In response to the tragic scale of the escalating violence in Gaza, the Soka Gakkai Council for Peace Issues, part of the socially engaged Japanese Nichiren Buddhist organization, Soka Gakkai International (SGI) , issued a public statement calling for peace and compassionate humanitarian aid. assistance to civilians caught in the crossfire in this devastating conflict.
“On October 26, the Soka Gakkai Council on Peace Issues issued a statement on the situation in the Middle East, adding its support to the international community's calls for the safe release of all hostages, protection of civilians based on international humanitarian law, and a humanitarian ceasefire to enable the provision of life-saving assistance,” Joan Anderson, head of the SGI, told BDG from Tokyo.
The statement, which bears the names of board chairman Yoshiki Tanigawa, who is also senior vice chairman of Soka Gakkai, and board vice chairman Shinobu Sugimoto, is reproduced below.
As the confrontation between Israel and the Gaza Strip and the risks arising from it rapidly intensify, we are deeply concerned for the safety of those who have been taken hostage and are heartbroken by the loss of civilian lives, particularly women and children, on an unprecedented scale.
Amid escalating conflict, countless ordinary people have lost their livelihoods and been plunged into a grave humanitarian crisis.
As Buddhists whose fundamental value is the dignity of life, we sincerely pray for an immediate ceasefire and hope that efforts will be focused on ensuring the safety of the people and restoring peace.
We add our voices to calls from the international community for the safe release of all hostages, the protection of civilians based on international humanitarian law, and a humanitarian ceasefire to enable the delivery of life-saving assistance. .
If the situation is allowed to worsen, it will result in even greater human suffering and an even greater humanitarian crisis. Intensified cycles of hatred could then cause new horrors.
Above all, it is unacceptable that children in Israel and Gaza have lost their lives and live under constant threat. As UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said: “A child is a child. Children everywhere must be protected at all times and must never be attacked. Under no circumstances should we lose sight of this principle.
We strongly pray for the release of the hostages as soon as possible and urge the international community to work to protect the lives, dignity and livelihoods of those trapped in this humanitarian crisis by achieving a de-escalation of tensions and upon the cessation of hostilities.
Separately, SGI's Anderson also shared that Tanigawa led a delegation to China from October 22 to 24 to participate in events marking the 45th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Japan and to hold discussions aimed at strengthening relations Sino-Japanese relations and promote peace. .
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.