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In the intensely polarized United States of early 2017, it’s easy to find oneself reacting quickly and with outrage to any number of unfolding events. Indeed, it’s become a default position for many of us, both left and right. In her dialogue with Boston-area university students held at the Ikeda Center on April 12, 2017, Anita Patterson of Boston University argued that deep engagement with literature offers unique, even practical benefits for those looking to transcend our pattern of unthinking reaction. Read the...

Patterson Seminar

On April 12th the Ikeda Center hosted a seminar featuring Anita Patterson (right), Professor of English at Boston University, in dialogue with a dozen Boston-area university students. The topic was "The Role of Literature in Times of Division." In her introduction, Dr. Patterson said:"It’s been my experience that students thrive in classrooms where they don’t feel rushed, and we can dwell together on the meaning of a phrase or the depth of a writer’s insight. Ideally, the literature classroom is a place we all take our time arriving at the satisfactions of reading. We learn, in this...

Perhaps the only thing that various factions across the US might agree on now is that we can't agree on anything; that we are culturally and politically polarized to an extent not experienced in many decades, perhaps since the 60s. It doesn't help matters that the president himself is a polarizing figure of the first order. Center founder Daisaku Ikeda often remarks that when we arrive at an impasse — and certainly we are at an impasse — the best choice is to return to our roots and look at our original motivations. From a Buddhist perspective this means looking closely at one's self — as...

Early in his "Beyond Vietnam" speech, delivered at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. explained why he could not restrict his efforts for peace, justice, and democracy to those that he and his compatriots had been pursuing in the United States for more than a decade. (Read the whole speech here.) Not least, as both a Christian and a Nobel Peace laureate, he felt an obligation to speak up for all those who suffer. Here is an...

Synopsis for "The Global Solidarity of Youth: Ushering in a New Era of Hope"

Proposal submitted to the United Nations by Daisaku Ikeda, February 2017

Read the full proposal here

Sixty years have passed since my mentor, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda (1900–58), issued his declaration calling for the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons. At the core of his thinking was a vision of global citizenship rooted in the philosophy of respect for life’...

Here's a Top Ten list of our website articles that received the most views during 2016. The mix ranges from our page featuring the poems of Mary Oliver to Yoichi Kawada's discussion of the Buddhist outlook on life and death to Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen's essay on his concept of development as freedom. The Ikeda Forum for Intercultural Dialogue is our signature event, so it was gratifying to find features on three separate forums on our list. Enjoy, and please join us for more peace investigations in 2017! [Posted 12-29-16]

1. "What is Community?",...

Marinoff

We're celebrating our fourth printing of The Inner Philosopher: Conversations on Philosophy's Transformative Power by posting an excerpt from the concluding chapter to our website. In the excerpt, called "Life Itself is Our Common Ground," co-authors Lou Marinoff and Daisaku Ikeda explore the interplay between respect for local communities and unique traditions and the need to foster global unity around issues of peace and well being.

Lou Marinoff summarizes:

"The key...

[12-15-16] We are pleased to post a video of Ceasar McDowell's presentation at this year's Ikeda Forum for Intercultural Dialogue, "Crisis or Opportunity: A Dialogue on Democracy, Inclusion, and Community." His remarks focused on what he sees as the particular modes of dialogue that can unite diverse segments of society while strengthening democracy in the process. One of his key points was that any dialogue aimed at meaningful social change will of necessity include those at the margins of society since they are the ones who live with the failures of the...

What better time than Thanksgiving to think about how gratitude can impact our lives and the lives of others for the better! This brief essay at the website of the Soka Gakkai International explores why gratitude is a core practice for Center founder Daisaku Ikeda in particular and Nichiren Buddhists in general. There's plenty of good advice here for the non-Buddhists among us as well. Here's an excerpt.

"While the admonition to 'count one’s blessings' may seem trite, in times...

2016 Ikeda Forum

Compared to what he envisions as the work of true democracy, the current presidential contest, said Ceasar McDowell, defined as it is by rancor and a scarcity of content, amounts to little more than theater. McDowell offered this perspective in his role as the featured speaker and dialogue facilitator at the 13th Annual Ikeda Forum for Intercultural Dialogue, called “Crisis or Opportunity: A Dialogue on Democracy, Inclusion, Community.” Held at the Ikeda Center on October 27, just twelve days before the 2016 elections and near the end of a year marked by bitter and emotional conflict...

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