Daisaku Ikeda Selected Quotes

These quotes from Daisaku Ikeda were used as background reading for the May 14, 2014 seminar, "Creativity, Peace Building, and Education." During her opening remarks, Bernice Lerner responded to or expanded on many of these points. Lerner's co-presenter was Stehen Gould.

From Soka Education: For the Happiness of the Individual

“Creativeness means pushing open the heavy door to life. This is not an easy struggle. Indeed, it may be the hardest task in the world. For opening the door to your own life is more difficult than opening the doors to the mysteries of the universe… to be human in the full sense of the word is to lead a creative life.“

“I feel most deeply that I have done something creative when I have thrown myself wholeheartedly into a task and fought it through unstintingly to its conclusion and thus have won in the struggle to enlarge myself. It is a matter of sweat and tears. The creative life demands constant effort to improve one’s thoughts and actions. Perhaps the dynamism involved in effort is the important thing.”

“It is of primary importance for people concerned with education on the broader scale to believe in the creativity of each young person with whom they come in contact, cultivate it warmly, and persistently endeavor to enable it to bloom brilliantly.”

From "Value Creation for Global Change: Building Resilient and Sustainable Societies" (2014 Peace Proposal to UN)

I.

“The Austrian psychologist Viktor E. Frankl (1905-97), known for his book Man's Search for Meaning about his experiences in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, asserted that suffering becomes meaningful when it is endured for others, for some greater purpose--only then can we find within ourselves the light of humanity to dispel the darkness of despair.  What is important, he stressed, is one's attitude and the manner in which we face the cruel blows of unavoidable fate: human beings have the inherent capacity to uncover and grasp the meaning of life until they draw their last breath.  Frankl called this act of mustering the resources of the human spirit in response to misfortune "attitudinal value" (Einstellungswerte).

"In other words, if one can rise to the challenge of enduring the most terrible afflictions and situations, maintaining the faith that life has meaning, one can transform personal tragedy into a triumph for humanity. This is the work of creating value.

"At the same time Frankl was struggling to survive the Nazi death camps during World War II, Soka Gakkai founding president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871-1944) was arrested and imprisoned for refusing to submit to the thought control imposed by the Japanese militarist government. In terms of the light it casts on the capacities of the human spirit, Frankl's idea of attitudinal value resonates with the thinking of Makiguchi, who emphasized that the purpose of education was to cultivate what he called "character value" (jinkaku kachi). . . .

"Makiguchi described a person who possesses character value as the kind of individual whose presence is always sought after and appreciated in times of crisis even if they may not otherwise attract much attention. Such people always function as a unifying force in society.”

II.

“Education holds the key to the future not only of a nation but of all humanity. President Mandela was able to endure over twenty-seven years of imprisonment because he continued to educate himself, nurturing the great dream of healing conflict to create a society of peace and coexistence for all. He wrote these words from prison:

It is only my flesh and blood that are shut up behind these tight walls. Otherwise I remain cosmopolitan in my outlook; in my thoughts I am as free as a falcon. The anchor of all my dreams is the collective wisdom of mankind as a whole. . . .

“The world today needs the kind of education that can develop the capacity to create value, underpinned by indomitable hope and the spirit of learning from the collective wisdom of humankind. This is especially true for those who are suffering in the face of various threats, those who are committed to making the world a better place and members of the younger generation upon whom the future depends.”

III.

“I would like to suggest three key elements that could form the basis of an educational program for global citizenship. Such education should:

  • Deepen understanding of the challenges facing humankind, enable people to explore their causes and instill the shared hope and confidence that such problems, being of human origin, are amenable to human solutions;
  • Identify the early signs of impending global problems in local phenomena, develop sensitivity to such signs and empower people to take concerted action; and
  • Foster empathetic imagination and a keen awareness that actions that profit one's own country might have a negative impact on or be perceived as a threat by other countries, elevating this to a shared pledge not to seek one's happiness and prosperity at the expense of others."

 

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