1282-XNUMX). Nichiren taught devotion to Lotus Sutra, believed to contain the teachings of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, near the end of his life, as the exclusive means of achieving enlightenment. The Soka Gakkai centers its teachings on Lotus Sutrawith recitation of the mantraNam-myoho-renge-kyo» (“Glory to the Dharma of the Lotus Sutra”) as his main devotional practice.
Soka Gakkai International, founded by Daisaku Ikeda in 1975, is an NGO with consultative status with the United Nations ECOSOC. As a global community Buddhist organization that promotes peace, culture and education based on respect for the dignity of life, Soka Gakkai is involved in activism, education and policy for peace, with members in 192 countries and territories around the world.
Among Soka Gakkai's most high-profile international members are actor Orlando Bloom, jazz musician Herbie Hancock and singer Tina Turner.
The compassion that never leaves others to suffer alone; the wisdom to perceive the equality and possibilities of life; the courage to make our differences the engine of the elevation of our humanity: I believe that the challenge of building a global society of peace and creative coexistence begins with the recognition that all individuals intrinsically possess these qualities. I also believe that the social mission of religion in the XNUMXst century must be to encourage the flourishing of these capacities. It must bring people together in a philosophy of respect for the dignity and value of life. —Daisaku Ikeda
Daisaku Ikeda, socially engaged Buddhist and leader of Soka Gakkai, dies at age 95 (BDG)