Education & Philosophy

What Do We Mean By Human Education?

Audience at Ikeda Forum

Ikeda Center audience

For years, we at the Ikeda Center have described our approach to teaching and learning, broadly understood, as humanistic education.

This remains accurate, insofar as we, following the lead of Daisaku Ikeda, are concerned with the education of the whole person and the development of their unique capacities. Another way of understanding our approach, however, is in terms of ningen kyoiku, or “human education” In his introduction to Hope and Joy in Education, Jason Goulah discusses how Ikeda understands the concept. First, he cites Ikeda’s succinctly stated rationale: “Being born does not make one a human being. Don’t we really become human when we make tenacious efforts to live as human beings? … We need human education to become human beings.”

Goulah then identifies two main dimensions of human education. The first is that one should always seek to encourage others in order to help them realize their “unique and unlimited potential.” The second is to be oriented toward continual growth, especially in ways that support “the mutual growth of oneself and others.” In a sense, we can understand human education as the general process that is inclusive of two of Ikeda’s core recommended pursuits, which are interrelated: human revolution and the realization of the greater self. The former is key, says Ikeda, since no matter what happens with any of our other “revolutions” – cultural, economic, scientific, and so on – “the world will never get any better as long as people themselves … remain selfish and lacking in compassion.” In Ikeda’s view, the person who has undergone human revolution, can then be said to have realized their greater self, which is the self whose own strengths and unique qualities are naturally interwoven with and supportive of the unique strengths and qualities of others.