Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In honor of the Nuclear Summit, part II

Dear all,

Here is the second installment of President Ikeda's Peace Proposal, the part that focuses on nuclear abolition.

2010 Peace Proposal
Toward a New Era of Value Creation
Daisaku Ikeda
President, Soka Gakkai International

When the Soka Gakkai was founded in 1930, Japan and the world were shuddering under the impact of the financial panic of the previous year. People were afflicted by a deepening sense of dread and unease. Writing at that time, the founder of the organization, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871-1944), called for a transition from a dependent or even an independent way of life to what he called a contributive way of life. He rejected a passive, dependent way of life in which one is swayed by and at the mercy of one’s surroundings and the conditions of the times. He likewise rejected a way of life in which we are capable of looking out for our own needs but remain indifferent to the sufferings of others.

He urged, instead, a contributive way of life as described by the Buddhist maxim that when we light a lantern for others, our own way forward is lit. The source of illumination needed to dispel the chaos and darkness of the age is to be found in actions that bring forth our own inner light through committed action on behalf of others.

The second president of the Soka Gakkai, Josei Toda (1900-58), as heir to Makiguchi’s spirit, declared: “I wish to see the word ‘misery’ no longer used to describe the world, any country, any individual.” He put this conviction into practice through his efforts dedicated 4 to peace and people’s happiness and to the construction of popular solidarity rooted in a philosophy of respect for the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person.

Surveying the challenges that confront contemporary global society, I am convinced that nothing is more crucial than an essential reorientation of our way of life based on a commitment to the welfare of all of humankind and the entire planet, such as Makiguchi and Toda called for. Rather than stand to one side and ponder how the future might develop, we must focus on what each of us can do at this critical moment, the role each of us can choose to play in changing the direction of history. We must strive to make a proactive, contributive way of life the prevailing spirit of the new era.

On the basis of this recognition, I would like to offer several concrete policy proposals focused on two main challenges. The first challenge is nuclear weapons, which continue to threaten humankind as the ultimate embodiment of a cruel and blatant dismissal of the needs and welfare of others. The second is the structural distortions of global society where poverty and other threats continue to undermine the human dignity of vast numbers of people.

What do you think so far? What are your thoughts on nuclear weapons? Where does the average person stand on this issue?


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