Urbain: The Qualities of Inner Transformation

Olivier UrbainA core conviction of the Center, grounded in Buddhist philosophy, is that the reform of self is essential to the reform of society. Daisaku Ikeda describes the relationship this way: "A great human revolution within just a single individual . . . will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind." But what exactly constitutes this reform of self, this "human revolution," this inner transformation essential to positive social change?

Olivier Urbain, Director of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, has given this question a lot of thought. In his 2010 book Daisaku Ikeda's Philosophy of Peace, Urbain says: "For me then, the question at the heart of the practice of inner transformation becomes what type of human qualities are necessary to 'creatively turn life's negative aspects into something positive or constructive.'" From his careful study of Mr. Ikeda's work, as well as that of others such as Desmond Tutu, Urbain concludes that the three core qualities are courage, wisdom, and compassion. He explains:

Human beings have a virtually limitless potential for many different types of qualities, such as hope, perserverence, a sense of justice, creativity and imagination, but I think that the terms courage, wisdom, and compassion taken together cover most of these positive characteristics. For me, courage is a general label covering qualities such as hope, will, positive energy and enthusiasm. Wisdom is associated with intelligence, imagination, creativity and the effective use of knowledge. Compassion includes such feelings as generosity, kindness and empathy. I therefore define inner transformation as an effort to increase one's own courage, wisdom, and compassion, and all the other virtues associated with them, in order to deal with the circumstances at hand in the best possible way.

[Posted by M. Bogen, 9-1-15]


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